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2-225 (Text)

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author,male,Sydney Herald,un addressee
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Decisions of NSW Supreme Court
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2-225-plain.txt — 2 KB

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Seven Aborigines from the district of Macquarie, were placed at the bar on a charge of cattle stealing. Their names were Dundomah, Tommy Boker, Benjamin, Jemmie, Tommy Bang Bang, Carbon Mark, and Murramundong Simon; when called on to plead, each of them denied the charge, except Tommy Boker, who said the beef was good.
The Attorney-General suggested to His Honor the propriety of assigning Mr. Broadhurst as Counsel for the prisoners, on which that gentleman was sent for. The Attorney-General further remarked, that cases against the Aborigines were now of so frequent occurrence, that it would in his opinion, be proper for the Court to assign standing counsel for the Aborigines, when brought before it on criminal charges. His Honor thought that the suggestion was a very fair one. The messenger returned and informed the Court, that Mr. Broadhurst was not at home, on which His Honor sent for Mr. Purefoy. The prisoners were then informed, that counsel had been sent for to speak for them, but they made no answer. They were afterwards asked, if they any objection to either of the Jurors, and made answer "they would all do."
Mr. Purefoy having arrived, the indictment was read, which charged the prisoners with having killed two head of cattle at "Bang Bang" with intent to steal the flesh; a second count charged them with having stolen the cattle.
The Attorney-General in stating the case to the Jury, said that the aborigines being acknowledged as subjects of the British Crown, the same law applied to them as to the whites; but it must be evident, that when they came to take their trial, they did so under great disadvantages, as the only witnesses they could produce were the members of their own tribe, who not being christians could not be admitted as witnesses; he also stated that from information which he had received through Mr. Keck, he had reason to believe that the prisoners were the wildest blacks that had ever been brought to trial, they had but little knowledge of the rights of property, and before their apprehension, had comparatively little communication with white men, as the quarter of the colony they came from was but thinly peopled with whites. It might be that the prisoners had considered themselves justified in taking the cattle which the whites had brought to their land, and which had driven off their kangaroos and wallaby, but still the law applied to them as well as to the white. It was well known in the neighbourhood where the prisoners had been taken, that for a considerable time, the settlers there had been subjected to serious losses by their cattle being speared, but since the prisoners had been taken into custody, these depredations had not been r