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

R. v. Smith [1841] NSWSupC 91

Aboriginal defendants - circuit courts - Maitland

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 10 September 1841

Source: Sydney Herald, 14 September 1841[1]





The Attorney-General stated that in the cases of John [S]mith and of the three Aboriginal Natives, who had been committed by Mr. Mayne in New England, charged with stealing and with killing cattle, he had not yet received any depositions, and therefore he could make no objection to the discharge of the prisoners.

Mr. Justice Stephen said, that he perceived that one of the natives had been confined since the 8th of April, and the other two since the 14th of July last, while Smith had been confined since the 5th of April.

Mr. Justice Stephen having enquired the distance from New England to Maitland, and having ascertained it to be about 170 miles, said, that he thought the matter deserving of notice, for he could not understand how the depositions had been so long detained.

The Attorney-General said that he believed there was some difficulty in communicating with the district of New England.

Mr. Justice Stephen then ordered the four prisoner to be discharged.

The blacks appeared to be well clothed and in good health: they seemed to know and to comprehend the orders of their gaoler, Mr. Field.


[1]              On 25 September 1841, the Sydney Gazette reported: "Ogle-eyed Jemmy was brought up and discharged, having been ten months in gaol, and ordered to be sent near to his own district.  There was an amusing scene between the prisoner and Mr. Chalker, who undertook to take him into his service."

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University