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Colonial Cases

Aboriginal trials [1848]

Aboriginal defendants - Aborigines, killing of - Aboriginal defendant, offence against another Aborigine

Quarter Sessions, Western Australia

W.H. Mackie Esq., 5 January 1848

Source: Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News, 8 January 1848

[2] Quarter Sessions, Jan. 5, 1848.

W. H. MACKIE, ESQ., Chairman.

AFTER an interval of nine months, caused by the absence of sufficient business to call for the holding of a court, a General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, was held on Wednesday last, in the Court-House, at Perth, before W. H. Mackie, Esq. Chairman, and a bench of Magistrates.

In his charge to the Grand Jury, the Chairman adverted to the great number of aboriginal prisoners for trial, amounting to 21, and observed that this was in a great measure to be attributed to the suspension of business for the last two Sessions; but, at the same time there was no doubt that from several causes, a large increase will before long take place in this class of [3] offenders. Among these causes were to be mentioned the many new tribes which the increase of the ilocks and herds of settlers, will naturally bring us in contact with; it was now universally admitted that the country hitherto occupied for pasturage, as far insufficient for our present wants, and, latterly, the squatting system had been much and eagerly resorted to; this system would yearly and constantly bring us into contact with fresh tribes - tribes utterly unacquainted with the ultimately irresistible power of the white man, and, therefore, have scarcely the restraint of fear to prevent their committing depredations. Another circumstance must also be expected to operate, more particularly with the tribes who been longer in communication with us - they will lose that  undefined dread of punishment which has hitherto been a chief influence in deterring them from crime, and they have none of that feeling of disgrace which, to a civilized man is the heaviest portion of his punishment.

The natural consequence of the increase of native offenders will be the increase of the expense of the judicial establishment, more especially under the present most absurd system of viewing alike both white and native, So serious was the unnecessary expense thus caused to the colony, that it had engaged the attention of the Legislative Council during their late sitting; they had some years ago framed a measure to mitigate the evil, by which local courts were established with power to summarily try and punish natives for minor offences; this ordinance was for a short period in operation, but was disallowed by her Majesty on the ground that all her subjects must be treated alike. Since that period circumstances have happened in New Zealand tending to alter the opinions of her Majesty's advisers on this subject. The Legislative Council have accordingly prepared and sent home a draught of their wishes, and until an answer is received to their application, we must continue the present system.

John Drury, a private in the 96th Regt., was indicted for stealing from the person of Peter Prazer, the sum of £18, at Monger's Hotel. The prosecutor had been paid the money by his employer, Mr. W. Parker, in Monger's Hotel on the 29th Nov.; the money was tied in a handkerchief which the prosecutor placed in his bosom. He was very much intoxicated and laid down on the kitchen floor to sleep, when the prisoner was seen by the cook to take the handkerchief away from his person. Guilty - 12 calander months' imprisonment with hard labour.

John Gale, and James Eagan, charged with stabbing and wounding Bandit, an aboriginal of the King George's Sound district, with intent to do grievous bodily harm. This was one of the most horrible and brutal cases ever perhaps brought before a court of Justice. The evidence was of such a nature as to preclude its being published; it must suffice that the usage received by the native was such as would have killed a white man; he had received two separate floggings, on a mere suspicion of sheep-stealing, which he denied being concerned in; at the last flogging each of his inhuman tormentors inflicted on him more than ten dozen lashes, on different and most tender parts of his body, with a cat made of raw hide with several knots in each lash, and not contented with this, when the poor fellow fainted he was stabbed in the groin with a table-fork to make him get up again. Both prisoners were found guilty, and sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment, with hard labor.

Wombana, Kardakai, and Whalebung, stealing a sheep the property of Donald M'Pherson - each 7 year's transportation.

Nulap and Weemar, stealing flour from S. A. Barker, Northam - 12 cal. months' imprisonment, with hard labour.

Taubert, stealing 21bs mutton, the property of J. F. Smith-12 montlis ' imprisonment, with hard labor. 

Yarrup and Nooyar, stealing and receiving flour from Gr. Clifton, of Leschenault -12 months' ditto.

Danjart and Wabbab, stealing and receiving flour from M. B. Smith, of Leschenault-6 months' ditto,

Mellish and Mandup, stealing a sheep the property of C. Harper, of York - Mellish 7 years' transportation, Mundup 12 cal. months' imprisonment.

Eajan, Wallebung, and Jacob, stealing   and receiving a sheep and flour from W. 
L. Brockman - Eajan 7 hears' transport., 

Wallabung l8 months' imp., Jacob 12 ditto. 

Wetagwert, stealing a sheep from Jas.

Dempster, of Northam - 7 years' transp. -. 

Ngumanwert, assaulting H. R. Hester 12 months' imprisonment. 

Gooyung, stealing flour from E. Meares - 7 years' transportation.

Noongyear, stealing a sheep the property of J. Gooch - ditto.

Mulbuggera, stealing 20lbs beef from A. 
  O'Gr. Lefroy - 6 months' imprisonment. 

Woondemarra, feloniously receiving 20lbs mutton the property of A. O'G. Lefroy ditto.

Murdel, for the murder of Mangerong, a female aborigine, - Death recorded.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School