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

Minor Moreton Bay Cases, 1856

Supreme Court of New South Wales, Moreton Bay

Source: Moreton Bay Courier, Saturday 26th January 1856

Domestic Intelligence

CIRCUIT COURT.

  The first Circuit Court, under the late Colonial Legislative enactment, was opened on Monday last by the newly appointed judge, His Honor Mr. Milford; Mr. Moore Dillon being Crown Solicitor. No barrister from Sydney attended to defend the cases for trial. Mr. Pring appeared as Crown Prosecutor. There were only six prisoners in gaol, for trial - a seventh being out on bail.

The Crown Prosecutor stated that he feared he would be unable to go on with all the cases, as there must have been some misunderstanding among the interior Benches as to the new arrangement for holding this Court, which caused the delay that had occurred in sending the necessary documents from Sydney. His Honor said, in reply, that they would proceed with the cases that were prepared for trial.

STEALING TWO CHEQUES.

James Hamilton, alias Joseph Thorpe, alias James Williamson, was indicted for stealing two bank cheques, at the Star Hotel, Ipswich, on the 13th Dec. Last, the property of one Benjamin White, a Squatter on the Darling Downs.

Benjamin White sworn. - Was at the Star Hotel on the evening of the 13th Dec. Had two cheques, each £100, in his portmanaie, one on the bank of New South Wales, Brisbane, the other on the Commercial Bank, Sydney; did not miss them until he opened his portmonaie to present his cheques at the Bank of Australasia, Ipswich, about 11 o'clock in the forenoon of the following day. He slept on a sofa, and had the portmonaie in his pocket. Did not see the prisoner that evening. When at the bank he found that two blank cheques had been substituted for the two stolen. The cheque produced was one of the two. The cheque book was also his property, from which the two blank cheques had been taken, which he missed before nine o'clock that morning.

Cross-examined by Mr. Macalister - was two days on the road from Drayton; stopped at Gatton one night; cannot swear the cheques were in his possession there. Dined at Owen's. May have had four or five glasses that day, but was not intoxicated. Had only three nobblers that evening. The waiter and Mrs. Sullivan were the last persons he saw that night. Cannot swear he had the two cheques that night; saw them last in Drayton; had had no occasion to look for them. Had not heard of the second cheque since, which had not been paid. When at the bank, Mr. Bros told him that the cheque on the Brisbane Bank had been presented that morning.

George Reynolds examined - Was waiter at the Star Hotel. Recollects White being there; and saw prisoner at the bar same night, who occupied a room outside the coffee room. The door of the room in which White slept opened into the same passage as prisoner's did. Prisoner left at seven o'clock in the morning; had been lodging there for a week previous to the robbery.

Cross-examined - Left White on Sofa with his clothes on. Had assisted in taking off his boots.

Jane Ann Sullivan knew prisoner, who had been a week previous to 15th December at her house. White came there the evening before the prisoner was taken, and had signs of liquor when he arrived between four and five o'clock. He lay down immediately after and slept.

Cross-examined - Left a person named Purvis with him in the room at twelve o'clock that night.

And Pendock, a servant at Sullivan's, recollected White being there; knew prisoner. Went into White's room between six and seven in the morning; the lock of the box had been forced aside, and was hanging by one screw. Saw prisoner outside the tap when she opened the bar room. Only one outer door was open, which led to the room occupied by White.

Charles Bros, clerk in the Bank of Australasia, Ipswich - Saw prisoner about half-past ten on the morning of the 13th Dec., when he presented a cheque, the one produced. Asked him where he got it, when prisoner said he picked it up on the street and would leave it, as £100 was too much money to be lying in the street. Was going out, when he had him stopped, and asked his name, which he gave as James Williamson. Prisoner was in a hurry to get out, and did not return to enquire if the owner had been found. White came in shortly after, opened his portmonaie, and missed his cheques. Said the one presented was his. The two blank cheques produced were the same White found substituted instead of the two stolen; they were taken out of his cheque book.

Constable Connor knew prisoner. Had a description. Went to go to the Pine Mountain; entered a hut on the road, three miles from Ipswich. Found prisoner lying on a sofa. Knew him by the name of Hamilton. Apprehended prisoner, who said nothing. Found nothing on him.

Mr. Macalister ably addressed the jury in defence, maintaining that there was no proof to show that the prisoner has stolen the cheques, nor that White ever had them in his possession, and that his having presented them at the Bank was no proof of his having robbed Mr. White.

Mr. Pring replied, and showed that prisoner in appropriating the cheque and presenting it for payment, was guilty of larceny.

His Honour summoned up, taking the same view of the case.

The jury retired for a short time; when they returned with a verdict finding the prisoner guilty of larceny only, who was sentenced to six months' imprisonment in Darlinghurst gaol.

Online as R. v. Pritchard, 1856

TUESDAY, J ANUARY 22

Online as R. v. Brady, 1856

James Canning was charged with stealing a saddle, the property of one George Collins, residing at the "Horse and Jockey," Warwick, on the 14th January.

George Collins examined - Knew the prisoner, who was at the Inn from 11th to 14th January. On the night of the 14th he ordered prisoner to go to bed at 10 o'clock, which was the shutting up hour. Prisoner slept in a back room behind the kitchen, with the cook. During that night the stable was broken into, and two saddles and one bridle taken out. A noise was heard in the stable during the night. There was a fixed glass window in the stable, which faced the yard, the yard was surrounded by a five feet paling fence.

Cross-examined by prisoner - Witness ordered him to go away in the morning. Had seen the saddle that was stolen yesterday, and it was then at Kangaroo Point.

Wm. M'Quail was in John Collins's employ as cook. Prisoner slept in same room with him that night. During the evening prisoner was very noisy and unrully, being very tipsy. Had helped him over the fence between one and two o'clock in the morning; the gates were locked; helped him because he was so tipsy. The sleeping room was about thirty yards from the stable.

Constable Connor, of the Warwick police, in consequence of information he received, took the prisoner into custody the same morning the stable was broken into. The prisoner was suffering from the effects of drink. Found nothing on him.

The Crown Prosecutor here announced that he would not proceed further with the case, which appeared to give satisfaction to all present, as there was not the slightest evidence to show that the prisoner had been guilty as charged.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23.

Edmund Owens, whose case was lately reported in the Courier, was arraigned upon the charge of rape. Mr. Macalister addressed the Court for a postponement of the trial on the ground that he was committed by the Ipswich Bench on a charge of assault, with intent, and consequently the defence was not prepared for so serious a charge as that now brought against the prisoner. The Crown Prosecutor opposed the application, but His Honor granted the boon sought, and the witnesses were bound over to appear at the Assizes to be held on the 19th May next.

William Carter, of Kangaroo Point, stood charged with having embezzled some wool, the property of John Brewster, Esq., which prisoner had shipped on board the Forres, which sailed a few days ago for London, as his own property, and for which he had received an advance from Messrs. Geo. Raff and Co. Mr. Robert Little, on behalf of Carter, applied to have the trial postponed, as owing to the short time that elapsed since the transactions took place there had not been sufficient time to prepare the necessary documents for the defence. The Court concurred, and the prisoner was held to bail the same as when committed, himself in £40, and two sureties in £20 each, to appear at the next Circuit Court. The witnesses were also bound over, as in the previous case.

Moses Henry, charged with larceny, was committed by the Wambo Bench, in December last, he having made away with some property entrusted to his charge. The court found they could not go on with the trial, as there was some deficiency in the evidence to be adduced, and suggested a postponement of the trial until the May Assizes. The prisoner complained of his being confined so long, and wished to be held to bail. The depositions were submitted to His Honour, who said he found it to be such a bad case, and aggravated as being larceny committed by a carrier, that no indulgence should be granted. The prisoner was accordingly remanded until next assizes.

Thomas Toe was indicted for stealing a watch from one John Blundall, at Quart-pot Creek on the 9th December last. He was committed for trial at the May Assizes, and the Court could not proceed until then, and he was held to bail on his own recognizance to appear accordingly.

The Criminal business being finished the Court adjourned.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24.

The Court met this morning for the trial of Civil Causes, but as none had been entered, His Honor dismissed the special jurymen summoned, and the Court adjourned.

MORETON BAY COURIER, 24/05/1856 Page 2

Online as R. v. Murphy, 1856

 

MORETON BAY COURIER, 24/05/1856 Page 2

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.

BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Samuel Rigby, was indicted for stealing four surcingles, the property of James Morgan, at Gayndah, on the 6th April last. James Morgan, ahoemaker, residing at Gayndah, deposed that prisoner, who was encamped with his dray at Gayndah, came to witness's house on the 6th April, to be measured for a pair of boots, and witness subsequently missed the surcingles which had been hung up in the shop. Suspecting prisoner and another man named Shepherd, he obtained a search warrant against them. Chief Constable Bannister deposed that he executed the search warrant, and found the four surcingles on the dray driven by the prisoner. Told prisoner what he was going to search for, and prisoner said "You are welcome to search my team." In defence prisoner declared that he did not know how the articles came on the dray. Verdict---guilty. Sentence, one years' imprisonment, with hard labour, in Darlinghurst gaol.

 

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DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.

BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Thomas Toe was indicted for stealing a silver watch from John Glanville, at Quart Pot Creek, in the police district of Warwick, on the 9th December last. It appeared from the evidence that prosecutor and prisoner were together at Ross's public house, near Maryland, on the night in question, and that prosecutor took his watch out, holding it by the ribbon, when prisoner seized the watch in one hand, and with the other cut the ribbon with a knife, and made off. Next morning Glanville asked him for the watch, when he said that some person had since taken it from him. Chief Constable Gordon apprehended the prisoner, and in consequence of some conversation had with him that evening, he accompanied him to an uninhabited hut near, where prisoner raked the watch out of some ashes in the fire-place, and gave it up. In defence, prisoner said that he had never intended to steal the watch; that prosecutor was exhibiting it in the public house and, at his request, gave it into his hands, when he took it away, to take care of it, as they were all drinking; that he secreted it in the fire-place of the empty hut, and subsequently gave it up to the Chief Constable. The jury, after half an hour's deliberation, found the prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced to two years' hard labour in Parramatta gaol.

 

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DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.

BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Henry Keating was indicted for stealing £3 16s., the property of George Medland, at Ipswich, on the 26th February last.

George Medland deposed that he was a baker, in the employment of Mr. Brooks, at Ipswich, in whose service prisoner also was. On the 26th February prisoner had left Mr. Brooks' service, but was brought into the house that evening, in a state of intoxication, and pout into his bed-room. Witness's bed was near that of prisoner. Having occasion to go near the place, witness saw prisoner at his (witness's) bed, but he immediately left, and went to his own. Witness kept under the pillow of his bed the key of his box, in which he had left three £1 notes and 16s. in silver. Having heard a noise at the box, as he thought, and seeing the prisoner going away from his bed, his suspicions were aroused. He found the key under the pillow, but moved from the place where he had left it. On opening the box, the money was missing. It had been in a purse in the box. The prisoner had had opportunities of knowing that witness kept money in the box, and of seeing where he kept the key. Finding the money gone, witness went in search of prisoner, who had left the house, but could not find him until next morning. Had not since found the money or purse. The prisoner cross-examined the witness at considerable length.

Henry Brooks, the employer of witness and prisoner, was examined. He deposed to prisoner having been in the bed-room on the night of the robbery, and having left the house and remained out all night, which he had never done before. Witness did not see any other person, excepting witness and prisoner, coming to the bed-room that night. Witness was in the bakehouse, which any person must pass through to get to the bed-room.

William Carson, constable in the Ipswich police, deposed that he apprehended prisoner in the street, the day after the robbery. Told him it was for stealing money from his fellow servant. Prisoner said he had stolen no money, and that if witness apprehended him, it must be for running away from his service.

In defence the prisoner denied the charge, stating that he had been long a respectable tradesman in Sydney, and urging the jury to give him the benefit of any doubt they might have. His Honour shortly summed up, and the jury found a verdict of not guilty. Prisoner was discharged.

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

William Bryan was indicted for stealing a cartouch-box, a snuff-box, &c., and £7 in money, the property of Henry Hort Brown, at Gayndah, on the 4th December last.

Henry Hort Brown, surgeon, of Gayndah, deposed that he was absent from home two or three days in the beginning of last December, and returned about the 5th. Missing a pair of pistols from their usual place in the sitting room, he made a search, and found that they, and two compasses, a cartouch-box, several other articles, and about £5 in gold and silver, were missing. The money had been left in a drawer in the bed-room. Amongst it was a half sovereign, with a hole in it, exactly like the coin produced, and a fourpenny piece of the reign of Queen Anne, which had been returned to him by the Chief Constable, with the other articles. Witness found the back window of the house open, which in all ordinary occasions was kept shut; and in the garden at the back he found tracks of a pair of large boots, with three rows of nails in them. Similar tracks were found inside the house. A ladder had been moved from its usual place, and reared against the chimney, which was wide enough for a man to get down. On the same afternoon of these discoveries, witness saw prisoner in company with the Chief Constable. Prisoner ran away, and witness pursued and apprehended him. Witness saw prisoner's boots compared with the tracks, and they agreed exactly. The money found by the Chief Constable agreed precisely with the sum stolen. The other articles produced---cartouch-box, compasses, &c.---were found by the Native Police, and identified by witness.

Chief Constable Bannister deposed that, when informed of the robbery, he went to a neighbouring public house, to try if he could find any man with boots agreeing with the tracks. He called prisoner out, and engaged him in conversation, following a little behind him, and watching his tracks. When prisoner observed this he ran away, but was recaptured. He was then taken to Dr. Brown's house, and his boots compared with the tracks, which they exactly agreed with. On being searched in the watch-house, the gold coin produced, including the half sovereign with a hole in it, was found secreted in one of his socks. The other articles were found by the Native Police.

---- Hepburn, Dr. Brown's servant, gave evidence of the discovery of the robbery, and the tracks and other appearances. Prisoner had passes by the house on the day of the robbery, and bade witness good day.

The prisoner cross-examined the witnesses with some ingenuity, and read part of a written defence, relying upon any doubts the jury might have. He was found guilty, and remanded for sentence.

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

TUESDAY [20/05]

The Court opened this morning at 9 o'clock.

Online as R. v. Connor, 1856

 

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

TUESDAY [20/05]

Online as R. v. Leary, 1856

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

TUESDAY [20/05]

Michael Riley pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with having stolen a bank cheque, of the value of £3 8s. 10d., the property of Mr. Stephen Mehan, at Drayton, on the 10th January last.

The prosecutor is a storekeeper at Drayton, and among other commodities, deals in spirituous liquors. On the 10th January, the prisoner called at his store and asked one of the assistants Frederick Ludlow, for two gallons of grog (rum.) Ludlow took the prisoner's keg and went to draw the rum in the spirit store, leaving Riley standing in the shop near the desk. The till was at the back of the desk. No one was left ion the shop with the prisoner. Ludlow did not let him have the grog, because he had no money to pay for it, and Riley left the shop. Shortly afterwards a cheque, which had been placed in the till, to the amount of £3 8s. 10d., and signed by Mr. Dolan, the chief constable, was missed. This cheque had been taken in payment from a Chinaman that morning by Ludlow, and neither he, Calvert (The other assistant), not the prosecutor, had paid it away to anybody.

On the afternoon of the same day, the prisoner tendered the identical cheque at the bar of the Bull's Head Inn, in payment for some liquors, and the barman gave the cheque to Mrs. Witham, the landlady. The prisoner would not take any change, as he said he should want some more grog, and he was apprehended at the Bull's Head the same evening, on the charge of stealing the cheque. When asked how he came by the cheque by Mr. Mehan, the prisoner replied, "You know I have been to your store to-day;" he was quite stupid at the time, from the effects of recent inebriation.

The prisoner made no defence, but called as witnesses for character chief constable Dolan and Mr. S. Mehan (the prosecutor), neither of whom, however, knew anything, good or bad, about him.

The jury found the prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, with hard labour, in Parramatta gaol.

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

TUESDAY [20/05]

William Smith was indicted for having stolen one pair of boots, the property of Stephen Mehan, at Drayton, on the 17th January last. A second count charged the prisoner with felonious receiving.

The evidence tendered was to the effect that a pair of boots were found by Mr. Mehan, apparently concealed, in a cask in his yard. Supposing that they were "planted," he had them taken out, marked, and returned to their concealment. In the evening, the prisoner was seen to come and take them away, and on being pursued, dropped them from his coat. The evidence of a witness, Calvert, who was an assistant of Mr. Mehan's at that date, but who was discharged the same morning, went to show that the prisoner bought a similar pair of boots from him that morning, and also told him to place them to his account. Before the entry was made in the books, Calvert was discharged, and he stated that he never even told Mr. Mehan of the purchase. The prisoner alleged that, having to go out breaking one of Mehan's horses, and not intending to go home, he laid the boots in a cask in the yard, intending to take them when he came back. He did so, and he had therefore been accused of felony.

The Judge briefly summed up, remarking on the slight appearances of guilt, and the jury, after retiring for a short time, returned a verdict of acquittal.

Prisoner was put back, however, in custody, the Crown Prosecutor stating that there was yet another charge against him.

 

MORETON BAY COURIER, 24/05/1856 Page 2

BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

TUESDAY [20/05]

Online as R. v. Daly, 1856

 

MORETON BAY COURIER, 24/05/1856 Page 2

BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21.

Online as R. v. Henry, 1856

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21.

William Smith was indicted for stealing some thread, calico., and other articles, the property of Stephen Mehan, at Drayton, on the 1st January.

The prosecutor, Mr. Stephen Mehan was called, and was questioned as to the identity of the property. He could only positively identify the thread, which he knew by the private mark. At this stage, the prisoner desired to withdraw his plea of not guilty, and plead guilty, as he was aware that one article being sworn to was sufficient to convict. His Honour cautioned the prisoner, who, however, persisted in his plea. The case was therefore put to the jury, who found the prisoner guilty. Sentence, two years' hard labour in Parramatta gaol.

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21.

Online as R. v. Henry, 1856

 

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FRIDAY. [May 23]

BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Online as R. v. Darker, 1856

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21.

Online as R. v. Owens, 1856

 

MORETON BAY COURIER, 24/05/1856 Page 2

BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21.

Henry Pickering, Daniel Lynch, and Patrick Lynch, were discharged on their own recognizances.

The court adjourned until 9 o'clock on Monday morning next.

QUEEN'S BIRTH DAY. --- This being her majesty's Birth day, the banks and public offices will be closed, and the business of the Circuit Court suspended.

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

MONDAY, 26th MAY.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Online as R. v. Henry, 1856

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

MONDAY, 26th MAY.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Online as R. v. Darker, 1856

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

MONDAY, 26th MAY.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Online as R. v. Gordon, 1856

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

MONDAY, 26th MAY.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

Online as R. v. Carter, 1856

 

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BRISBANE CIRCUIT COURT.

TUESDAY, 27th MAY.

CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.

James Smythe was indicted for having feloniously wounded one Joseph Jones, at Gayndah, on the 27th of December last, with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Mr. Pring defended the prisoner.

Bartholomew Bannister, chief constable of Gayndah, deposed that he knew both the prisoner and prosecutor, the latter of whom was a carrier. The Gayndah races took place on the 27th December last, and he remembered seeing the prosecutor in front of a booth on the course, kept by a man named Harper. Jones was in the act of taking down his trousers, and was bleeding profusely from a wound in the back part of the thigh. The prisoner was standing near, and upon witness asking who had wounded the man, he (prisoner) was pointed out as the individual; he was drunk at the time, and had blood on his face, and witness took him into custody. Prosecutor declined giving the prisoner in charge, but witness apprehended him on his own responsibility.

(By Mr. Pring.) I cannot account for the blood on the prisoners face, nor did I see Jones and him fighting. I did not examine the wound. Blood was running down. I did not think it needful to send for a doctor.

John Powers, carrier, stated that he was at Harper's booth at the races, and saw prosecutor there, bleeding from a wound in the back part of the thigh.

(By Mr. Pring.) There had been a great deal of skylarking in the booth, previous to my seeing the prosecutor stabbed. I also saw the prisoner's face bleeding.

Constable Pearce, of the Gayndah force, said that he was at the races, and saw Jones and the prisoner in Harper's booth. Saw Jones strike Smythe in the face and exclaim "put down that knife." He subsequently saw that Jones was wounded in the thigh. Witness had seen a knife in the prisoner's right hand, and what appeared to be a piece of tobacco in the other.

(By Mr. Pring.) When Jones told prisoner to "put down that knife," he struck him.

Constable Eager corroborated the foregoing testimony.

Charles Smith spoke to having seen a scuffle take place between Jones and the prisoner, which was before the former was stabbed.

(By a juror.) I did not hear the prosecutor say that the prisoner stabbed him.

The case for the prosecution having closed, Mr. Pring addressed the jury for the defence. A verdict of not guilty was returned, and the prisoner was discharged.

With this case the business of the assizes terminated.

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THURSDAY [22/05]

CIVIL JURISDICTION.

M'ADAM v. BRENAN.

This was an action for the recovery of a sum of £266 15s. 10d, on a promissory note, and also a further sum of £28 0s. 8d., with the accruing interest thereon. The damages were laid at £300. Mr. Herman Milford appeared for the plaintiff; but the defendant was not represented by counsel. The plea set up was what is termed a "sham plea," being merely a denial of the debt. The plaintiff produced the overdue promissory note, and proved the signature of the defendant. The whole amount of his claim was as follows:---promissory note £266 15s. 10d., accruing interest at 10 per cent. £9 15sd. 4d., goods supplied, £28 0s. 8d. The jury immediately returned a verdict for the plaintiff.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University