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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Pigott and Crampton [1828] NSWSupC 13

manslaughter, road accident

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 4 March 1828

Source: Sydney Gazette, 7 March 1828

Joseph Pigott was indicted for manslaughter in causing the death of Mary Ann Elizabeth Berry, by driving a curricle and pair of horses over her body, in the king's highway, at Sydney, on the 19th day of December last.  Richard Crampton was also indicted as being present aiding and assisting.

David Nearn sworn - I reside at Sydney; on the 19th of December, about 5 o'clock in the even[i]ng, I was walking down King-street, and saw the prisoners driving in a curricle drawn by two horses; they called out to me to take care, and I got out of the way and allowed them to pass; they drove round the co[r]ner of Phillip-street; they were driving in a trot, at the usual pace that other carriages drive; after the curricle had turned the corner of Phillip-street; they were driving in a trot, at the usual pace that other carriages drive; after the curricle had turned the corner of Phillip street, I saw Mrs. Berry, with her child in her arms, exclaiming ``My God! My child is killed;" she went up to the hospital with the child, and as I was standing in the street, a gentleman, whom I believed to be a Magistrate, took my name; I saw a little blood on the child's face; it was about two minutes, or not so much from the time I first saw the curricle, until I saw Mrs. Berry with the child.

Elizabeth Berry sworn - I reside in Phillip-street; on the evening of the 19th of December, I was setting  at the door, working, whilst the deceased was playing in the road, when a curric[l]e, driven by Pigott, with Crampton seated beside him, turned the corner of the street; the horses were galloping; I called out to Pigott to take care of the children; he took no notice, and turned round and saw the horses kicking the child on before them; the curricle passed over the child; I picked up the child in my arms, and cried out to stop the curricle, as my child was killed; the prisoners did not stop; the child was bruised in the head, and spouting blood from the mouth and ears; she was attended by Mr. Cooke, and died in about eight hours and-a-half after.

Cross-examined by Mr. Rowe - Pigott might have heard me cry out, or he might not; the curricle made a considerable noise; it might have gone over the child without Pigott observing her.

By the Court - It was sufficiently light at the time to distinguish objects in the road; the street was not crowded.  I cannot say whether the curricle was on the right or wrong side of the road; after I found that the child had been run over, I called out loud enough to be heard by the people in the curricle to stop; they did not do so, but went on as before; when I saw the curricle turn the corner of Phillip-street, the horses were galloping; the prisoners came to my house the same evening to enquire after the child, and appeared to be sorry for the accident.

Mr. Rowe submitted that there was no evidence against the prisoner, Crampton.

The Court was of opinion that it was a question for the Jury.

Mr. Rowe submitted that, as, in law, Crampton was neither principal nor accessary, it was not a fact for the consideration of the Jury, but for the decision of His Honor.

Mr. Justice Dowling - I am of opinion that the case must go to the Jury to decide upon the guilt or innocence of either or of both the parties.

Mr.arthur Hill, the employer of the prisoner Pigott, gave him an excellent character.

His Honor minutely recapitulated the evidence, and the Jury found the prisoner Pigott Guilty.  Crampton Not Guilty.


Dowling J., 6 March 1828

Source: Sydney Gazette, 7 March 1828

This morning, His Honor, Mr. Justice Dowling passed sentence on the following prisoners convicted before him during the week.

Joseph Pigott, for manslaughter.  Three months imprisonment.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University