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2-009 (Text)

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The Chief Justice. Gentlemen, this is an information presented by the Acting Attorney General, against the defendant, Robert Howe, Editor and Proprietor of the Sydney Gazette, for a libellous attack contained in that Journal, of the 14th instant, on the character of Saxe Bannister, Esq. in his office as Attorney General of the Colony. Mr. Bannister, now an Advocate of this Court, but lately holding the high office of Attorney General, opened the case, and, I must say, it was painful to me to hear him take so enlarged a review of public events connected with this Colony, as he thought proper to do, and the more painful as the nature of the prosecution did not require that latitude. Mr. Bannister, however, as a private Barrister, thought himself at liberty to take the range he did, and I would not interpose, though, as I have already said, it was painful to me to hear those observations on the Government which he deemed it necessary to make; as he should have recollected, there were other persons connected with, and who held offices under Government, who though they happened to differ in opinion with him, were, it is to be supposed influenced by motives equally pure as those which he assumed, and who had not an opportunity of vindicating themselves. I have thought it necessary to make these preliminary remarks, in order to prevent such a course of proceeding being drawn into a precedent, and serving as an example for future irregularities. The charge resolves itself into one of a very simple nature, namely, whether the publication in question, is, as it it