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Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts

Hart v. Hurst [1833]

ship's discipline - assault

Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land

13 December 1833

Source: Tasmanian, 13 December 1833

This was an action for an assault on the high seas, plea, general issue; for the plaintiff, J. T. Gellibrand for the defendant, the Solicitor-General.

The plaintiff is a hatter in Hobart Town, the defendant, aster of the Emperor Alexander; plaintiff had agreed to work his passage; was on his voyage indisposed; on Sunday morning early, when plaintiff was with the steward, the captain came below and ordered him on deck to work; the plaintiff said he could not go, as he was too ill; the captain then commenced a barbarous attack on plaintiff.

Thomas McDermott examined. - Is a soldier in the 21st regt; knows the plaintiff in this action; he was a sailor on board; saw the plaintiff on a Sunday in the month of August; he was below ill; remembers the captain ordering the plaintiff to go up and work on that day; Hurst said he was not able; the defendant then said he was as well able to work, as he, the defendant was, and called him a d_____d son of a b___h; the defendant then drew plaintiff out of bed, and struck and kicked him several times while on the ground; the captain then called both his mates to his assistance, to drag plaintiff towards the after hatch way; plaintiff roared out murder! And asked if there was an Englishman on board; witness told the captain if he wanted to murder the man, to take him out of their sight; the captain then took the plaintiff on deck, and struck plaintiff several times with a thick rope; the captain said he was allowed to strike any one on board with a rope of that thickness.

Matthew Walls and Patrick Fenten, soldiers of the same regiment, corroborated the foregoing evidence.

Verdict for plaintiff - Damage £10.

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