William Warby Receiving Calves, Knowing them to be Stolen

25 February 1836 The Colonist (Sydney)

Mr. William Warby, a native of the colony, and large proprietor of stock on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, was placed at the bar of the Supreme Court on Monday last, charged before Judge Dowling and a Civil Jury, with receiving, knowing them to be stolen, seventeen calves, the property of Henry or Cornelius O'Brien, Esqs.

The offence for which Warby was tried, occurred in December, 1830.

The principal evidences for the prosecution were two approvers who were concerned in the transaction, and who had given information against the prisoner to save themselves from being placed in jeopardy.

The circumstances of the case, which occupied the court during the whole day were shortly these.

Mr. O'Brien had at that period a stockman in his employ named Beaver, who it appeared had been carrying on on a regular system of cattle-stealing in connection with others.

At the time laid in the indictment, Beaver came to the approver Glover and requested him to assist him in drafting Mr. O'Brien's cattle.

Glover consented and assisted him without remuneration, acting on the principle that "one good turn deserves another."

Altogether they drafted seven-teen calves from Mr. O'Brien's herd, and drove them to Warby's stockyard, who branded them with his own brand; these cattle Glover had often seen since, and two were sworn to by him as the property of Mr. O'Brien, which had been found in Warby's herd bearing his brand at the time of his apprehension.

The evidence of this witness was corroborated in all the important particulars by the other approver; an assigned servant to Warby swore to the fact of these men bringing a number of calves to his master's stock yard about the time mentioned in the indictment.

The defence set up was, that the calves sworn to at the Police Office at Yass, were the produce of cows which Warby had purchased from a person who had been in his service, and who had received them from Mr. O'Brien in payment of an account.

It was alleged that the approvers being, dishonest men, who admitted that they were cattle-stealers, ought not to be believed.

The prisoner has for a long time back borne a very good character, to which the prosecutor, Mr. O'Brien bore ample testimony, so high was the opinion he had entertained of the prisoner's character for honesty, that he would not for a long time put any trust in the charges made against him, until he was convinced by seeing an animal which he knew to belong to himself in the prisoner's herd, bearing the prisoner's brand.

The learned Judge summed up, and the Jury retired for a few minutes, on their re-turn they found the prisoner guilty.

Sentence of transportation to Van Dieman's Land for 14 years was then passed.

The prisoner at the time of his committal possessed a herd of 2000 cattle, which will most probably be confiscated to the Crown.

We understand that there are no less than six charges of cattle-stealing brought against the prisoner, on one of which he will be again tried at the next sittings of the Criminal Court.

It appeared, also, that when Warby understood that his mal-practices had been discovered, he made over the whole of his property to his brother, an arrangement to that effect was drawn up by Mr. Francis Stephen, and signed by both parties.

The agreement contained a proviso, that all cattle which might be claimed as stolen, should not be included in said agreement.

B. Warby, brother of the prisoner, has since been committed on a charge of attempting to dispose of some stolen cattle, which he had taken from his brother's herd.