Saturday, March 17th, 1845.
DR WRIGHT being again placed at the bar Mr. Fisher commenced the defence by reading the indictment, to which he had
some objections to make, when his Honour mentioned one fact which appeared to him fatal, namely—that the chemist had pre- pared a mixture from the muriate of mor- phia, when the Doctor had ordered the acetate, and this, without asking his per- mission, or even informing him of the change. It is quite clear, therefore, that it is useless to go farther in this case. ' Dr Wright goes into Mr Paxton's shop and orders one thing, and Mr Paxton—not a medical man but a chemist, puts up another. This is not a case such as wilful murder, where a man is charged with killing another with a stick and it turns out to be the butt end of a gun: that might not be fatal to the indictment. But this is a wholly different case. Dr Wright was not even aware of the change, and was therefore administering medicine from a bottle, the contents of which he did not know; therefore, gentle- men, I think you must acquit him. But on another point, this charge could not be brought home to him: when Dr Wright came into Mr Paxton's shop, unfortunately, in a state of intoxication, he ought not to have taken his prescription ; but they (Mr Paxton and Mr Crawford), took the re- sponsibility on their own hands by supplying the medicine, and disregarding the direc- tions. It must not be supposed that I mean to blame them, as they no doubt did what they thought most prudent; still. we cannot make a physician responsible for the effect of medicine, which was both different to what he ordered, and adminis- tered in a manner contrary to his directions. With regard to the general charge of neg- ligence, some specific act must be set forth in the indictirent as having caused death, and this specific act must be proved. I will give you an instance, gentlemen—Suppose a surgeon to be called in to a case of a broken leg, and to proceed, perhaps very properly, to bind it tightly round, but, in stead of further operating, to leave it so ; there is no doubt that if death ensued from inflammation caused by the ligature he would be guilty of neglect, as the bandage, although properly put on at first, should not have been allowed to remain. But in this case, no single act can be fixed upon Dr Wright, save that he administered the con- tents of the first phial, which Dr Wyatt thinks did not occasion death. I am sorry I did not mention this last night, and so have prevented your detention, but though it occurred to me, I was afraid of being hasty. I have now given it full con- sideration, and am convinced that the pri- soner must be acquitted. Mr Fisher—If your Honour will allow me I am anxious to make one remark, though not of a legal nature, but as a colonist as old as Dr Wright himself. I cannot help expressing a hope that the misery he must have felt during the last twenty-four hours, and the degrading place he has occupied in that dock, will prove a lesson sufficiently strong to induce him finally to abjure that destructive habit which has brought him into such a position, and to become hence- forth a blessing to the society he is so well qualified to adorn. The jury then, under the direction of the judge, returned a verdict of "Not Guilty." His Honour then addressed Dr Wright as follows:—Mr Fisher has expressed a hope, in which I most sincerely join, and I assure you the trial has given me much pain : but bear in mind that had not the evidence been singularly deficient the result would have been very different, and you might have been convicted of a crime the punishment for which is transportation for life. You owe your acquital to what may be termed, as far as you are concerned, a most fortunate mis- take of Mr Paxton's. But had the evidence been borne through in other respects, and I could have felt as sure that you were le- gally as I fear you are morally answerable for the death of this poor man, my duty would have compelled me to have passed a most severe sentence. I trust, however, the warning will not be lost, nor the escape be without good effect; that you will abandon your demoralizing habits—again fill your proper place in society—and have fortitude of mind to banish this vice, however firmly rooted. I sincerely hope it may be the case. Dr Wright, who seemed deeply affected, then bowed to his Honour, and withdrew. Hugh Cairns was placed at the bar. charged with stealing a piece of check from the shop of Mr Bickford. The prisoner pleaded not guilty. We have not room for the evidence. The jury, without retiring, returned a verdict of " Not Guilty." The Judge hoped this would be a warn- ing to the prisoner, and dismissed him. On the name of James Clare being cal led— Mr Poulden applied for the postponement of his trial. He put in afiidavits to show that a material witness was expected by the Palmyra, which was likely to arrive before the close of the present sittings, His Honour granted the application, and the case of the coiners being likely to be long, adjourned the Court till Monday.
(Monday, March 17. ) James Wilkins, John Walker Wilson, William Somers, Henry Booth, John Walker, Thomas Brown, and Henry Downer alias Henry Cope, were charged with coining and uttering counterfeit money. The prisoners severally pleaded not guilty. The Advocate-General opened the case for the prosecution, and after briefly ad dressing the Jury, called — Police - Sergeant Rounceville. — Knows Walker, Booth, and Somers; on the 3rd of this month went with Sergeant Lorimer to a house at the north-west corner of Light-square, and assisted him in the search; it was a two-roomed house; no one was at home when we arrived there : after a time Walker came in, then Booth and Somers: after they came in we began the search. Sergeant Lorimer asked Walker whether he had any " swagger"; he got a light, and took us into the bed-room, when he said the greater part of the things there were his; on the other two coming in, they admitted living in the house; we found on the mantel-piece a small paper bag of flour, and in it a paper containing a red powder and powdered glass : the small frying-pan, which has metal in it, and which I produce, we found near the fire-place in the bed-room; the mould produced, with plaster of Paris adhering to the sides, we found in a corner of the bed-room, near which we found a paper bag of plaster of Paris ; the paper of metal we found on the top of the partition wall between the rooms : we likewise found the file, which appears to have been used for filing metal, and some pieces of sheet zinc ; on the mantel-piece we also found a knife with plaster of Paris on it, a fine saw, and two pieces of glass. Cross-examined by Mr Fisher.—Great part of the plaster of Paris has cracked and fallen from the knife; of my own know ledge I do not know the powder in the pa per to be plaster of Paris, but I have been told it was; we found some flour in the room; we did not take the prisoners into custody till we had searched the house. Sergeant Lorimer—In consequence of the prisoner Wilkins being brought to the station house in costody, I went to the house where I understood he resided; I accompanied last witness and police-constable Knight; "I sent for a light, and during the time the constable was gone to procure one, the prisoner Walker came in; I asked if he was the owner of the house, and he said he was not —he lodged there with seven or eight others; I asked him if Wilkins lived there; he replied, he did ; I asked him if he had any money about him, and to show it to me; he did so; he pointed out the bed where Wilkins slept; Booth then came in and afterwards Somers; the later said he was the owner of the house; I asked if he had any objection to my searching the house; he said he had not; I searched the bed where Wilkins slept, and in the tick of the bed I found the counterfeit half-csovereign now produced, marked " house;" there were two beds, and a number of bags, clothes, and bed-clothes lying on the floor ; among these things I found the two files now produced ; the next morning I sent a policeman to the house to bring a tobacco pipe I saw there, which has metal in it; he brought it to me, together with four counterfeit half-crowns. On the Thurday afterwards I again went to the house, and among the ashes I found the pieces of plaster now produced. The tin mould not being riveted; I cannot say whe ther the pieces of cast plaster, if joined toge ther, would fit into it or not. Mr Fisher here rose and said—Your Ho nour, I have an objection to make to these proceedings altogether. The learned counsel then proceeded to state that the Act under which this indictment was laid could not be in force in this colony, inas much as the Act made the crime of coin ing in England and Ireland a felony, while in Scotland the same offence was made a high Crime, and so on through every clause in the Act relative to passing, coin ing, and being in possession of counterfeit coin made the offences different in Eng land, and Ireland, and Scotland, and, therefore, supposing the prisoners were found guilty, how would they be punished as for a felony in England, or as for a high crime in Scotland ? Mr Fisher, therefore, contended that the Act in question exten ded to the United Kingdom only, and not to this Colony, and, there being no colo nial statute to bring this Act into force here, the offence must be considered as limited to the United Kingdom, and, therefore, no offence had been committed. The Advocate-General replied that, in Scotland, there were no such terms as fe lony and misdemeanour, such offences being comprised in the terms high crimes and crimes, and therefore the act made the difference in the wording of the sta tute suitable to England, Ireland, and Scotland. The Advocate pointed out at considerable length the difficulty of admit ting Mr Fisher's objections, as, if the laws of the United Kingdom referred to Great Britain and Ireland alone, there would be no law to touch any offence here, and that the Colonial Act declares that Acts in force in the United Kingdom before the foundation of this colony be in force here. Mr Fisher contended that the Local Act only fixed the date of the foundation of the Colony. If any fault there was for the want of the Act now required, it laid with the Legislative Council, but with that he had nothing to do; and that the crime for which the prisoners at the bar are indicted cannot be punishable here under the statute. His Honour, after lengthened remarks on the subject said that he was not quite pre pared to give a decided reply to the objec tion, but would consider it, and should he feel sufficiently in doubt on the point, the prisoners should have the benefit of it. The Court then adjourned for ten minutes. On resuming, his Honour said he must over-rule Mr Fisher's objection. The Advocate-General then called— Richard Cocking, who deposed to finding the pipe aud a counterfeit half-crown. William Pybus—Spoke to the quality of the metal, as also to the dies and moulds, and identified the half-crowns passed by the prisoners as part of the same luctal found on the premises.
A number of persons were examined, and identified the prisoners as the utterers of the counterfeit coin. His Honour summed up at considerable length, and the jury, after retiring for a few minutes, returned a verdict of "Guilty" against all the prisoners. Sentence—Transportation for ten years.
Tuesday, March 18. James Clark (whose case occupied so long the attention of the Police Commis sioner, and whose various hearings have been fully reported in the Register), was placed at the bar, true bills having been found against him for horse stealing and for forgery. Before the prisoner was arraigned, Mr Poulden objected to the charge of forgery being first preferred, as he had received no notice of it until the bill had been found by the Grand Jury. He thought the original charge of horse stealing should be first taken, especially as the witnesses for the defence in that case were in waiting. Mr Fisher (for the prosecution) wished to take the charge of forgery first. His Honour considered horse stealing the real charge, and he thought that it should be first proceeded with. It ap peared to him just possible that the pri soner might not have quite so fair a chance were the other course to be pur sued. The prisoner was then arraigned for having stolen a horse of the value of £50, the property of John Barton, on the 18th January; a second count laid the pro perty as that of John Baron the younger. The prisoner pleaded Not Guilty. The witnesses on both sides were or dered to retire. Mr Fisher stated the case to the jury. The circumstances were such as did not often come before a jury, and would cer tainly display an unusual degree of im pudence. The prosecutor was coming from Hobart Town with his daughter-in law to join his son, and engaged the prisoner to a tend to himself (being in firm), and also to look after a horse on the voyage. He was supplied with money to pay passage for himself, and freight for the horse and gig. The bargain being that for his services he should receive his pas- sage free, as he desired to come to this colony. The arrangement was carried in- to effect—the prisoner acting during the voyage, according to agreement, as the prosecutors servant. But on the land- ing of the horse and gig, it turned out that the prisoner had taken the receipt for the freight in his own name, and claimed both as his own. He produced also a receipt professing to bear the prosecutor's signa- ture, by which it would seem he had bought and paid for both. To complete the crime, he had offered the horse for sale to more than one person, and would actually have disposed of it but for the interference of the police. Mr Fisher then called John Baron—Had lately lived in Van Diemen's Laud, and came here in the Palmyra with his daughter-in-law and four children, brought with him "the horse and gig now outside the Court, his own property which he had never sold or au- thorised the prisoner or any other party to sell. The prisoner acted as his servant on board, and attended to the horse. Had not had possession of the horse since its arrival; had the horse in November of his son, who had had it for some time. < Cross-examined —My son owed me £93 for cash I had let him have seven years ago or more, and i took the horse, gig. and harness, in November last, as £60 towards it. We had no written agree ] ment, but I believe Mrs Johnson made a note of it. I have lived with my son for these last six or seven years, out of trade. When he let me have the horse and gig I had not bern pressing him for payment. Elizabeth Barton, wife of John Barton, Junr., confirmed much of the testimony of the last witness, for whom she had engaged the prisoner to wait upon himself, and to look after his horse during the voyage; her father-in-law was 78 years of age; she had brought on board some bran and corn of her own, with which she had fed the horse in addition to the allowance received from the ship; her husband had not, to her knowledge, left Hobart Town in debt. John Barton, Junr., had applied to Clare several times for the horse: after some shuffling he refused to give it up unless upon payment of £12; James Wylde, and a man named Coakley were present when he applied for the horse; no legal proceed ings had been taken against him in Hobart Town, nor any threatened; Mr Denby had not become bail or security for him; he was first induced to speak to Clare about the horse from having heard that it had come to town, although Clare had told him it was to remain for the night at the Port. William Hultnes, a fellow-passenger. said that Clare had told him in Hobart Towvn. that he was to have charge of tbe old gentleman and cf his horse, for which his passage was to be paid; on the voyage Clare had wished him to show Mrs Barton a copy of a receipt he had by him, of which he thought would induce her to stand £5— this, witness,, refused to do; on landing, had heard Clare offer to sell the horse to Bayfield. but as Mrs Barton approached he said " keep it dark, here they come;" Clare afterwards told him that Barton might have his horse if he gave him £10. Edwin Bayfield, driver of the mail-cart to the Port, confirmed the statement of the last witness, as to the horse having been offered him by Clare, but heard nothing said about ** keeping it dark.'* Mis Bar ton bad told him of her having brought over a horse in the presence ot the pri soue, who had made no remark. James Wilde also proved the fact of the prisoner having offered the horse for sale; he spoke of it has his own property, and showed him his receipt for it; had heard him speak of it as his horse to Barton, who did not appear to dispute it (The receipt purported to be from John Bar ton, senr.,., and to be witnessed by George Sansom). Knew George Sansom, of Ho bart Town, who was usually called "Deaf George," or " George, the Butcher."
Sergeant-Major Alford and Police-Con stable Edwurd Lock, proved ihe capture of the prisoner,and (the finding of the re ceipt upon his person; Mr Poulden addressed the jury for the prisoner, and called— Edward Frederick Lindsay, master and managing owner of the brig Palmyra. Clare had taken, and paid for, his passage, and had paid freight for the horse and gig, without reference to any other person; had never kuowu Mrs Barton as connected with the horse • Mr Fisher addressed the jury in reply. His Honour summed up the evidence, and the jury returned a verdict of Guilty. Sentence—Fifteen years" transportation. This was the last case on this list. The Court, however, adjourned till Thursday morning, at ten o'clock, when it is understood that the jurors who have not aUendcd will be fined.