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

R. v. Cutler [1840] NSWSupC 75

attempted murder, drunkenness

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Willis J., 1 November 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 4 November 1840

Before Mr. Justice Willis and a common jury.

            Daniel Cutler, of Maitland, was indicted for shooting at Mary Lynch, with intent to kill and murder her; a second count charged him with shooting at the prosecutrix with intent to do her some bodily harm.  The offence was laid as having been committed on the 2nd of August.  From the evidence of the prosecutrix it appeared that on the day named in the indictment, she went to the prisoner's house on a visit to his servant woman, about mid day they had three or four glasses of porter, the servant of the prisoner made an attempt to get into the prisoner's room, but he refused her admission, the prosecutrix went to try to open the door, which suddenly opened, and she sank on her knees wounded on the right shoulder by a shot from a pistol; the prisoner immediately said, "Oh Mary I did not intend to shoot you;" an alarm had however, been given, and the prisoner was taken to the watchhouse, in opposition to the wish of the prosecutrix, who ascribed the whole to accident, as he always was kind and frank to her, never having had occasion to threaten her or owe her any grudge.

            The jury without retiring from the box, acquitted the prisoner, who was admonished and discharged.

            There being reason to believe that the prisoner was in liquor at the time his Honor ordered the pistols to be retained, as any person who was in the habit of getting drunk was not a proper person to be trusted with fire arms.  Cutler informed his Honor that for three months past he had been a practical tee-totaler, on which his Honor instructed the court keeper to retain the pistols for three months more, when if Cutler proved that he was still a tee-totaller, he should have the pistols as a premium for abstaining from what did harm to him and endangered the lives of others.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University