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2-170 (Original)

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Gentlemen of the Grand Jury:
You have been called together by virtue of the commission which has just been read, for the purpose of assisting in your capacity of grand jurors in delivering the temporary gaol of the prisoners who have been confined there, and although, in ordinary circumstances, I should only consider it necessary to call your attention to the cases which will come before you, and to offer any suggestion, or tender any advice, which might occur to me, or be required by you with reference to those cases, I feel that upon the present occasion - one so interesting to us all, when as the first judge I address you, the first grand jury of this newly constituted Province - shall not be considered as overstepping the limits of my duty, or trespassing unnecessarily upon your time . . . if my observations should extend to a greater length than I should otherwise deem advisable. [167]
You are aware that in the neighbouring colonies it has been considered inexpedient to concede the full right of trial by jury. The reasons which have been considered as justifying such restriction elsewhere do not, however, happily, prevail here: and I feel no slight degree of satisfaction in being able to congratulate the free inhabitants of South Australia not in being admitted to, but in being able to claim as their birthright, the full and unrestricted privileges of the British constitution, amongst which not the least valuable is that which has justly been styled the palladium of English liberty - trial by jury - an institution which, however it may have been occasionally abused (and no human institution is free from imperfection) has been proved by the experience of ages in our native land, "the inviolate island of the brave and free" to have well deserved that appellation.
Amongst the many interesting and novel features which the formation of our colony presents, it is not the least interesting that, within four months from the landing of the government and the first colonists upon these shores - shores hitherto untrodden by the foot of civilized man - there were found means of assembling together a number of gentlemen, capable of constituting a grand and petit jury, who, in point of intelligence and respectability are, I will venture to say, not inferior to any similar body seen in the mother country.