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

R. v. Wood


Supreme Court of New South Wales, Port Phillip

Willis J., 19 May 1841

Source: Port Phillip Herald, 21 May 1841

Before Judge Willis and a civil Jury.

John Wood -Was indicted for uttering a false and counterfeit coin, purporting to be a guinea, apparently intended as the Queen's Current Coin, well knowing the same to be false and counterfeit, at Melbourne on the 14th April.

The second count charged the coin to be a counterfeit of a coin current in the Reigns of their late Majesties Geo. 2nd and Geo. 3rd.

His Honor wished to know of the Crown Prosecutor whether he had found if the 2nd Wm. 4 chap. 34, had been adopted here.

Mr. Croke replied that he had searched, but could not find that it had been adopted.

His Honor also had searched but could not find that it had been adopted. By the 15th and 16th Geo. 2nd, the offence was punishable by six months imprisonment; by the 2nd Wm. 4th, chap. 34, by twelve months. Mr. Croke would therefore proceed under the original Statute.

Mr. Cunningham was assigned by the Court to defend the prisoner.

It was proved in evidence, that on the day laid in the information being one of the race days, prisoner went into the booth of Mr. Walton and offered a spurious coin, purporting to be a spade one guinea, in payment for some spirits; this he did three times; upon the third time he was given into custody. Prisoner said he obtained the coin at a public house in Collins Street . His Honor in charging the Jury said that it was necessary for them to be satisfied of a guilty knowledge at the time he tendered the coin, before they could find him guilty.

The Jury after an absence of a quarter of an hour found prisoner guilty, but recommended him to mercy on account of his ignorance.

His Honor in passing sentence remarked it was fortunate for him, a more recent statute, than that under which he was indicted, had not been adopted by the Legislature of the Colony, if so, he would have had passed upon him a double amount of sentence which would have entailed a double punishment. It appeared by his own showing that he was in the habit of frequenting public houses, for there he stated he obtained the coin; and it also appeared that he visited a booth upon the race course, and tendered it in payment for rum. His Honor did not see what right such persons had at [?], it would be much better for them to pursue a course of honest industry and obtain a respectable standing in their sphere of life. He hoped the sentence which the law awarded, and which he was about passing upon him, would have a salutary effect, and deter him from visiting public houses in future. The sentence of the Court was, that he be imprisoned in Melbourne Gaol for six months, and at the expiration of that time to find sureties to keep the peace for a further period of six months.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University