Highway Robber Appin Court Proceedings

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser

September 1828

John Walsh was indicted for highway robber on the person of George Barber, at Appin, on the 21st of June last.

The Attorney-General conducted the prosecution, George Barber stated, that he is a settler in the county of Argyle; on Saturday the 21st of June last, between three and four o'clock, as he was travelling in a chaise on the road to his own farm, and about a mile and a half from Stone Quarry Creek, witness heard the report of a musket, and had hardly time to turn his head round when he found that he was wounded with slugs in the back; witness fell back wards, and when he recovered found the prisoner within a yard of him, with a gun in his hand; the prisoner then stepped three or four paces back, and then demanded witness's money; witness told him he had none, and jumped out of the chaise, and was making towards him, when he drew a pistol from his pocket and presented it at witness's breast; witness begged of him for God's sake to spare his life for the sake of his family, as he had seven small children; the prisoner then asked witness who he was, and what he was; witness told him his name, when the prisoner exclaimed - either "Good God!" or "my God!" and then jumped into the chaise, out of which he took witness great coat, some shirts, and other articles of property, which he made up in a parcel, and as he ran off said to witness, "drive off, sir, for I'm sure I shall he hanged for you."

The articles before the Court are of a similar description as those taken from witness; a week after the robbery, the prisoner was brought to witness as he lay in bed, at a house about a mile and half from where he was robbed from the effects of this wound in the hack, by two constables, and identified by him immediately.

Mrs. Isabella Barber stated, that about the end of June last, she was sent for to the house of a person named Robert(?), where she found her husband in bed, labouring under the effects of gunshot wounds; there was an examination held there before Major Antill, when some articles were produced by the constable, which witness identified as the property of her husband.

Farley, chief constable, at Camden, stated, that on the 27th of June, by older of Major Antill, he proceeded with other constables, in quest of some bushrangers that were in the direction of Appin; Mr. Hamilton Hume, and two black natives, who accompanied witness and his party; on the 28th the party came, to a place near the Cowpasture river where there was a deep gully and a thick brush, and after being conducted along several tracks by the natives, witness and another constable discovered a small hut in the bush, in the door of which, on his knees, in the act of salting beef, the prisoner was found; the prisoner upon seeing the constable looked surprised, and witness immediately presented a gun at him, saying, he would shoot him if he offered to stir; he was then secured; there was a loaded gun standing by the hut dour; the articles afterwards identified by Mr. Barber were found in the hut; the prisoner, when he was apprehended, said that it was a good thing for witness that he had not his gun inside, or he would have shot him; there were some cooking utensils in the hut, and also a cask containing nearly 3 cwt. of salted beef; Barber identified the prisoner on his being shown to him.

John Blake, a constable, corroborated the testimony given by the last witness. The Jury found the prisoner Guilty.

Highway Robbery

The Sydney Monitor.

5 September 1828

Tuesday. Thomas Walsh was capitally indicted for a highway robbery, on the 21st of June last, on the person of Mr. George Barber.

It was deposed in evidence by Mr. Barber, who is a settler in the county of Argyle, that between three and four o'clock in the afternoon of the day laid in the indictment, as he was travelling homewards in a chaise, and was distant from the Stone Quarry Creek about a mile and a half, he heard the report and received the contents of a musket, loaded with slugs, in the back, which caused him to fall backwards, and become, for some moments, insensible. On recovering, his senses Mr. Barber discovered a man close to him, having in his hands a gun - this man was the prisoner at the bar. He stepped back several paces, and demanded Mr. Barber's money - the latter said he had no money, and sprung out of his chaise, upon which, the prisoner clapped a pistol to the breast of Mr. Barber, who begged of him for the Almighty's sake to spare his life, adding, that he was the father of seven small children. Mr. Barber, by desire of the prisoner, then told who, and what he was, upon ascertaining which, the prisoner used the exclamation---good God---or my God---and springing into the chaise', snatched up a great coat, some shirts, and a few other articles, and jumping to the ground, ran away; first, warning Mr. Barber to drive off, for he, the prisoner, felt certain the deed he had effected, would bring him to the gallows.

Bleeding and exhausted the unfortunate settler managed to reach the hut of a man named Rosset, about a mile-and-a-half away, and there was put to bed, and received surgical assistance. Six days after this occurrence, - Farley, the Chief Constable at Camden, accompanied by an active and courageous settler, Mr. Hamilton Hume, several petty constables, and two black natives, happening to be in pursuit of bushrangers, who it was suspected, were in the neighbourhood of Appin, accidentally fell in with a hut, situated in a deep gully, not far from the Cowpasture river. In the doorway of the hut was the prisoner upon his knees, salting meat - the constable presented his piece, threatening to shoot the prisoner if he offered to move - the prisoner attempted no resistance, and was secured, and carried to the hut where Mr. Barber was at the time laying in a dangerous condition from the effects of his wounds. On beholding the prisoner, Mr. B. at once identified his person, declaring him to be the same man who had fired at him, and plundered his chaise. In the hut occupied by prisoner there was discovered a cask containing 3cwt. of salted beef.

Evidence being adduced to the foregoing effect, the Jury returned a verdict of guilty against the prisoner.

Criminal Court.-

The Sydney Monitor

6 September 1828

Monday.- John Walsh was capitally indicted for shooting at and wounding Mr. George Barber, and robbing him. The prosecutor deposed that on the day laid in the indictment, as he was passing the Stone Quarry Creek in a direction towards his own house in Argyleshire, he heard the report of a discharge of fire arms, and in an instant of time found himself wounded in the back. Witness fell back, and on recovering presently afterwards, found the prisoner standing over him.

It was then day-light and witness had an opportunity of observing somewhat of the mans features. Prisoner had either a musket or a gun in his left hand. Prisoner then re treated a few spaces back from the place witness first saw him in, and then demanded his money.

Witness told prisoner, he had none, and thereupon jumped out of his chaise, was making towards him, when he drew a pistol from his right hand waiscoat pocket, and presented the same at witness's breast, who addressing prisoner, said " For Gods' sake spare my life, for the sake, of my family.".. Prisoner then asked" who and what he was? Witness told him his name, on hearing which, he ejaculated Good God, or my God! which expression he was not certain.

Prisoner then jumped, into his chaise, and robbed it of a great coat, some linen and several other articles of property belonging to him, which he was conveying in the boot of the chaise from Sydney for the use of his farm.

Among the property was a dozen of knives and forks, a green table cloth cover, medicines to the value of 10s., a pea coloured cloth jacket, a razor and shaving box, besides 12 shirts, a great coat, and a silver watch. The value of the property stolen was above five pounds.

By a Juror. I was sufficiently sensible to speak to his identity after receiving the wounds. (Examination in Chief resumed) The prisoner tied up the property in a bundle, after doing which, addressing me, (witness) he said, "now drive away Sir, I'm sure I shall be hanged for you."

He then left me. I should know some of the property stolen if I saw any article again. (The property was then shown witness.) The handkerchief now produced I swear to have lost during the encounter with the prisoner, but cannot swear the prisoner took it forcibly from me. I have no doubt a rug now produced is one which I lost among the other articles of property on the occasion of this robbery taking place. Speaking of the handkerchief I know that it was in my hat on being surprised by the prisoner, but I believe my hat fell off and the handkerchief dropped on the ground. However, I lost it at that time.

I further believe the shirts also produced to be the shirts I lost at the time of the robbery, but for want of identifying marks, cannot positively swear them to be the same. I am certain as to the prisoner's person, though to the best of my Knowledge, I never saw him before the time of the robbery. By the prisoner.

Did you ever see me at Mr. Woodhouse's house at Appin ? Witness. To the best of my knowledge I never did. Question - You never saw me on Mr. Woodhouse's premises engaged in branding cattle? Witness, I never did.

By the Court. Prisoner was employed eight or ten minutes in pillaging my chaise. I was considerably agitated and frightened while the prisoner was with me, from his being .possessed of fire-arms, but not so much so, as to be unable to speak with, accuracy to his identity.

I never recollect meeting with a man at Mr. Woodhouse's whose description at all corresponded with the prisoner. On reporting this affair to the Police, I related the several circumstances which I have deposed to now, and also gave the prisoner's description. About a week after the robbery took place, prisoner was brought in custody of some Con- stables to a house where I was confined in bed from the effects of my wound. Prisoner was then differently dressed to what he was when he robbed me.

Yet I recognised him the instant he was presented to my view. There were at least half a dozen by-standers who heard me declare the prisoner to be the man. At the same instant the Constables produced the prisoner, they exhibited some articles of property, which they stated had been found on him. (In the course of this evidence the Judge asked the witness if he felt any inconvenience from the wound by standing, and being answered in the affimative, the' witness was allowed to take a seat.)

Farley, Chief Constable of Cambelltown, deposed that on the 27th of June, in, consequences of certain instructions he had received, he went with a number of Constables to go in quest of a party of bushrangers which were in the neighbourhood of Appin.

Mr. Hamilton Hume, three constables, myself, and two black natives made up the party. On the 28th, we came to a deep gulley near the Cowpasture. river, where the blacks discerned the foot tracks of several Europeans, one track pointed out to me by the black people as being a path which a "white man" had lately taken. Witness with his guide took that route, and shortly came upon a recently- built hut in a secluded situation, it being in a thick brush; and approaching cautiously towards the place, he found the prisoner on his knees employed in salting fresh beef.

Prisoner, upon seeing witness, looked up, and he witness then levelled his musket, threatening to fire if he stirred. Prisoner afterwards at witness's desire got on his feet, and he handcuffed him. At the hut door there was a loaded gun lying, the musket contained a long piece of lead, which seemingly had been beaten out. The gun produced is the same witness found in the hut. Patrick Blake corroborated the last witness. This was the case for the prosecution. Prisoner in his defence denied the charge in to, saying the prosecutor was mistaken in his person.

Mr. Justice Stephen summed up the evidence who without hesitation found the prisoner Guilty.