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

R v Jacques and others [1832] NSWSupC 56

boxing match - manslaughter

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 17 August 1832

Source: Sydney Herald, 20 August 1832[1 ]

Friday. - Before Judge Stephen, and the usual Commission.

William Jacques was indicted for killing and slaying John Stone; and Joseph Rooken, Esq., Hugh Taylor, Charles Blakefield, James Ashman, and Thomas Barratt, for being present, aiding, abetting, and assisting in the said offence, at Parramatta, on the 14th May.  The Attorney General stated the case to the Jury.  It appeared in evidence, that on the 14th May, a bull bait took place in the rear of the Cottage in the Grove, near Duck River Bridge, at which many of the fancy were present, after which the deceased Stone threw up his hat, and challenged any man of his weight to fight for a purse.  Jacques came up and said he would fight for £10.  Stone said he had not got £10, but if any gentleman would back him, he would be carried dead out of the ring before he would give in.  A voice in the crowd exclaimed, ``fight for £5."  Jacques refused, but was afterwards persuaded so to do.  A ring was then formed, and to it they went, Mr. Rooken acting as time-keeper, Barratt as second to Jacques, and a man called Bumble, second to Stone, Ashman being bottle holder, and two parties in a gig near the ring, acting as umpires.  After they had fought for some time, during which Stone was in the habit of falling on his back, his head always striking the ground, both from blows, and to avoid punishment, he was observed to fall without a blow, when the umpires declared Stone to be beaten.  Blakefield came into the ring and was wiping Jacques, when Stone came up in attitude, and declared that he was not beaten, but able to dance a hornpipe.  Barratt did not wish them to fight, but Stone was positive, and they closed, when Stone fell heavy, and on being picked up, appeared quite groggy, his head reclining on one side.  One of his companions took him to his hut, but no medical man was called in, and he expired about sunrise next morning, without having spoken a word from the time he was removed from the ring.  From the opinion of the witnesses as to the fairness of the match, it appeared that Stone was superior in weight and knowledge of fighting, that he had the best of it at the commencement, and drew first blood.  Dr. Anderson was of opinion that the death of Stone was occasioned by an extravasation of from 10 to 14 ozs. of blood on the brain, which might be accounted for in various ways.  For the defence, Dr. Bland was the only person called, and he coincided in opinion with Dr. Anderson.  The learned Judge then summed up,[2 ] and the Jury acquitted the whole of the prisoners, who were immediately discharged.

Dr. Wardell defended Taylor; Mr. F. Stephen, Mr. Rooken; and Mr. Weightman, Blakefield.



[1 ] See Sydney Gazette, 18 August 1832.  See also R. v. Carver, 1832.

[2 ] According to the Gazette, the judge asked the jury first to consider whether death was caused by the blow inflicted by the prisoner Jacques.  As for the other prisoners, the jury was to consider how far they took part in the proceedings, particularly as it did not appear by direct testimony that they were even present after the fight was resumed.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University