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

R. v. Bradley [1840] NSWSupC 77

murder, drunkenness, defence of, Gundaroo

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 5 November 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 6 November 1840

Enoch Bradley, late of Yass, was indicted for the murder of George Woodman, at Gunderoo on the 7th September last, by shooting him with a pistol in the left side.  It appeared that the deceased was the landlord of the "Travellers Home" public house at Gunderoo and on the day laid in the indictment, the prisoner who was returning from his master's sheep station about three miles from the "Travellers Home," met with an acquaintance, and they both went into the deceased's house and had some drink, when the prisoner asked Woodman to give him some dinner, which the deceased refused, telling him that he ought to go home and get his dinner, as the house was not far off.  The prisoner said he was at the sheep station, and it was a far way to go, on which the deceased told the prisoner to go about his business, as he did not want to have any thing to say to him, as he was a government man, but he subsequently gave him some dinner; after the prisoner had partaken of it, he said to the deceased, "so you refused me my dinner did you," the deceased said "Yes I did refuse you," upon which the prisoner replied "well I hope the Devil will refuse your soul in hell" and kept walking up and down for sometime, and about ten minutes after uttering the above expression he went up to the deceased, stooped a little, put his hand into his breast, pulled out a pistol and shot the deceased in the left side; he instantly fell on the ground and called out "oh Bradley, Bradley what have I done that you have shot me," he was then carried to his bed and expired in about a couple of hours; as soon as the prisoner had shot him he threw the pistol from him and said I have shot the man and I am willing to die for him; he shortly after asked to have the pistol returned, in order that he might load it to shoot himself, and then left the place.

            In the examination of this witness in this case it appeared that when the case was enquired into before the magistrates at Yass, that there was a general inclination among all the witnesses to screen the prisoner, and it was not until the magistrates had threatened to cancel the tickets-of-leave held by the principal witnesses, that they could be induced to speak the truth.  The prisoner in defence denied all knowledge of the murder, and alledged that the first account he heard of it was from his master, who sent for him from the sheep run, and accused him of having shot the deceased.  The Jury found the prisoner guilty.

            Mr. Carter prayed the judgment of the court on the prisoner, who on being called on for what he had to say why judgment should not be passed upon him, in an impudent manner said, all I've to say is, that that I am innocent and its a made up job against me by three of the witnesses.

            His Honor in feeling and impressive address commented on the enormity of the crime, committed by the prisoner, which was, he was sorry to say perpetrated by him under the influence of liquor, but this instead of being a mitigating circumstance, was in the eye of religion, reason, and the law, an aggravation of the offence and as he was convinced the act of which the prisoner had been found guilty was a cool-blooded deliberate and attrocious murder he should certainly represent it as such to the Governor, he then admonished the prisoner to prepare for a future state as he could hold out no hopes of mercy to him on this side the grave.  He then passed sentence of death on in the usual form.  The prisoner heard his sentence unmoved and after turning to enter the case he turned round again and pointing to the witness-box exclaimed these are the men that did the murder.

            His Honor called on two of the witnesses named Jackson and Mason, both ticket-of-leave holders, and stated to them that as they had that day in his opinion [not] spoken the truth he would to punish them for their conduct before the magistrate order their tickets to be cancelled for twelve months respectively.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University