Extracts from Bench Book
Port Stephens NSW

State Records NSW: Courts of Petty Sessions; CGS 3338, Bench book Port Stephens May - December 1832 (4/7571 Reel 2737)


Police Office - Port Stephens
24th July 1832
Before Capt. RG Moffatt

John Linskey per Mangles (4) 7 years an assigned servant of the AA Company, charged by Mr I Field, Chief Constable, with having committed a Robbery in the Farm House of Lieut. Caswell situated between Port Stephens and William's Rivers, sometime about the 24th of June last.

Mr I Field Chief Constable, being duly sworn, states:- On information being received at this office about the 12th inst. that the Prisoner John Linskey who had been illegally at large for some time and was suspected of having committed various Robberies about William's River was confined in the Watch-house at Stroud. I immediately proceeded to Stroud for the purpose of trying to discover some of the Property which I had the description of; when I arrived at Stroud, I searched the Prisoner, but found nothing on him, and left the Watch-house; shortly after the Prisoner sent for me, and told me that he had committed several Robberies during the time he was in the Bush; he stated that he had Robbed the Farm House of Mr Caswell of various things; I questioned him where the things were, he said, he disposed of them to several Persons; I proceeded on his information to the different Persons, and searched for the things; I found none of them; Charles Hancock, Constable who went out to search for some of the things, returned with a Duck Frock that he found on the Person of Thomas Fitzpatrick an assigned servant of the AA Company. The Frock was given up to me, and on my showing it to the Prisoner, he acknowledged to me that it was one of the articles stolen by him from Mr Caswell's Farm House; he stated that he had cut the Pocket out of the Duck Frock, at the same time showing me where it was; the Frock I took from the Prisoner's Person, he stated to be one he got from Fitzpatrick in exchange for the one just found; I produce the Frock now in Court, and a pair of trousers found on the Prisoner by me.

Thomas Fitzpatrick an assigned servant of the AA Company being duly sworn states:- On last Wednesday week the 11th inst. the Prisoner John Linskey came to me at the out station called Bargg's[?] Station about sixteen miles from Stroud; he asked me if I knew him, I told him I did; he asked me to swap Frocks with him as mine was clean and his was dirty; I did so, he then told me he was going to Stroud for his Certificate of Freedom, and that he would send back the Frock and that I should return his; I knew he had been in the Bush for some time illegally at large. The Frock found by the Constable was the one I got from the Prisoner.

Joseph Challise an assigned servant of Lieut. Caswell, being duly sworn, states:- Sometime about the 24th of last month on returning to the hut from our work about three o'clock we found the Prisoner sitting near the Hut; he stated he was a free man and that he had a Note from Mr Moffatt, and that we might not be afraid to let him in, on which we let him in; he slept in the Hut all that night, and the next night; the morning after the second night he left the Place before the sun had got up, and said he was going to his Brother; all of us went to our work as usual; the Door was shut with a latch, and a String which was used for securing[?] it was concealed; the Door could not be opened by any Person unaccustomed to the Place except by force; we returned Home to the Hut about half past two o'clock to get our Dinner; on searching for our Bread which was made in the morning it could not be found; this caused suspicion and on making a search found that one of the Slats of the back part of the House which was fastened with a Spike Nail had been forced one side and the Nail broken, and an opening made to admit of any Person going in or out; I then went to search for my clothes and found that they were all taken away; the clothes consisted of which were taken from me, one new Pair of Blue Trousers - value ten shillings - one New Blue Jacket, value sixteen shillings - one Duck Frock new with a Pocket which I sewed in myself, value five shillings - one new checked Shirt, value about five shillings, two Bags, value two shillings, total value of my things stolen one pound eighteen shillings. All my clothes except what I had on my back were taken as also all the things of the three Men that were in the Hut with me; Butler one of the men living in the Hut with me lost two shirts, on Pair of Trousers, one new white Frock, and three shillings in money; John Brown another man had taken from him, one Pair of Trousers, and one old shirt. James Foster Mr Caswell's Ticket of Leave man, in charge of the Hut, had one Pair of Trousers taken from him; there was nothing left in the Hut of the mens clothes that could be seen; all our Tea and Sugar, and a Cake was taken, and two Towels which had the Tea & Sugar tied up in them; I swear that the Duck Frock now produced in Court, is the one which was stolen from me; the Pocket has been cut out, and shoulder straps put on since it was stolen; the Trousers produced I positively swear to be the Pair stolen from the Hut, belonging to Butler; I know them from the way that Butler has worn them; he wears his Trousers in general that way; and also I know them from a Hole which is in the front of the left thigh, and which he roughly darned up; Butler and myself milk together for three or four hours every day; which enables me to swear so positive as to his Trousers.

John Birmingham Constable, being duly sworn states:- About the 14th of this month I saw Charles Hancock, Constable, deliver this Frock to Mr Field the Chief Constable in the presence of the Prisoner stating that he had got it agreeable to the information given by the Prisoner, in the possession of Thomas Fitzpatrick; the Prisoner then examined it, and told Mr Field in my presence that it was one of the Frocks which he had taken from Mr Caswell's Farm House, and pointed at the same time to where he cut out the Pocket, and that it was the one he gave Fitzpatrick; I also saw Mr. Field take from the Person of the Prisoner, a Pair of Duck Trousers, the Trousers now produced in Court are the Pair.

The Prisoner has nothing to state in his defence - nor has he any Evidence to bring forward on his Trial at Sydney.

The Court direct Mr Field to take charge of the two Duck Frocks, and the Pair of Duck Trousers

Committed to Sydney for Trial


Police Office - Port Stephens
10th Dec 1832
Before Capt RG Moffatt JP

James McGarvey - America - Life, an assigned servant of Lieut Caswell, charged by his Master, with destroying a whip, Disobedience of orders, and Insolence, on Saturday and Sunday last the 8th & 9th inst.

Lieut Caswell being duly sworn states:- Yesterday morning I was finding fault with the Prisoner for cutting a whip which the Overseer reported to me the day before, that he had done; I told him that if it occurred again, I would take him before Capt Moffatt and have him punished; he turned round to me and said, I insist on going myself tomorrow, for I have charges to make against my overseer; I told him I did not know whether I would take him tomorrow; he then said that he would not do another turn of work until I did take him.

John Brown per Florentia, an assigned servant of Lieut Caswell and Overseer, being duly sworn states:- On Saturday last the 8th inst being about to come to Mr Caswell's from one of his lower Farms with the Bullocks, I asked the Prisoner to let me have the whip which he used; he said he would and when I was about to start, he said he would not; I then went and got my own whip; McNeal and the other servants of Mr Caswell who were coming up with me took the Prisoner's whip on which he flew at them, took the whip and cut it in pieces; the whip I consider to be the property of Mr Caswell; immediately after cutting the whip, he took his clothes, and started off; I was obliged to run after him two miles and fetch him back, and make him do his own work. The Prisoner also cut a second whip; I ordered the Prisoner before he started off to go in with the Cattle, which he did not do until I brought him back.

Archibald McNeal - per Sophia - an assigned servant of Lieut Caswell, being duly sworn, states:- On Saturday morning last, 8th inst, I heard Brown ask the Prisoner for the Loan of his Whip; he said he might have it, and afterwards refused, on which I took hold of the Whip; the Prisoner then laid hold of it also, and cut it in two, and left part of it in my hand; I had also a short Whip in my Hand which he attempted to cut, but did not cut it through. I heard the Overseer order the Prisoner to go on with the Cattle which he refused to do, and he then took his Clothes off the Dray and left us; the Overseer was obliged to follow him, and bring him back; I think it the best of my opinion that we lost about an hour by the Prisoner going away; I heard him yesterday insist when speaking to Mr Caswell upon having the Boat to come over to Capt Moffatt, that he would not work until he was taken over; when we got about six miles from Mr Caswell on Saturday last with the Cattle the Prisoner left me; I did not see him until I got home; I had no one to assist me in getting the cattle Home.

James McGarvey, states in his defence:- That I acknowledge having cut the Whip, it being my own property; The second Whip was cut, in attempting to cut the first. The Overseer ordered me to take my things off the Dray, which was the occasion of my going away. I was afraid of stopping with them; I went to sleep near the Man[?] when McNeal who was feeding the calves took advantage of me and went away without me.

The Court find the Prisoner Guilty. Sentence: To receive three dozen Lashes.

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