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Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts

R. v. Bond [1827]

convict escape - stealing

Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land
Pedder C.J., 27 March 1827
Source: Hobart Town Gazette, 31 March 1827 [1]

Robert Bond was found guilty of stealing on the 5th of October last, a box of apparel and other things to the value of £5, the property of John Smith. The prisoner, by his own account, had escaped from Sydney by the ship John Barry, and had persuaded John Smith to pay him money and to intrust his box of clothes, &c. to his charge, on board the Doncaster, then lying in the harbour, under pretence of planning and securing his escape by that vessel from the colony. After many evasions and excuses, he at last persuaded Smith and three others, named Lee, Wyatt, and Ironmonger to go, late at night, on board a boat at Sandy Bay, for the purpose of entering the ship and lying concealed till her departure out to sea. Bond, however, had betrayed his victims, and on their going to the ship they found Captain Church and his crew expecting them, & they were all accordingly secured. Smith in consequence laid an information at the Police Office, and a warrant was issued for the apprehension of Bond, who was taken, dressed in his stolen garments, out of the ship, then on the point of sailing.

Source: Colonial Times, 6 April 1827

R. Bond was charged with obtaining three dollars and other property under false pretences, from John Smith, a prisoner of the Crown. This was a gross case of treachery and villainy. Bond had been transported to New South Wales, and whether now free is now [sic] known, but he found his way to this Colony on the Doncaster, from Sydney. He made the prosecutor believe that he would stow him away on board the Doncaster, which ship was bound for England, for which kind act, Smith agreed to give him £17 in money, and when all was right (that is, when Smith should be safe out of the Colony) 20 sovereigns in addition, were to be paid. Confiding in the assurance of Bond, Smith paid him three dollars, and shewed him the £17. Matters being arranged, Smith delivered his baggage to Bond, who took it on board. Appointments were frequently made when Smith was to go to the ship, but as often did some unforseen occurrence render it adviseable to defer the shipment. At length, however, Smith and three others persons went in a boat from Sandy Bay, at a time named by Bond. When they got alongside, they were all made prisoners by the ship's crew, who had been informed of their coming, and were therefore prepared with arms to receive them. Smith after obtaining his deliberation, applied to a Solicitor to detain Smith for debt; but he was advised to apply to Mr. Humphrey for a warrant, which, being granted, Bond was arrested, taken out of the ship, and sent to gaol. The case being clearly proved, the prisoner was found Guilty.


[1] Bond was sentenced to transportation for seven years: Hobart Town Gazette, 23 June 1827.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University and the School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania