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

R. v. Jenkins and others

Aborigines, attacks on

Supreme Court of New South Wales, Port Phillip

Willis J., 18 June 1841

Source: Port Phillip Patriot, 20 June 1841

William Jenkins, John Rennington, William Martin, Edward Collin and Robert Morrisson were jointly indicted for shooting at an aboriginal native named Narhargabeen, otherwise Abraham, otherwise Jemmy, with intent to maim, disfigure, and disable, at Cumberland Creek, on the 1st March. A second count charged the prisoners with shooting at, with intent to do, some grievous bodily harm.

The whole of this case rested on the testimony of an approver named Joseph Maddocks, who swore that on the 5th of February last, a large party of natives, about one hundred and fifty in number, attacked the station where himself and the prisoners were staying; they commenced hurling their spears when between forty and fifty yards of the hut; the prisoners fired in self defence, and the witness fired the first shot, considering his life in great danger.

Under these circumstances,the Crown Proseecutor declined proceeding with the case.

His Honor regretted the prisoners should have been kept to confinement so long on such a charge as the present; they had only done what he should, was he in the same situation; and self-pteservation in his opinion, was the first law of nature; he was bound to tell the jury that by law they were perfectly justified in what they had done.---Not Guilty. Discharged.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University