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Trial of Hatherly and Jackie

Newcastle 1823

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Hatherly and Jackie, two aboriginal natives, were indicted for the wilful murder on the 10th October last, at Newcastle of John McDonald.

It appeared that the deceased John McDonald had been left in charge of Government tobacco plantation at Nelson’s Plains about 22 miles from the settlement of Newcastle. He was missed for the space of a fortnight, and the hut which he had occupied was plundered of its little contents. With the aid of another aboriginal native called Ge…. Who is attached to the interests of Europeans, the body of the deceased was found lying in a lagoon in a horribly mangled condition. It exhibited such evidence of native atrocity, as were frequent in former times.

Suspicion fell upon these two natives, the prisoners; they were left with the deceased in the hut, when seen; and they had become latterly invisible at their usual haunts.

A plan being laid, they were entrapped, and acknowledged that they had perpetrated the deed, but each charging the other with the most atrocious part. Before the Commandant they confessed the crime; and even in Court, while Members had retired to consider of their disposal they acknowledge the foul transaction.

The Court, however, under all the peculiar circumstances of the case as there existed no other proof against the prisoners than their own declaration, which could not legally in this instance, be construed into a confession, returned a Verdict of Not Guilty. - The Sydney Gazette 2 January 1823

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