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

R. v. Ang [1850] NSWSupCMB 2

manslaughter - Chinese defendant

Supreme Court of New South Wales, Moreton Bay

Stephen C.J., 16 November 1850

Source: Moreton Bay Courier, 18 November 1850

Ang, a Chinaman, was indicted for the wilful murder of a fellow countryman, at Mr. Reid's station, in the Burnett district.

At the opening of the case the SOLICITOR GENERAL stated that he should confine the issue to the charge of manslaughter, as the evidence did not appear sufficient to establish the more serious offence.

The prisoner pleaded guilty.

Mr. Pearson Thompson was assigned by the Court as his counsel.

From the evidence of Ang Keeing, another Chinaman, and of a person named Halbert, overseer for Mr. Reid, and also from the testimony of Dr. F.O. O'Neill, the following facts were adduced. Deceased, prisoner, and the witness Ang Keeing, were all in the employ of Mr. Reid, and on the day of the alleged murder a quarrel had occurred between the prisoner and deceased, in the hut, when the prisoner fired a gun at deceased, just at the time then the latter was supposed to be throwing a pannikin at the prisoner, as the witness Ang Keeing stated he did. The supposition was grounded on the fact of the ball from the gun having glanced on the arm in such a manner as to show that that limb must have been extended at the time. The ball, according to the evidence of the surgeon, had afterwards entered the body and inflicted several wounds, which were professionally explained, and which were sufficient to cause death. The wounded man died the same day, and subsequently Dr. O'Neil, by desire of the Commissioner of Crown Lands, had the body disinterred, and made a post mortem examination. As the evidence of the Chinaman did not quite agree with his former statements, and there seemed reason to believe that the deceased and prisoner had been struggling together, and that the gun was fired on the impulse of the moment, the Judge charged the Jury accordingly, and a verdict of guilty of manslaughter was returned.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL prayed the Court, in pronouncing judgment, to take it for granted that a struggle had taken place previously to the shot being fired. The prisoner was sentenced to three years hard labour on the public works.

The JUDGE, as well as the Counsel for the prisoner, expressed surprise and dissatisfaction that the prisoner's master had not taken any steps to provide for the defence of, or insure a fair trial for his servant.

This being the last case on the calendar the common jury were discharged.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University