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

R. v. Smith [1838] NSWSupC 77

bushranging - Queanbeyan - robbery

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Willis J., 10 August 1838

Source: Sydney Gazette, 11 August 1838[ 1]

Thomas Smith was indicted for assaulting and putting in bodily fear one William Marsden, and stealing a quantity of property in his charge belonging to Thomas Braidwood Wilson, at Four Mile Station, Queanbeyan, on the 31st May last.

The prosecutor was an assigned servant to Dr. Wilson, in charge of a hut at Four Miles Station; the prisoner came to his hut about an hour and a half before sundown on the 31st May, with his face concealed under a cloth mask; he had a gun in his hand which he levelled at the prosecutor, telling him to ``stand;" the prosecutor said ``I do stand, don't I?" he then pointed to the shepherd's hut and told him to go in there; prosecutor hesitated, when the prisoner said ``If you don't go in I'll blow your brains out, the prosecutor still hesitated, and the prisoner again repeated the threat, and compelled him to bring out two blankets off the bed, a black silk handkerchief, a pair of Parramatta-cloth trowsers, two striped shirts, and one duck frock; prisoner said he had not been ten months in the bush to be bounced by a b--y new chum b--r like the prosecutor, and that he would teach him better; he then made him tie up the things into a bundle, and as the prosecutor did so reluctantly, he again repeated that if he did not be quick he would blow his brains out, he was not going to stop there all day; prisoner then made the prosecutor take up the bundle and carry it before him, and thinking he was not walking fast enough, he gave him a prod in the back with the muzzle of the gun; prosecutor turned round upon him, seized his gun, and wrested it from his hands; he then knocked him down and smashed the stock of the piece over the prisoner's head; the mask fell from his face and discovered him to the prosecutor; he then made off into the bush, and the prosecutor made the best of his way back to his hut with the bundle. - Guilty.  The jury recommended that the prosecutor (Marsden) should be rewarded for his intrepid behaviour in defending his master's property.  His Honor said he felt great pleasure in attending to their recommendation.

His Honor, addressing the prisoner, said that he never felt so much pain in passing a sentence as he did at that moment upon him.  He was respectably connected in England, had had the benefit of a good education, he was young and had a short sentence, and might, with his abilities, had he pursued a different line of conduct, be either restored to society and his friends at home a useful member, or, if he remained in this colony, be able to procure for himself a respectable and comfortable living.  But by this act he had forfeited every chance of doing either, he should make up his mind to pass the remainder of his days at Norfolk Island, and His Honor hoped he would employ those latter days in correcting the errors of the commencement of his career in life.  The prisoner was then sentenced to Transportation for Life.



[ 1]See also Sydney Herald, 13 August 1838.  The bushranging Act was renewed again in 1838: see Sydney Herald, 14 June 1838; Australian, 10 July 1838.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University