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Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts

Darke v. Brown [1833]

assault, horsewhip

Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land

Pedder C.J., 13 December 1833

Source: Tasmanian, 13 December 1833 [1]

Assessors - J. Beamont, and J. Bell Esquires

This was an action of assault, damages were laid at £500 - plea, general issue.

Charles Cathrow - I was present when a scuffle took place between plaintiff and defendant, at the Waterloo Tavern; I went with Mr. Darke, to the tavern; when there, he pulled from his pocket, a letter and presenting it to Mr. Desborough, asked if he wrote it; Mr. Desborough did not answer, when Mr. Darke observed, that if he did not answer, he should proceed to answer the letter himself. The plaintiff had a horsewhip in his hand, with which he struck Mr. Desborough; Mr. Brown was present at the time; while Mr. Desborough held Mr. Darke by the collar of his coat, against the wall Mr. Brown struck Mr. Darke in the face with his fist, by which means, he received a black eye and scratches on the face; Mr. Darke did not say anything to Mr. Brown before Mr. Brown struck him; Mr. Darke did not strike Mr. Brown; when the parties were separated Mr. Brown followed and abused him, and held up his fist at him.

Cross-examined. - Mr. Darke told me he was going to the Waterloo expressly to horsewhip Mr. Desborough - this was on Tuesday morning.

Arthur Cunningham, an assigned servant of Mr. Darke's brother, deposed that on Monday morning, at about half-past 6 o'clock, Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Desborough, and Mr. Brown, came to the British Hotel, and entered the house by the back way. Mr. Darke was in the parlour; he was just up. They asked for Mr. Darke, they said they wanted to see him; they followed me into the parlour, when Mr. Darke came out into the passage (the witness gave his evidence in so low a tone of voice, that it was almost impossible for our reporter to hear one word he uttered). Mr. Desborough had a horsewhip, and horsewhipped Mr. Darke; Mr. Brown and Whitaker had hold of me, and was striking me at the time.

Cross-examined. - I have instructed Mr. Stanley to bring an action for the assault committed upon me.

John Preston, servant to Mr. McRobie, examined. - On Monday, the 4th of November, at half-past 6 o'clock, I was at the British Hotel, and heard a scuffle in the parlour; I saw Mr. Desborough and Mr. Brown had hold of Mr. Darke; Mr. Desborough was striking him; Mr. Whitaker was standing aside the piano, laughing.

Verdict for the plaintiff. Damages - One Farthing.


[1] See also Colonist, 17 December 1833.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University and the School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania