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Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts

R. v. Wells [1833]

sodomy

Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land

Montagu J., 21 March 1833

Source: Tasmanian, 22 March 1833 [1]

Charles Wells, was next placed at the bar, charged with the commission of an unnatural crime. - This it one of those cases with which we cannot sully our columns. We cannot, however, do other than say, that the address of the Attorney General to the Bench and Jury, in opening the case, deserves to be spoken of in terms of high commendation. - He said that in discharging his duty, he would strictly follow the example laid down by His Honor, in expediting the public business by every possible means in his power; - adverting to the crime with which the prisoner stood charged, he said, that the very horror arising in the minds of the Jury from the bare mention of the perpetration of such a crime, ought to make it extremely doubtful, and having explained to the Jury such points of law as bore on the case, he concluded by again observing, that the very character of the offence ought make them extremely sceptical, unless fully established by evidence.

The prisoner was acquitted of the capital charge, but was subsequently found guilty of a minor offence, and sentenced to two years imprisonment and hard labour.

Notes

[1] See also Hobart Town Courier, 22 March 1833; and see R. v. Jones, 1833. According to AOT SC 32/2 Wells was found not guilty of buggery with a calf, but guilty of intent at buggery with a calf. AOT SC 41/7, p. 73 and AOT MM 71/8 record a not guilty finding of bestiality but guilty of attempting to commit bestiality.

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