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

R. v. Doyle [1840] NSWSupC 5

rape, Wollongong

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 1 February 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 3 February 1840[1]

John Doyle was indicted for ravishing Mary McMahon, at Wollongong, on the 9th July.

The prosecutrix, a girl about fourteen years of age, swore positively to the offence having been committed by the prisoner.  The girl's uncle swore that he found a hat at the place where she alleged that the offence was committed, and in the hat was a certificate of the prisoner's character, which he produced.  Dr. Osborne swore that on the day, on the evening of which the offence was committed, the prisoner shewed him the certificate: he also swore that he examined the prosecutrix, and was confident she had been recently violated, and there were several bruises on different parts of her person, which shewed that there had been considerable violence.  After she was served with a subpoena, the prosecutrix was told that if she prosecuted the prisoner he would be hanged, and then his ghost would haunt her; and she was persuaded to go out of the way to Campbelltown, where she resided three weeks, cohabiting with a sawyer.  There were some slight discrepancies between the evidence given by the prosecutrix in Court, and before the Magistrate, but not on any material point.

Mr. Purifoy addressed the Jury at considerable length, dwelling with great force upon the discrepancies of the evidence, and the character of the prosecutrix.

The Chief Justice summed up at some length, recapitulating the whole evidence, and the Jury, after a few minutes' absence, returned a verdict of Not Guilty.


[1]              See also Australian, 4 February 1840; and see R. v. Wholohan, 1841.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University