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

R. v. Sang [1852] NSWSupCMB 16

Chinese defendants - assault

Supreme Court of New South Wales, Moreton Bay

Stephen C.J., 22 May 1852

Source: Moreton Bay Courier, 29 May 1852, p. 4

Sang, a Chinese, was indicted for assaulting Robert Fleming, at Hawkwood, on the 22nd December last. A plea of not guilty was taken.

Robert Fleming, manager of Mr. Walker's station at Hawkwood, in the Burnett District, deposed that on the night of the 22nd December prisoner, who was employed on the station, came to witness's hut, and insisted upon the latter purchasing five pounds of rice which had been served out to prisoner, and which he refused to use. Witness declined to purchase it, but offered to give him anything in the store in exchange, excepting money or flour. Prisoner was very violent and went away, but afterwards returned, and, bursting in the door of witness's room, made a thrust at him with something like a knife. With the assistance of the overseer he was overpowered and bound, and the blade of a pair of sheep shears, with cotton wrapped round the broken part for a handle, taken from under him. Prisoner said he would shoot witness and the overseer. He was tied with a saddle strap till next morning but was not neaten with a stock whip.

The rice served out to the Chinamen at that time was bad, and they used to complain of it. The allowance was five pounds of flour and five pounds of rice weekly. There was no place in the neighbourhood where prisoner could procure good rice. Witness had £30 in charge belonging to prisoner, which he had paid him as wages, and which had been returned to him to take care of. Was not aware that prisoner asked for it that night. Witness had offered to give it up to Captain O'Connell, the Commissioner.

George Chisholm, storekeeper at Hawkwood, partly corroborated the evidence of the last witness, but did not see the prisoner make the thrust at witness. The overseer struck prisoner in the mouth, because the latter had severely bitten his finger, when he was being secured.

The being the case for the Crown, a written statement put in by the prisoner was read. It was in English, and had apparently been prepared from his dictation, in the gaol. The document had been handed in at the commencement of the trial, and the Judge had used it in putting some questions to the witnesses. The statement was to the effect that prisoner had been hired for one year and five months, at £10 a year; that he had gone to Mr. Fleming's hut and told him his agreement was to have ten pounds of flour or ten pounds of rice weekly, and not five pounds of each, and that as the rice was bad he wanted flour; Mr. Fleming said the Chinese were no good, when prisoner told him to pay his wages and let him go if that were the case; that they then struck prisoner, knocked him down, and loosened some of his teeth; that they beat him with a stock whip, and handcuffed him; that he had merely used the shear blade, which he had in his hand, to knock at the door of the hut with, and that he made no attempt to injure anybody with it; and further, that he only received two pounds of sugar for three months.

His HONOUR having charged the Jury, they returned a verdict of not guilty, and the prisoner was discharged.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University