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

R. v. Carroll [1840] NSWSupC 79

women defendants in crime, attempted murder, assault, witness, bribery of

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 3 November 1840

Source: Australian, 5 November 1840[1]

            Ann Carroll, alias Blake, was indicted for a violent assault, with intent to murder James Hoyle at Campbell Town by striking him on the head with a blunt instrument, so that his life was despaired of on the 20th of June last. A second count charged the prisoner with an assault with intent to do some grievous bodily harm.

            The prisoner, on being called on to plead to the indictment, said she was guilty of striking the man in her own defence, and a plea of Not Guilty was therefore recorded. The prisoner had no counsel.

The Attorney General briefly stated the case as follows:- It appeared that this woman was living at the Robin Hood public house, near Campbell Town, in June last. She owed a grudge to the prosecutor, who is an old man in the service of Mr. Kemp, of Campbellfield in consequence of a charge made against one Humphries, in which the old man was concerned. He went into the public house when the prisoner began abusing him in a shameful manner. There was a person named Lyons there, who has since died, and who, fearing the prisoner might do him some injury on the road home, he accompanied him. When half way some persons jumped out from behind a bush and struck him on the head and knocked him down. The prisoner's person and voice were distinctly recognised among them, and she was heard to say she would murder the old man making use of an expression which would be filthy out of any Christian's mouth, much more from the lips of a woman which showed what a violent tempered woman she was and how much forgetful of the decencies which belonged to her sex.

James Hoyle deposed that he was overseer to Mr. Kemp. On the day in question he came down to see some cattle; went into the Robin Hood public house to get a little grog to take home; met a friend named Lyons there who had since died; had two glasses of rum there. The woman began to abuse him about getting her fancy man Mr. Kemp's stockman, punished. Lyons told him not to mind what the woman said and showed him out the back way. He had not proceeded more than three hundred yards when he was tripped up; his head fell in the prisoner's lap, and he received a blow on the head which stunned him, and he knew nothing afterwards until he found himself, at five o'clock the following morning, with his head covered with blood, and he remembered what he happened. He knew the woman because she took the bottle from him and said she would murder him for an old ____; he could not identify the two men that were with her, but they were more to blame than the woman, and he wished the Court to take that into consideration. He then returned to the Robin Hood public house, and when the landlord got up he told him the whole circumstance, and he sent for a constable and sent him up to the magistrate. He would not swear whether the woman said she would murder him or the men said it; his recollection was going away fast but he would not swear anything wrong for any one if he knew it. Lyons dies nearly three months ago. This witness was committed to the gaol for fourteen days for appearing before the court intoxicated.

William Sheehan, publican, deposed that he knew Lyons well that he attended his funeral several weeks ago, that he saw him dead, he was about seventy years of age when he died; Lyons was in good health in June last when he gave his deposition, saw him in the stable next morning covered with blood; sent for a constable; Hoyle seemed to have been much beaten.

Cross-examined by the prisoner - James Hoyle did not come drunk to witnesses house and offer her £5 not to come against her, but a shoemaker offered Hoyle £5 not to go against her. The prisoner passes as a married woman; her husband sent witness £9 for the prisoner, which he handed to her.

Mr. Burke, the clerk to the bench at Campbell Town, was called to prove the depositions of the deceased woman Phillips, and the man Lyons.

Dr. Kenny was called to speak of the injuries the prosecutor had received; the wounds had an ugly appearance although they were not dangerous, the after consequences might prove dangerous; he considered Hoyle in some danger when he first saw him; he appeared in a very low and exhausted state; some of the wounds were not healed for three weeks.

This was the case for the prosecution.

The prisoner said in her defence, that the prosecutor was going to take another woman's glass of spirits and she told him not to do so, and he said he would give her a slap across the face; a man there said he should not; Mr. Lyons called him into the parlour; next day she was going out of town to pay a little money, and was met on the road by the prosecutor who attempted to take some improper familiarities with her, and offered her some rum out of a bottle; that she threw the bottle away and broke it; the prosecutor struck her; she struck again; a struggle ensued, and they both fell in the mud, when she kicked him with her foot in the head.

Lyon's deposition was then put in and read.

His Honor told the jury, he thought, after hearing the evidence of Dr. Kenny, on the nature of the wounds, he would dismiss from their minds the count in the indictment, charging the offence as with intent to deprive of life. He adverted to the audacity of the prosecutor coming into court and invoking God's holy name, half drunk, to state things affecting a person's life and liberty, and doubtful evidence in such cases ought not to be received, and by his own account he was an old man of profligate habits. His Honor then read over the evidence.

The jury retired for a few minutes, and returned with a verdict of guilty on the second count.

The prisoner was then remanded.

Dowling C.J., 7 November 1840

Source: Australian, 10 November 1840

            Ann Carroll alias Blake, convicted of an assault with intent to do some grievous bodily harm, was sentenced to transportation to a penal settlement for fifteen years.  The prisoner pertly thanked His Honor on leaving the bar.


[1]              See also Sydney Herald, 4 November 1840.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University