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

R. v. Davis [1839] NSWSupC 85

murder - Aboriginal trackers - Maitland

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 7 November 1839

Source: Sydney Herald, 8 November 1839[1] 

Thursday. -- Before the Chief Justice.

James Davis was indicted for the wilful murder of James Maher, by shooting him, at Black Creek, on the 19th July, and Alexander Telford and Archibald Taylor were indicted for being present aiding and assisting.

Three drays belonging to Messrs. Scott, of Glendon, were proceeding from Morpeth to Patrick's Plains, loaded with shells.  There was one man with each dray, and an old man named James Maher, who had been engaged by Messrs. Scott to proceed to their establishment as a free servant.  About nine o'clock on the night of the day laid in the indictment, the drays were camped near Black Creek, about fourteen miles from Maitland: three men approached the dray, and Maher got up and walked towards them and asked who was there, when one of them immediately fired at him, and he fell, saying ``I am done for," and in three or four hours expired.  The other men were forced to lay upon their fac[e]s and the ruffians robbed the dray of a small quantity of tea and sugar, and three or four pounds in money, belonging to the man in charge of the dray.  Hugh Hughes, one of the men with the dray, swore positively to the prisoner Davis, and thought that the other men resembled the other prisoners.  The other witnesses could [no]t identify the prisoners, but thought they resembled the men.  About three weeks afterwards the three prisoners were apprehended by District Constable Wilson and two young men named Bridge; they were secreted in the mountains, and were tracked by the blacks: when discovered ten or twelve shots were fired, by one of which Taylor was wounded, before they surrendered.  They were armed, and were surrounded by property they had stolen from Mr. Wiseman's.  They were all runaway convicts.  The Jury found all the prisoners guilty.  Death.



[1] See also Australian, 9 November 1839.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University