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1-235 (Text)

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addressee author,male,Australian, The,un
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Decisions of NSW Supreme Court
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On the motion of the Attorney General, as we stated last week, a rule nisi had been on the 2d inst. granted, calling upon the Magistrates of Sydney to shew cause why a writ of mandamus should not issue directing them to summon juries, as in England, at the ensuing General Sessions, to be holden in November. The case came on to be argued this day. The Solicitor General was retained by the Magistrates. The Attorney General first addressed the Court. He said he had made this motion merely from the delay which had occurred in the assembling of the Sessions; and not with any view to impute blame to the Magistracy. The delay probably had arisen from the novelty of the institution; but, to whatever cause it was attributable, it was injurious to the public interests, and was therefore incumbent on him, as the guardian of those interests, to see that it was no longer persevered in. The day that had been fixed by proclamation for the holding of the Sessions had gone by; and another was now at hand, and yet no conclusion had been arrived at among the Magistrates as to the course of conduct to be pursued by them. It appeared that a difference had arisen among them as to their competency to assemble juries under the late Act, that this difference still existed, and that the point was not likely to be settled among themselves. This then was of itself a sufficient ground for the course which he had adopted. The word mandamus carried with it a sounding name. Its object, however, as he had before stated, was not imputation. It would be convenient that all the Magistrates should be bound by the decision which might be pronounced on this question to day, although those of them to whom the rule was not specially directed, might undoubtedly, if they should think fit, agitate it de novo. It would have been inconvenient to give them all notice, in consequence of the urgency of the case, and it was on that account that the motion was confined to the Magistrates of Sydney, in exclusion of those who resided up the country. He was aware that there was an irregularity in his proceeding now to address the Court; but, as the learned Solicitor General, who was instructed on the part of the Magistrates to resist the rule, was not present when it was obtained, and would therefore probably be unapprized of the observations with which his motion had been prefaced, he should now, out of courtesy to him, state the outline of the argument on which he should now rely for making the rule obtained by him on a former day absolute; reserving to himself, however, the right of reply to any arguments which might be employed by his learned Friend on the other side. The clause under which Courts of General or Quarter Sessions were constituted in this Colony was the 19th of the late Act, the 4th Geo. 4. cap. 96. Here the learned Gentleman read the clause, and then remarked, that it consisted of two parts - one refering