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

R v Peters [1832] NSWSupC 93

manslaughter - boxing match - indictment

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 22 November 1832

Source: Australian, 30 November 1832[ 1]


Thursday, Nov. 22. Before Mr. Justice Dowling - John Peters, was indicted for killing Disira Moulguit, at Sydney on the 18th of November instant, by striking him on the left side of the head with both hands, and throwing him against the ground, such striking and throwing inflicting a mortal bruise and contusion, of which he then and there immediately died.  Joseph Lewis deposed to his being a Portuguese, & a seaman of the Clementine, to which vessel deceased and prisoner belonged; they had a row and wanted to fight, but the crew would not allow them to do so on board, on which they took a boat. and went to the Wharf.  Dennis Casey deposed that he was on Mr Lamb's Wharf on a Sunday evening, when he saw the deceased tucking up his sleeves crying, I'm going to have a fight with the cook, and I'll knock his black head off," I asked the prisoner if he was going to fight, and he said ``he was going to see about it", just then, the deceased came up and as he was rising from putting his hat on the ground, the cook hit him a blow on the left temple; he fell and could not get up again; he was somewhat intoxicated; the prisoner was a very peaceable, quiet, good-natured man.  Mr Charles Bloomfield, Surgeon, attended the deceased, about half an hour after death, and examined the head in the evening, when he discovered that death had been produced by the rupture of a blood vessel and there was nearly an ounce and a half of extravasated blood immediately under the temporal artery; the injury was more likely to have been occasioned (he thought) by a blow than a concussion.  The learned Judge ruled in all charges of the present nature it was necessary that the manner of death alleged in the Information should be as nearly as possible borne out by the evidence; it would therefore be for the Commission to consider whether the deceased had met his death conjointly from the blow and fall, or from the blow only; if from the blow only, the prisoner would be entitled to an acquittal; if, on the other hand, was the prisoner the person at whose hands the injury was inflicted? The Commission promptly returned a verdict of not guilty, and the prisoner was discharged by proclamation.



[1 ] For the trial notes, see Dowling, Proceedings of the Supreme Court, Vol. 78, Archives Office of New South Wales, 2/3261, p. 196.  See also Sydney Herald, 26 November 1832.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University