COURT OF QUARTER SESSIONS.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12— The Court of adjourned Quarter Sessions re-assembled this morning. William Swan was indicted for stealing two pair of Boots and two pair of shoes, the property of Joseph
Murray. The prosecutor stated, that on the night of Sunday four weeks, his stall in Pitt-street was broke open and robbed of ten pair of boots and shoes and two blue jackets ; had no suspicion of any particular person. On the following Wednesday saw the prisoner offering three pair of boots for sale to one Peter Quigley, in Market-street, knew them to be his pro- perty, and therefore claimed them; prisoner gave him the boots, said he had bought them in the Market, and offered him two other pair to compromise the matter. Witness took the five pair, and immediately carried them to Mr. Dunn, the chief constable, who apprehended the prisoner. He could not bring for- ward the person of whom he bought them. The Chairman, in addressing the Jury, observed that there was a total want of evidence to support the indict- ment, charging the prisoner with stealing the articles in question; all the testimony only proved his having "stolen goods in his possession," a crime not laid in the indictment. He was therefore bound to state to them, that such was the benignity of the English laws, that the prisoner was held to be at all times en- titled to the benefit of any doubt which might arise; such was now the case, and he conceived the Jury could not legally find him guilty. After retiring for a few minutes, the July brought in a verdict of Guilty. The Chairman said, he was fearful they could not have comprehended the tenor of his remarks ; he begged again to remind them of the principle of law before mentioned, and requested the Jury to reconsider their verdict. They, however, declared they were unanimous in their opinion of the prisoner's guilt, and could not conscientiously alter their verdict. The Chairman still having doubts as to the legality of the verdict, said he should reserve the case for the decision of the Chief Justice; and, in the mean time, ordered the prisoner to stand committed until such decision should take place. John Hazard, Joseph Furness and George Richards, stood indicted for riotously and tumultuously assem- bling with ten other persons, not named in the indict- ment, on the 7th day of September last, and with guns, pistols, and other offensive weapons, assaulting and otherwise ill treating William Flowers and Thomas Powdesly, two constables, belonging to Parramatta district. The indictment contained another count, charging the defendants with a second assault. Wil liam Flowers being sworn, deposed, that on the 7th of September he brought prisoners from Parramatta to Sydney, and on his return called at a public house, on the Brickfield Hill, of which the defendant Richards was the landlord, to meet Walton, another constable; that on asking Richards, if Walton had been there, he made use of very opprobrious language, saying he wanted no such characters— meaning the constables in his house; that he, Flowers, was the man who en- deavoured to get him fined, when he belonged to the Carters' Barracks. Upon which, Furness said, if he thought that, he would shove him out of the house; which the witness stated they immediately did. He, Flowers, then pulled out a pistol, saying he would shoot the first man who molested him. Upon which, Richards brought another pistol and gave it to Hazard ; but immediately took it from him again, saying, "you are frightened, give it to me, and I'll shoot the scoun- drel;" and witness believes he would have done so, had he not instantaneously wrested the pistol out of his hand. Eventually he tool Hazard and Furness to the watch-house. The next witness was Thomas Powdesly, the other constable. His evidence went to cor- roborate the facts stated by the last witness; as also, the testimony of Henry Harvey, a baker, who, however, did not see the whole of the transaction, but acknowledged he heard Flowers say to Furness, that "he was not game enough to fire." Two witnesses, Wm. Davis and William Linton, a servant in the house, were called on behalf of the defendants. It was endeavoured to be proved, that the quarrel originated in some im- proper observations, by Flowers, to Mary Ann Fur- ness, the wife of one of the defendants, and the daugh- ter of Richards ; Mrs Furness being the wife of one of the defendants, could not be called as a witness. The Jury retired for a few moments, when they return- ed a verdict of Guilty, on the second count only, a- gainst the whole three of the defendants. The Court proceeded to pass the following sentence: — Richards and Furness to pay a fine of £4 each, to the King; Ha- zard to pay £2; and the three to be imprisoned for the space of one calendar month, in the gaol of Sydney. Saturday— William Ward and Charles Hall were in- dicted for stealing a blue jacket, from the house of Mr. Warman, in George-street the property of Richard Ralph. The Jury found Ward Guilty, and acquitted Hall. This being his second colonial conviction, the Court sentenced Ward to be transported for 3 years to such part of the Colony as the Governor should appoint. William Kennedy was charged with stealing two chaise lamps, the property of Mr. J. Underwood. Wit- nesses in this case clearly proved the innocence of the prisoner, who received a very excellent character from Mr. James Underwood ; that gentleman having known him nearly twenty years. The Jury, without hesita- tion, found him Not Guilty. Isabella Dogherty was indicted for stealing four sil- ver desert spoons, the property of Mr. M. Hindson. The principal witness in this case, was Anne Jane Smart, to whom the prisoner offered the spoons for sale. Upon refusing to purchase them, the prisoner became very abusive; insomuch, that she was com- pelled to give her in charge to a constable, who searched her, and found one of the spoons concealed under her arm. The property was produced and identified, as belonging to Mr. Hindson. The Jury found the pri- soner Guilty, but recommended her to the humane consideration of the Court, on account of her infant family. She was sentenced to three months hard la- bour in the Factory, at Parramatta. Patrick Traynor stood indicted for that he, on the 9th day of October last, did violently assault Susanna Walker, by dragging her by the hair of her head, and with his feet kicking and bruising, and also with a certain horsewhip, beating, wounding, and grievously ill treating, the said Susanna Walker, against the peace of our sovereign Lord the King whereby her life was greatly despaired of. To this charge the defendant, a loquacious Hibernian, whose head and face certainly bore testimony that he had been in the wars, pleaded Not Guilty; at the same time assuring
their worships that he was the aggrieved party, and cautioning them against giving any credit to the wit- nesses on the part of the prosecution, whom, he as- serted, knew nothing of the transaction. Frances Ross deposed, that on the evening mentioned in the indict- ment, he saw the defendant beating the prosecutrix, a girl only fifteen years of age, with a horsewhip; saw no provocation, on the part of the prosecutrix, went immediately to inform her parents, carried the girl to their house in a state of insensibility. Susanna Walker did not appear as a witness, she having left Sydney a week ago. The defendant stated, that this was an ould grudge on the part of defendants, bekase, said he, they could not lug me into the "tay racket" as well as my wife. He assured their worships that the prosecutrix was a match for a much better man than him, and was, in fact, a perfect mistress of the pugi- listic art; that she had liked to have "kilt" him, who was only an "ould fellow," and not calculated for fighting ; he, however, admitted, that he had used a horsewhip in his own defence, being as he stated, "all in gore of blood," and he might have given her a bit of a "bateing." The Jury found him Guilty. The Court sentenced him to pay a fine of five pounds to the King, and to be imprisoned one month. Thomas Firby, a prisoner of the Crown, having been charged by Captain Raine with violent and out- rageous conduct, in assaulting some of the Sydney abo- riginal natives, was by the Magistrates at the Police Office, committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions. The Attorney General, however, (the defendant ex- pressing great contrition) consented to stay farther proceedings, on his paying the sum of five pounds, with- in one month, to the Female Native Institution, which the defendant consenting to do — was discharged. The Grand Jury on Saturday made presentments to the Court ; first, inspecting the state of the gaol; se- condly, respecting the heavy fines imposed on sailors confined in the gaol. The two presentments are annexed. The Chairman complimented the Gentlemen of the Grand Jury, very highly, upon the creditable manner in which they had performed their novel duty, and as- sured them that their presentments should meet with due attention, from the proper authorities. He thanked them in the name of the country, for their impartia- lity and attention, and observed that this indispensible burthen should, in future,be 'duly apportioned among all. The Jury were then discharged. ' All the cases were disposed of. The Court will meet on the 7th of Dec. to pass sentence on Wm. Swan. PRESENTMENT FIRST: — The Grand Jurors of our Lord the King, present to the Court of Quarter Ses- sions our Report of the State of Sydney Gaol, which, on attentive examination, was found clean, and its in- ternal management orderly as circumstances admit of. Of the gaol itself, its buildings, enclosure and site, nothing can be said too expressive of their insufficiency, insecurity, and improper position. Little beyond the presence of armed men, offers itself to oppose the flight of prisoners of athletic frame. In the yard wherein the daring fugitives from Port Macquarie are confined, stands a privy and the shoulder of a chimney, present- ing so easy a gang-way of escape, as appears, to the Grand Jurors to give an increasing invitation to the prisoners to overwhelm the watchmen and sally from their durance; and it is the opinion of this Jury, that a watchman armed amidst numbers of powerful despe- radoes, must be but a temptation to the commission of outrage. The Grand Jury consider an observation of the Commissioner of Inquiry so apposite, that they quote it to the Court, conscious that nothing can more. conduce to engage the attention of authorities having the power to improve, than reiterating cases so obviously requiring interposition. Mr. Bigge has noted the de- fects of the gaol to consist "of want of space and accommodation for the prisoners ; and the separation of those who are detained as witnesses, from those who have been already convicted. The Grand Jury had a striking exemplification of the evil of these defects, in the case of William King, an interesting boy, who having visited his parent at Parramatta, on leave from His Majesty's ship Tamar, overstaid the indulgence and has since, for several months, been mixing with miscreants, amidst about 180 of whom we found him. He is destined to this asylum until his lodging, five shillings per night, be paid to the jailor, and an op- portunity offer for his being restored to the Tamar ! ! ! The Grand Jury do not pursue Mr. Bigge in an ana- lysis of the resources whence the internal consumption of 'the gaol is supplied, but adopting his observation that "there is no kind of employment for the pri- soners, nor indeed would the present dimensions admit of any," most strenuously urge their impression that no work could be carried on of more important utility than supplying this defect. The Grand Jurors were particularly struck by the squalid nudity of the in- mates of the gaol, the greater proportion of whom, unconvicted and convicted, and the debtors, mix in the same yard, basking in the sunshine, and inculcating on their whole mass every vicious idea which either entertains. The debtors, amongst whom misfortune might include the first and most sensitive man in the colony, have their miserable dungeons, which are the worst in the gaol, opening into the court wherein the refuse of the community are crowded, and any unfor- tunate man however high in principle and delicate in sentiment, by a failure arising out of accidental cir- cumstances, from affluence and the endearments of a refined family, may be reduced to a situation of degra- dation, from which the mind cannot but recoil with hor- ror. The women are all collected together in one common apartment, left unemployed to the suggestion of their vicious dispositions. We observed, with pain, an un- fortunate gentleman of education and family, ci-devant of high station in this colony, accommodated with an apartment in the under jailor's lodge, but so small, that his humble couch stands with its head close to the window, two panes of the four of which are wanting, the spaces giving the rain and weather easy access. The numerous broken panes of glass, in the win- dows of the lodges, stamp an appearance of neglect and irregularity; such as the establishment ought, the Jurors think, to be particularly free from. The proper ventilation of the gaol has been utterly disregarded. Wards, thirty-two feet by twenty-'two, occupied at night by 60 and 80 people each, are closed at three sides; a perfect current of air can be induced by openings, for the construction of which, every facility and eli- gibility offer. The patients in the hospital of the gaol, are in a pitiable state of nakedness, and the Grand Jury recommend that a hospital dress be sup- plied on their being admitted; and, if possible, the narrow, cumbersome wooden cribs, be replaced, by iron
cots. The Grand Jury beg to sum up their opinion, that the gaol of Sydney is in every respect insufficient, not having the requisites of such a building; and, the Juror's press this subject the more, finding that the works at the proposed new gaol have been suspended, or di- minished to such a degree, as to give assurance, that nothing but the strenuous recommendation of this Court, is likely to obtain, for the capital of an impor- tant colony, a gaol and commensurate arrangements, such as the public interests require; and, if the pro- posed new works be not carried on with energy, it is more than probable, that the old building, already advancing in dilapidation, will have been utterly be- reft of the slightest character of security. The Jurors could not fail to remark, that since the 27th August last, there has not been entered any record of the of- ficial visit of a magistrate or public officer, and con- fident that this Court will use its best discretion in its means of remedying the crying evils laid before you, we console ourselves in the consciousness of having executed our novel, but welcome duty, with scrupu- lous adherence to a sense of what we owe to our coun- try, Signed by the Foreman and by the other Members of the Jury, individually. * * * In ward No. 1, thirty-two feet by twenty-two, eighty -four persons are not uncommonly confined at night, who, when lying upon the floor, would have each a space of 66 inches, by 18 inches, and no ventilation, except by the ascent of the rarefied air through the chimney. The thickly grated two windows in front supplying such air as has passed off through the fire place and vice versa. The Grand Jury recommend grated windows to be opened into the gaol yard, which can be done with the ut- most possible facility, and which would plentifully ventilate the ward. A plan was annexed, shewing the impossibility of so many persons ot ordinary size, lying in the area of the ward No. 1, without part of one resting over part of another. PRESENTMENT SECOND. — The Jurors of our Lord the King, present to the Court of Quarter Sessions, our opinion of the pro- priety of discontinuing the mulcts of five shillings per night, which are required to be paid to the jailor and chief constable, on sailors being confined in the jail, by order of the magistrates, for absenting themselves from ships and irregularities on board; fines, which militate against the interests of the ship owners, without benefiting the public, and which the Grand Jurors are credibly informed, His Honor the Chief Justice pronounced not to be conformable with law.