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

R. v. Shean [1841] NSWSupC 72

assault, sexual - sexual assault on child

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 12 July 1841

Source: Sydney Herald, 13 July 1841[1]

            James Shean, who had pleaded not guilty to an information charging him with assaulting and carnally knowing a female child named Ann Chapman, in the house of a woman named Anderson, at Jack the Millar's Point, Sydney, on the 17th May last, the prosecutrix being under five years of age. In putting the case to the jury, his Honor told them to dismiss from their mind the charge of felony, and to consider whether there was evidence to support the charge of assault.

            The Jury consulted for a few minutes, and returned a verdict of guilty of the common assault.

            The prisoner was then remanded, in order to enable his honor to bring the case before the other judges, so as to fix the manner in which such cases should in future be dealt with.

July 1841

Source: Sydney Herald, 15 July 1841


James Shean, a freed man, who had been tried before his Honor for carnally knowing a female child under ten years of age, and who had been found guilty of a common assault, and had been remanded to allow time for his Honor to consult the other Judges as to whether the prisoner being tried on such an indictment could be found guilty of a common assault, was placed at the bar for sentence.

            His HONOR stated, that although he had been of opinion that such a verdict was a new one in the Colony, yet on enquiry he had learned that the Chief Justice had in the month of February last, tried two cases of the same kind as that of the prisoner's, in each of which a similar verdict had been recorded, and the punishment for a common assault awarded. The prisoner was then sentenced to be confined for twelve months in Sydney Gaol, and the Court adjourned.


[1]              See also Sydney Gazette, 15 July 1841 and see R. v. Hilton in the same issue of the Gazette.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University