Skip to Content

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

R. v. McLeod [1857] NSWSupCMB 18


Supreme Court of New South Wales, Moreton Bay

Milford J., 1 August 1857

Source: Moreton Bay Courier, 4 August 1857, p. 1S


John M'Leod, was indicted for having, at Warwick, on 27th May, forged, and uttered orders with intent to defraud.

The Crown Prosecutor applied for this case to be remanded, owing to the absence of a material witness.

Remanded till next Criminal Sessions.

The recognizance of Mr. Thorp was ordered to be estreated.

Milford J., October 1857

Source: Moreton Bay Courier, 10 October 1857


John McLeod, was indicted for having forged and uttered an order, purporting to be drawn by H. B. Fitz, Pilton. The prisoner pleaded not guilty and was undefended.

The Crown Prosecutor stated the facts of the case, and called

Thomas McEvoy, who deposed: I am Chief Constable of Warwick; prisoner was in my charge on 30 th May last; he was searched in my presence, and some paper, pens, and pencils, and clothing taken from him; there were no forged orders found upon him; he was charged with uttering forged orders, and was apprehended by my instructions; I received the forged order produced from Mr. Bowen.

John Bowen, deposed: I was a storekeeper in Warwick in May last; I know prisoner and had some dealings with him; he came to my store for goods on 27 th May, and produced an order for £9 2s. 6d., and the next day he came again and brought another for £6. I gave him property amounting to £2 and the change.

The prisoner, who proved himself quite an adept, cross-examined witness without altering his statement.

H.B. Fitz sworn: I live at Pilton. The order produced is a forgery.

Cross-examined by Prisoner: Mr. Murnin is my agent; I have given orders on Mr. Murnin before; I don't know of any other H. B. Fitz of Pilton.

By Crown Prosecutor: The signature to the order is something like my writing; but it is a forgery.

The prisoner then addressed the jury. He begged of them to dismiss from their minds all that they might have previously heard, and to remember that they were not in England or Scotland, but in New South Wales, where it was a thing of almost every day occurrence that forged cheques were passed into the hands of innocent men by designing persons, and then passed by them without guilty knowledge. The Crown Prosecutor had told them in his opening that forged cheques were found upon his person, but the evidence had proved otherwise, and the jury would therefore dismiss that from their minds. They would observe that no proof had been brought of the forgery, as it was necessary in the case to prove his hand writing. Remarking on the necessity of proving guilty knowledge, the prisoner said that he was present at a trial for forgery in Bathurst in 1854, before the Chief Justice, the circumstances of which case were that the accused had gone into a public house, tendered a forged cheque in payment for some liquor, and had then left the place altogether. The Judge ruled that there was guilty knowledge, as the prisoner had not returned, but there was nothing like this in his (McLeod's) case. Another feature in this case, tending to establish his innocence, was the small amount of the various orders which he was charged with uttering. If a man intended to utter a number of forged cheques or orders in a small place like Warwick, he would not try for such small amounts, but would pass orders for a larger sum. He hoped the jury would return a verdict according to the evidence.

Bowen re-called by a Juror: Mrs. Bowen was present at the time I gave the change for the cheque. Prisoner said he received it from Mr. Fitz as his wages as a shepherd.

His Honor then addressed the jury and said there was no evidence to find him guilty upon the charge forgery; but there was no doubt of as to his passing the cheque.

H. B. Fitz was re-called and stated that the prisoner had been in his employ about seven or eight years ago, but not since.

Mr. Bowen re-called: I am positive the prisoner told me that he received the cheque from Mr. Fitz.

The jury found the prisoner guilty, on the second count, of uttering a forged order, and not guilty of forgery.

The Crown Prosecutor stated that he would arraign the prisoner on another charge.


John McLeod, was indicted for forging and uttering an order for £9. 2s. 6d. at Warwick, without an intent to defraud H. B. Fitz, Esq. of Pilton.

The Crown Prosecutor stated the case to the jury and called:

Thomas McEvoy, who deposed: Prisoner was apprehended on a charge of forgery and searched in my presence, and the order for £9 produced, was found upon him.

John Collins, sworn: I am a publican residing at Warwick. Prisoner stayed at my house and gave me an order to change; the order was presented to pay for refreshment he had had while living there; I had my doubts about the order being genuine and told him it was not like Mr. Fitz's writing. Prisoner said it was written at the sheep station hut and that the pen was a bad one; I then took the order and gave him the change. He afterwards gave me back the cheque and an order for £13 2s. 2d. to take care of for him. The order purported to be drawn by H. B. Fitz.

Cross-examined by prisoner: It was some time in May you passed the order. There was another man with you, who you said you fell in with on the road.

By His Honor: The Signature is quite different from Mr. Fitz signature.

H. B. Fitz, sworn: The prisoner was in my employ about the year 1850; the order for £9 2s. 2d. produced is a forgery and a bad imitation of my signature; the other order is not in my hand writing. The prisoner was only in my service for a few days and then absconded; I paid him a £1 order, drawn on Mr. Sparkes.

Cross-examined by prisoner: I gave you the £1 order in 1850. I swear I did not write those orders.

Prisoner, "so much the worse for me."

The prisoner then addressed the jury for the defence.

His Honor summed up, and the jury found prisoner guilty on the second count of uttering, with intent to defraud.

His Honor sentenced the prisoner to be imprisoned in one of her Majesty's gaols for the term of five years.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University