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

R v Lambert [1836] NSWSupC 69

murder, of policeman - murder, accessory - Flat Land - bushrangers

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Kinchela J., 5 November 1836

Source: Sydney Gazette, 8 November 1836[1 ]

Before Mr. Justice Kinchela and a Civil Jury.

Alexander Lambert stood indicted as an accessary before the fact of the wilful murder of Corporal Hurman, of the Mounted Police at Flat Land, on the 9th August.

Richard Clayton examined - I was employed at the Flat Lands after cattle in August last; about a quarter of an hour after the Police came up.  I saw the prisoner riding up to the hut; I saw no other person; when Lambert came up he alighted from his horse, and asked me who I was; I made him no answer; I then saw the two police men, who ordered him to stand, or they would blow his brains out; I then went into a room, and immediately heard a shot, and on the instant a police man rushed into the room where I was, and fell; I heard a second shot from the outside after; the police man Hust ordered the prisoner to stand, or he would blow his brains out; he then called on me to assist him to secure the prisoner.

The Attorney General here cautioned the witness to be more particular, and asked him if he did not swear before the Coroner at Bathurst that he saw Lambert, and a second man unknown, galloping up to the hut; in answer he said that he saw two horses, but only one man.

Witness continued - I cannot say who fired the shot that struck Hurman; I told the Police that I thought it was Lambert that shot him with a pistol; he died shortly after.

Cross-examined by the prisoner - I did not hear you give any information to the police man that took you had you done so in my presence I must have heard it.

William Hawker. - I am an assigned servant to Mr. Vincent; I was in the hut on the night the shot was fired; I was in the room with Clayton, not in the one that Lambert was in; it was not pitch dark, but it was closing night fast; I heard a shot fired outside and when the police man came in he said he fired it; and that he believed he shot a man; I did not see any one; I saw no arms with Lambert, but when the police man ordered him to deliver them up in another room I heard them fall on the ground; I heard him tell the police man that there was no person with him; I heard Lambert say that the powder was in his eyes, but did not hear him say that he would shoot the police man only for that.

Cross-examined. - I heard you complain of the smoke of the fire, it was green wood we were burning in the hut and it smoked; I never heard you give the police man Hurst any information; I saw you handcuffed behind when Cooper and the other policeman came up; Cooper said you were a damn'd scoundrel; I heard you struck by them outside, but did not see it; I never saw any person in company with you.

Clayton recalled. - I do not recollect swearing before the magistrates that a second man came up to the hut; I fetched up two horses from the swamp one of which the prisoner rode, I do not know who owned the other; both horses were briddled and saddled.

Mr. Henry Zouch examined - I command the mounted police in the district of Bathurst; hearing of Corporal Harman's death I proceeded to Mr. Vincent's station at the Flat Lands, about 60 miles from Bathurst, the prisoner was there in custody of the police, and another bushranger; Harman was lying dead, I examined his body and found several wounds under his left shoulder, one appeared to be from a bullet, the others were smaller and appeared to be from slugs; on asking the prisoner who shot the deceased, he said there was no use in my asking him, he would not tell who shot him, as the man may do well in the colony yet! on seeing my pistol which had a percussion lock, he said it was a similar lock that on the piece with which Harman was shot; I have heard that the prisoner was in the habit of visiting about the Flat Lands and gave directions to the police to concentrate occasionally in that quarter.

Cross-examined by prisoner - I do not recollect ever having the pleasure of your company while you were at large.

This closed the case for the prosecution.

His Honor having summed up at considerable length, the Jury retired for a few minutes and on coming into Court returned a verdict of Guilty.  Sentence of death was then passed on the unhappy man, and was ordered for execution on Monday, and his body for dissection.

Richard Langham was acquitted on a charge of presenting a forged order for one pound, at Green Hills, Maitland, for the purpose of defrauding Bettington and Company.



[1 ] See also Sydney Gazette, 11 November 1836; Sydney Herald, 10 November 1836.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University