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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Adams [1837] NSWSupC 6

stealing from dwelling house, meaning of ``dwelling house" - Lake George

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Burton J., 16 February 1837

Source: Australian, 21 February 1837[ 1]

Thursday. - Before His Honor Mr. Burton and a Military Jury.

William Adams, a lad, about 17 years of age, was indicted for breaking into a dwelling house belonging to Francis Kenny, at Lake George, at two o'clock in the night of the 16th of November last, and stealing therefrom one shooting jacket, two pair of trousers, one shirt and one handkerchief, the property of Francis Kenny; another count laid the property as the King's.  The only evidence for the prosecution was a man named Richard Barnett, an assigned servant to Mr. Kenny, who lived at one of his master's stations, at Lake George; the prisoner was also an assigned servant of Mr. Kenny, and was employed in the capacity of hut keeper and watchman at a station, six miles distant from that on which Barnett was employed.  Barnett deposed that he was lying awake in his bed, about the time named in the indictment, when he suddenly saw his bundle of clothes, which was hanging over his head, drawn up, and taken through the roof; he arose and saw two men running away; one of whom he (Barnett) was positive was the prisoner at the bar, as he knew him before; there was a free an at the time sleeping in the hut to whom he cumminicated [sic] his loss at the time.  His Honor examined the witness as to what description of building the hut in question was, when it appeared to be such a frail structure, as would more properly be denominated a bark tent than a hut, and directed the Jury to acquit the prisoners of the capital part of the charge, and to give their attention to the evidence of Barnett as to the larceny count of stealing his clothes.  The Jury gave in a verdict of Not Guilty, which His Honor requested they would reconsider before it was recorded; on a few minutes' conference the former again gave in their adherence to their original verdict.  His Honor expressed some surprise, as he had not observed any thing to impeach the evidence of the man Barnett, who distinctly swore to the prisoner as one of the men whom he saw making off from the hut when he looked after his bundle.  One of the Jurymen said that they looked upon it as a suspicious circumstance that the free man stated to have been sleeping in the hut at the time, was not brought forward to give evidence on the case, and that, therefore, they thought it safer to acquit the prisoner altogether.




[1 ] This case was also recorded in Burton, Notes of Criminal Cases, vol. 30, State Records of New South Wales, 2/2430, p. 24, Burton noting that the defendant was ``bond", that is, a convict.



Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University