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

R v Gaudry and others [1836] NSWSupC 70

manslaughter - boxing match

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling A.C.J., 10 November 1836

Source: Sydney Gazette, 12 November 1836[1 ]

George Gaudry, stood indicted for the manslaughter of James Bishop, at Windsor, on the 26th August last, through a prize fight; and Samuel Taylor, John Bates, John Allcorn, Charles Gaudry, John Lucas, George Keys, and Thomas Martin, for abetting in the same.  A second charged the deceased as being a man, name unknown.

William Gaudry - I live at Windsor, and recollect the 24th of August last, was at a fight that day about two miles from Windsor, my brother George was one did not know the other, but had seen him on the previous evening, took no part in the fight; Dutch Sam (Taylor,) was second to deceased, and George Ray second to my brother, there were bottle holders also, saw Bates, my brother Charles and Allcorn there some one kept time, the fight lasted about an hour, my brother won the fight.  Bishop became insensible soon after the fight, I then spoke to Dr. Rutter who bled him he was taken into Windsor but died the same evening, there was a regular ring formed by the crowd, a great number of people were there, saw nearly all the prisoners there.

Cross-examined, this was at the race time, persons at the races eould not but see the fight; I never heard Bishop go by any other name than ``Stringy-bark," Bishop came up from Sydney and told me he came on pnrpose to fight; during the fight he threw himself down several times, without being struck.

Christopher Flynn - I am a dealer in Sydney, had an assigned servant named Bishop, gave him a pass in August last to go up to Richmond (pass produced) that is the pass, I have never seen him since.

Cross examined, he had been with me four years, complained sometimes of a head ache.

Robert Smith - I live at Windsor, am a publican, recollect the day of the fight, one of the man was brought to my house, he died in the evening, this pass was found upon him, have no doubt the discription on the pass corresponded with the deceased.

John Hibbert - I was at the fight from first to last, deceased fell several times, he was very much beaten, Gaudry thew him frequently, the last time thrown he laid on the ground speechless a considerable time; I held his arm whilst Dr. Rutter bled him, he was afterwards put into a chaise and taken to Smith's house, Taylor was there, also Kay, it appeared to me a fair fight, was with Bishop until he died, cannot tell who kept time at the fight.

Richard Crampton - I was at the fight in August between Gaudry and Stringybark, I believe Lucas was one of the parties who kept the time, Taylor and Haddygaddy were the seconds.

John Earl - Cabinet maker I was at the fight, saw George Gaudry and Bates there, a person named Dight held the stakes, Bates and Charles Gaudry gave £10 each as the stakes, did not see what became of the stakes afterwards, Allcorn and Lucas both held watches; considered them the time keepers.

Cross-examined, several other people had watches, I considered the money to be put down for the fight.

Re-examined - The fight took place about an hour after the money was put down.

Charles Kelly - I was at the fight in August; saw John Allcorn was one of the time-keepers; saw him act as such; a round or two had taken place before he was called into the ring.

Cross-examined - He was not the first time-keeper chosen; he stood alongside the other time-keeper; it is customary to have two time-keepers; he was called in by some persons standing near.

William Maughan - I am a constable, and was on duty upon the day of the fight; I tried to prevent it but could not succeed; there were bottle holders, Haddygaddy was one; did not know the timekeepers; Taylor was a second.

Cross-examined. - All the others were strangers to me.

By the Judge. - There was only myself and another constable there.

Dr. Rutter. - I live at Parramatta; was at Windsor on the day of the fight; after the fight I was called to the deceased; he was insensible, labouring under a concussion of the brain; I bled him; the injury I imagine was the effect of a fall; death was occasioned by a profusion of blood on the brain; his head had received an extensive blow, which might produce compression of the brain.

Cross examined. - A fall was more likely than a blow to produce compression; over exertion might produce it.

William John Whitethorn. - Am a surgeon; I examined the body of a man named Bishop, at Windsor in August; death had been occasioned by extravasated blood on the brain; there were several wounds on the scalp which might have been caused by either blows or falls.

Cross-examined. - Over exertion or intense heat of the sun would occasion an overflow of blood on the brain.

By the Judge. - A knock down blow would be sufficient to cause death.

William Henry Gaudry, re-called - I heard Bishop say that he came up to Windsor on purpose to fight somebody, and mentioned the name of my brother in particular; he was about the same size as my brother.  This closed the case for the prosecution.

Mr. Foster submitted, that there was not sufficient evidence to go to the jury, the identity of deceased not being established, for any thing which had been proved, Bishop might have lent the pass to the Man called Stringybark, and he himself still living.

The Court overruled the objection.

Prisoners said nothing in defence, but called three or four witnesses as to character.  The learned Judge then went carefully thought the whole of the evidence, and the jury retired, when they had been absent about half an hour, they returned with a verdict of guilty against all the prisoners except Martin.  Mr. Therry having prayed the judgement of the Court, His Honor proceeded to pass sentence, in doing which he observed, it was extremely painful to the Court to be called upon to pronounce sentence, six of the prisoners being natives of the Colony, but it was absolutely necessary that prize fighting should be put down, it was a brutal practice and tended to disgrace all parties concerned.  It was also high time that the young men of this Colony should be taught to respect the laws of their country.[ 2]  With respect to Taylor, he being a prisoner of the crown, his punishment would necessarily be more severe; the sentence upon him was two years to a penal settlement; George Gaudry, six months; Charles Gaudry, Bates, Allcorn, Kay and Lucas, three months imprisonment in Windsor Gaol.



[ 1] See also Sydney Herald, 14 November 1836; Australian, 15 November 1836.

[ 2] According to the Sydney Herald, 14 November 1836, Dowling A.C.J. said that ``it was absolutely necessary that prize-fighting should be put down, and it was the duty of the Court to see that the law was put in force to keep down one of the most disgraceful practices that existed in England.  In England it had become in a manner sanctioned by usage but it was different in this Colony, and it was necessary that the prisoners should be taught a lesson in wisdom.  Gaudry, as principal, was certainly the greatest offender in the eye of the law.  Taylor was the worst - for, in addition to the breach of the law which he had committed, he being a Convict, in visiting such a place, he had assumed the name of `Dutch Sam' as a mean of excitement, and had made himself very busy; and it was necessary he should be taught a lesson.  The seconds were much to blame, for had they exercised their authority to keep the parties from battering one another's brains out, instead of inciting them, they would not have been there that day.  The parties who provided the stakes he looked upon in the same light; and the parties who deserved the lightest punishment were perhaps the time-keepers, who had only seen fair play."

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University