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

R v Black and others [1833] NSWSupC 82


Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 17 August 1833[1 ]

Source: Sydney Herald, 22 August 1833

Saturday, Aug. 19. - William Black was indicted for ravishing the person of Isabella Yeomans, and Robert Watson and George Matthews were jointly indicted for aiding, abetting, and assisting in the said felony, at Newington, on the 7th of July.

In the second count, Watson was charged as the principal, and Black and Matthews as accessaries; and in the third count, Matthews as accessaries.

The details must not sully our pages.

The prisoners were found guilty, and the learned Judge passed upon them the awful sentence of death, holding out no hopes of mercy.

During the examination of the witnesses for the prosecution, a tailor in the employ of Mr. Blaxland stated, that the prosecutrix had confided to him, that other three men had committed the same offence upon the same evening, being a continuation of the outrage of the men then being tried.  The prosecutrix being called up to explain this, stated that such was the fact, but that she had not stated this to her husband, because she was afraid he would desert her and her family.  The learned Judge immediately ordered the three men to be confined, and they were taken into custody accordingly.


Burton J., 29 August 1833

Source: Sydney Herald, 2 September 1833[ 2]


Wednesday. - Before Judge Burton, and the usual Commission.

Joseph Hawley, John Brickfield, and Richard Coglan, were severally indicted as principles, and then as accessaries, in aiding, abetting, and assisting in committing a rape upon the person of Isabella Yoeman, at Newington, on the Parramatta road, on the 7th of July.   The prisoners were all found Guilty, after a consultation of the Jury for about three minutes; and having been called up for judgment, the learned Judge observed, that they had been convicted on the most satisfactory evidence, and that every person who had heard the trial, must have been satisfied of their guilt; they were fast hastening from that to another tribunal, and he would advise them to make the best use of the few short hours that remained to them in this world to atone for their sins.  His Honor then passed the awful sentence of death upon them, ordering them for execution at such time and place as His Excellency the Governor might think proper to appoint.  The prisoners were removed from the dock protesting their innocence.



[1 ]The Herald incorrectly gave the date as 19 August, which was a Monday not a Saturday.  See also Sydney Gazette, 20 August 1833; and Dowling, Proceedings of the Supreme Court, Vol. 88, State Records of New South Wales, 2/3271, p. 24, giving the correct date.

 Less than two weeks earlier, Clement Doughty was also sentenced to death for rape: Sydney Herald, 12 August 1833; Australian, 12 August 1833; Dowling, Proceedings of the Supreme Court, Vol. 87, State Records of New South Wales, 2/3270, p. 135.  See also R. v. Smith, 1833.  On 30 August 1833, the Australian noted that there were eight men in gaol under sentence of death for sexual crimes.

[2 ] See also Sydney Gazette, 31 August 1833.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University