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

R. v. Creek [1838] NSWSupC 45

robbery, of school teacher - gambling, in public house

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Willis J., 3 May 1838

Source: Australian, 11 May 1838[ 1]

THURSDAY. - Before Mr Justice Willis and a Civil Jury.

James Creek was indicted for putting in bodily fear, and stealing from the person of John Connolly, at Sydney, on the 4th of March last.

It appeared in evidence that the prosecutor was a schoolmaster, and on the morning of the day laid in the indictment, he went into a public house to drink.  The prisoner and another man were sitting in the tap-room, and shortly after prosecutor entering, they challenged him to a game of pitch and toss for three glasses of rum, which he accepted, and they continued gambling with halfpence, and at the bagatelle board, until the prisoner lost four rounds; he drank three gills of wine and two glasses of rum for his share, and left the house about ten o'clock in the morning to proceed to the duties of his school.  The prisoner followed him out of the house, and walked by his side down Castlereagh-street, until they came opposite a lane, when the former hit prosecutor a blow on the neck which felled him to the ground.  Prisoner then took off a watch-guard which was round the prosecutor's neck, and drew the watch from his pocket, with which he made off, but dropped the outside case of the watch, which was loose.  Prosecutor gave the alarm, and the prisoner was followed by a butcher's boy who had witnessed the robbery, until he entered a house, when the boy immediately gave information to a constable, who accompanied him in search of the prisoner.  On arriving at the house into which the prisoner had entered, they found that he had decamped, and they accordingly proceeded in search of, and at last discovered him among the stacks on the brickfield Hill.  Prisoner attempted to evade the constable, but was taken in the fields beyond the Brickfields.  The constable did not then search him, and the prisoner denied all knowledge of the affair.  The butcher's boy, however, swore positively to his being the person who took the watch.

His Honor in summing up, commented very severely on the character of the prosecutor, who, by his own acknowledgment, was proved to have been in a state of oblivion at an early hour in the morning, gambling with blackguards, and placing himself on a level with the lowest of low.  His Honor also, remarked, that there was a prohibition in England, against publicans keeping gambling tables, and it would be well, if such was not already the case, that a similar prohibition should extend to this Colony.  He thought that the publican had acted very indiscreetly, if not culpably, in allowing drinking to excess, and gambling in his house.  The Jury found the prisoner Guilty.  Remanded.

 

Notes

[ 1]See also Sydney Gazette, 5 May 1838; Sydney Herald, 7 May 1838.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University