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Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Document 43

Original Document 43

Copy of plea to information. Defence of no jurisdiction: February 1836

[1] 

 [188 ]  

In the Supreme Court

The King v Jack Congo Murral

And now the said Jack Congo Murral in his own proper person comes and having heard the Information aforesaid read and protesting that he is not guilty of the Premises charged in the said information or of any part thereof for plea nevertheless saith that he ought not to be compelled to Answer to the said Information because he saith that the said Territory of New South Wales before and until the occupation thereof by His late Majesty King George the third was inhabited by Tribes of Native Blacks who were regulated and governed by usages and customs of their own from time immemorial practices and recognised amongst them and not by the laws or Statutes of the Kingdom of Great Britain and that ever since the occupation of the said Territory as aforesaid the said tribes have continued to be and still are regulated and governed by such usages and customs as aforesaid and not by the laws or Statutes of Great Britain And the said Jack Congo Murral further saith that he is a native Black belonging to one of such tribes as aforesaid and that he is not now nor at any time heretofore was a subject of the King of Great [189] Britain and Ireland nor was nor is Subject to any of the laws or statues of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. And the said Jack Congo Murral further saith that the said Jabinguy in the said Information named and with the wilful murder of whom the said Jack Congo Murral is in and by the said information charged was at the time of such supposed murder a Native black belonging to one of such Tribes as aforesaid and was not then not at any time theretofore was a subject o the King of Great Britain and Ireland not at any time was subject to any of the laws or Statutes of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland or under the protection of the same.

And the said Jack Congo Murrell avers that agreeably to and under and by such usages and Customs he the said Jack Congo Murral if suspected of the murder of the said Jabinguy can and may be made to stand punishment for the same and can and may be exposed to such and so many spears as the friends and relatives of the said Jabinguy with the supposed murder of whom the said Jack Congo Murral is and stands charged in and by the said information may think proper to hurl and throw against the body of him the said Jack Congo Murral whereby the life of him the said Jack Congo Murral may be endangered and brought into jeopardy for the said supposed murder of the said Jabinguy and the said Jack Congo Murrell also avers that no proceedings which may be had or taken against him the said Jack [190] Congo Murral in the said Supreme Court of New South Wales of the said supposed murder nor any verdict of Acquittal which may be had or follow thereupon will or can operate as a Bar or be pleaded as such to the proceedings which will or can be had against him the said Jack Congo Murral by the said Friends and relatives of the said Jabinguy with the supposed murder of whom the said Jack Congo Murral stands charged in the said Information agreeably to the before mentioned usages and customs. And this is his ready to verify wherefore he prays judgement and that by the Court here he may be dismissed and discharged form the said premises in the said Information specified.

Notes

[1] For the case to which this note applies, see R. v. Murrell, 1836

Published by the Centre for Comparative Law History and Governance of Macquarie University, and State Records NSW