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  • Co. Londonderry Assizes August 1827

Co. Londonderry Assizes August 1827

County Londonderry Assizes, 25 August 1827 held in the City of Londonderry

Transcribed by Teena from the Belfast Commercial Chronicle

The Hon. Justice TORRENS presided in the crown court, the Hon. Justice MOORE in the record court.

Grand Jury sworn;

Right Hon. Sir George F. HILL, Bart., Foreman
Sir Robt. FERGUSON, Bart
Stewart Crawford BRUCE
Conolly GAGE
Conolly LECKY
Wm. H. ASH
Andrew KNOX
George V. HART, M.P.
John REA
Richard HUNTER
Henry Boyle HUNTER
Charles WARNER
Sir James H. BRUCE Bart., and Pitt SKIPTON Esq., sheriffs.

John MORAN for stealing a heifer from John MULLEN, of Glengourland in the county of Tyrone – Acquitted. The stolen beast was sold in the market of Nn.-Limavady to Wm. HASLETT, but unfortunately HASLETT was unable to identify prisoner as the person from whom he had purchased her.

Esther FERGUSON otherwise WILSON was indicted for the murder of Rebecca NEELY otherwise BLACK, by administering poison to her on the 9th May 1822 whereof she died on the 12th of same month. The Jury retired for a short time and returned with verdict of not guilty.

Catherine M’GUINNESS for stealing a watch from John BOYLE, which was proved to have been in her possession by KILDEA, one of the night constables of Derry – Guilty – to be transported 7 years. To mark his disapprobation of prosecutor’s conduct, his Lordship would not allow him the expense of the prosecution.

Michael M’CALLION and Wm. PATTON for stealing a cow on the night of the 30th April last, from John HENDERSON Esq. of Clooney, in the neighbourhood of Derry – both guilty and sentence of death recorded against them but in consideration of the Grand Jury having recommended them to mercy, his Lordship afterwards commuted their punishment to transportation for 7 years.

Sarah MADDEN for stealing a metal tea-pot from the shop of John MATTHEWS of Ferry quay street – Guilty – to be imprisoned 3 months.

Peter CONVERY, otherwise CONWAY, John BUTLER and Henry HASSEN for assaulting Charles M’CARTNEY and stabbing him with a sword with intent to kill and murder; second, to maim and disable him; third, to do him grievous bodily harm.

Charles M’CARTNEY – Was returning from the fair of Feeny, on the evening of the 1st May last, in company with H. IRVINE and his son; saw 3 men upon the road at a distance; when they advanced, the men lay down on the road side; at this time four men came down towards the road from another one, which is contiguous to it; identifies the prisoners as the 3 men whom he first saw; after he passed them, he was knocked down with a stone, which cut through his hat; (shows his hat) it was from the 3 men the stone came; it was day-light and there was a good deal of sun; on recovering from the effect of the blow, he raised his head and was stabbed above the cheek, near the left eye, with some weapon drawn from a stick; it was Peter CONWAY inflicted the wound; he was wounded on other parts of the head and was so inhumanly beaten that he was devoid of sight, hearing and understanding for 4 days; but for the interposition of a man named HENRY, he would, in all probability, have been killed; saw no weapon with either BUTLER or HASSEN.

Cross-examined – Lodged information in the month of June; went to Mr. OGILBY as soon as he was able, but having to be in Dublin on important business, he could not attend the Petty Sessions till after his return; it was about 5 o’clock in the evening, and about 2 miles from Feeny, the attack was made upon him; after his return from Dublin, 2 of the prisoners, CONWAY and HASSEN, waylaid him again on the 26th May, near the cross of Ballynascreen and he owed his escape then, to the circumstance of his having a pistol; on perceiving it, they made off; cannot say whether the prisoners remained in the country; knows Henry HAMILTON; he is a medical man he had some conversation with him on Saturday last; he said to witness he was sorry he had sworn against CONWAY, as his parish Priest had given him a good character; never said to any one that he knew none of the party that beat him.

Francis BURNEY – resides in Dungiven and is a medical practitioner. Was called to Charles M’CARTNEY’S house to attend him; found several wounds upon his head and one on his left temple, which appeared to have been given with a sharp instrument; he appeared to be insensible from the treatment he had received.

When cross-examined, witness admitted that it was possible the wound might have been caused by the blow of a stick with a ferule (?) on it.

An attempt was made to establish an alibi on behalf of the prisoners.

The jury after continuing in deliberation for 7 hours, returned their verdict, acquitting the prisoners on the principal count and finding them guilty on the minor ones. Sentence of death was recorded against them, but his Lordship informed them that he would take care to have the punishment commuted to transportation for life, in reference to CONWAY and transportation for 7 years in regard to each of the other 2 prisoners.

Michael M’WILLIAMS for stealing 2 sheep the property of John DEVLIN on the 2nd Aug. Guilty – to be transported 7 years.

John DOUGHERTY – acquitted of stealing 1s. 1 1⁄2 d. from Patrick COLE.

Archibd. BRADLEY and John BRADLEY for the murder of William CUDDEN on Mon. 14th May last, at Aughrim by giving him a mortal blow on the right side of his head, of which he died.

Wm. CUDDEN examined by Mr JOHNSTON K.C. – Is father to the late Wm. CUDDEN; he died on the 20th May; knows the prisoners at the bar, identifies them; saw them both at the place where the unfortunate affair took place; witness had bought a piece of land, which he afterwards sold to Joseph BOYD; his wife and son did not approve of his disposing it and they went and took possession of the place; witness went to the place with BOYD and the prisoners, to give him possession; admission was refused them; his wife said they should not get in; he pushed open the door and caught his wife; his son, the deceased, threw a stone, and hit the father of the prisoners on the head; it cut him, but did not knock him down; deceased then ran away, perhaps from being afraid of witness; Archd. BRADLEY hit his son with a grape-shaft; J. BRADLEY did nothing but seize his wife in the house and tear off her cap. (The Judge here intimated the counsel for the Crown, that the capital part of the indictment could not be sustained and that the case only amounted to manslaughter. In this they acquiesced.) Saw his son get 2 blows; saved him from a 3rd one; the blood was gushing out of his right ear; he lived till Sunday morning, the (blank) May; he was 20 years of age; Joseph BOYD is married to the prisoner’s sister.

Cross-examined by Mr SHEIL – Believes if his wife and his son had not been there, there would have been no quarrel; the young men at the bar went with part of BOYD’S furniture; heard them say they would not interfere between witness and his wife; witness bid his wife come out; she said she would not; she threw stones out of the window at the party to prevent them approaching; she had not a bayonet, but had a piece of iron (an old hinge he believes) that would cut if proper force were applied to it; desired his son to go away and make no disturbance; he kneeled and cursed Jos. BOYD for taking the place from his mother and him; he threw more than one stone; the prisoners did not strike him till they saw their father cut on the temple.

John DUNCAN – Was present at the affray; saw CUDDEN clodding something out of the garden at BOYD’S party and his father chase him away; saw deceased’s father and BOYD force open the door and drag out CUDDEN’S wife; saw old BRADLEY have hold of the woman at the door; she was screaming and shouting; saw the deceased come up and strike him on the head with a stone; the prisoners were there and up to that period were perfectly quiet; Archd. BRADLEY, seeing his father hit, got this unfortunate weapon (pointing to a huge grape shaft that lay upon the counsel table) and struck the deceased twice; John BRADLEY also struck him with his hand on the temple and on the breast, where he lay on the ground; he was very like death when he received these 2 blows.

Cross-examined by Mr MAJOR – The old man staggered from the effect of the blow.

The Jury, without quitting the box, found both the prisoners guilty of manslaughter – Archd. to be imprisoned 9 months and John 3 months and to find security to keep the peace.

Robert HAMILTON for assaulting the Mayor of Derry and also for an assault on Dominick M’MENEMY, a peace officer, while in the execution of his duty the 12th July last – He submitted on both these indictments and after lecturing him on the very aggravated nature of the offense, of which he had been guilty, sentenced him (in consideration of the Mayor having warmly interfered for him, as well as on account of the contrition discovered by him,) to only 1 fortnights imprisonment from the first day of the assizes.

Charles DUNN, a Chelsea pensioner for marrying Mary LLOYD, his former wife being then alive. No prosecution. Bound in the sum of £50 to appear at the next assizes and take his trial.

Hugh DEVLIN for stealing a quantity of plate and jewellery, the goods of David GAUSSEN Esq.

David GAUSSEN – Lives at Ballyronan, knows the prisoner, his sister lived in witness’s house as children’s maid and prisoner was in the habit of coming to see her and of staying, one, 2, 3, or 4 days at a time, was at witness’ house in the end of February or beginning of March, 1 or 2 days: after he went away, a number gold and silver coins of different descriptions and 2 or 3 purses were missed; was again in his house in the beginning of July from Saturday to Wednesday; after he left it, a number of trinkets and 2 gold chains were missed; they were not missed till the Friday; witness obtained a search warrant and accompanied by Mr. COURTNEY, proceeded to prisoner’s father’s house, in Portglenone; prisoner was in bed; Mr. COURTNEY opened a small drawer and found in it a case of razors (they are produced) which witness swears to be his property; also a gold necklace of Mrs. GAUSSEN’S; prisoner got out of bed, fled out of the house in his shirt and ran up a field of potatoes; was pursued by a police man, apprehended and brought back; prisoner then returned most of the jewellery which had been missed and with it were tied up in a handkerchief, 52 silver spoons which had not been missed, not having been in use. He had an opportunity of going up stairs, witness and family having been at the funeral of a relative; got also back a 2nd case of razors, 2 or 3 rings, some lockets, broaches &c.

The prisoner was found guilty, and the Judge, in passing sentence, said “You have received good character from very respectable people in your neighbourhood, but your guilt is too clear to admit of that operating in your favour. You must be transported for 7 years.”

Samuel CRUDDEN, for stealing a bay horse, value £10, the goods of John M’GUCKIN – Not Guilty.

Henry FARRELL for maliciously burning a wheel car and a plough, the property of Andrew M’INTYRE. The prisoner had no one concerned for him and Mr MACKLIN, with his characteristic humanity, made a point of law on his behalf, which was successful and totally changed the nature of the prosecution. He was put upon trial and convicted – To be imprisoned 18 months and kept to hard labour and before being discharged, to give security to keep the peace for 7 years, himself in 50£ and 2 sureties in 25£ each.

James GALT for pasting 2 forged notes at the fair of Feeny, the 1st August, purporting to be of the Belfast Bank for 25s. each, No. 34762 – Guilty, to be transported for 7 years.

Peter M’IRLANE for violating the person Bridget DOHERTY at Ballysoullion – No prosecution.

Patrick DONAGHY was put to the bar, charged with the commission of crime “not to be named amongst Christians” and such a squalid miserable object we never beheld. There was everything in his appearance indicative of imbecility of mind, not to mention his seemingly total unconsciousness of the awfulness of his situation and his entire abstraction from the solemnities of the Court of Justice. Without once raising his head to survey the novel scene by which he was surrounded, he, with all the restlessness of a tiger in a cage, paced the dock to and fro, occasionally cramming his mouth with the contents of small loaf – in fact, his walk and gesticulations argued the lowest grade of idiotism. He was arraigned, but was silent to the clerk of the crown’s interrogatory of guilty or not guilty, though, by the direction of his Lordship it was thrice put to him.

Judge TORRENS therefore, had a jury empaneled to try whether the prisoner “was mute of malice, or of the act of God.” Several of the officers of the jail were examined and they agreed in bearing testimony that his appearance had not been otherwise than it then was, during the period he had been under their observation. He never would allow himself to be washed, shaved, never slept in his bed, but invariably on the floor, took scarcely any notice of his mother when she was admitted to see him, but hurried away from her and never could be got to say more than “aye, aye,” to any question put him.

A juror signified to his Lordship that he understood one of the police constables who conveyed him to jail, had reason to know that he was not such a fool as he seemed to be and that this constable was in court. His Lordship said that the question was not what his state of mind had been, but what it was at present and that if it were certain he was rational when the aligned crime was committed, if he were not now able to plead, he could not put him on his trial, inasmuch as the prisoner would be incapable of making the necessary dispositions for his defense.

This satisfied the Jury and they forthwith found that he was mute of the act of God.

John, otherwise James READ, otherwise BENNETT and Richd. FARRELL were presented by the Grand jury as vagrants and sentenced to 7 years transportation, unless within 6 months they found security for their good behaviour.

James and Hugh DUNSHEATH for assaulting and robbing the police of arms at Drumard, near Moneymore – Guilty to be confined for 6 months and to give security.

Henry GORDON and Jane MOORE for robbing the house of Bell STRAWBRIDGE, of Colerain on the night of Monday 2nd July last, and abstracting thence, 62 yards printed calico, value £1, 55.; 6 yards lace, value 6s.; 3 yards white calico, value 9d and 10 handkerchiefs, value 8s 4d. – Guilty – to be transported 7 years.

Sarah BRENAN, a cyprian, for robbing Makin CURRIE of the island of Isla, of bankers notes, to the value of £20, on the walls of this City, on the 7th May last – Guilty – to be transported 7 years.

Honest Makin will not soon forget our celebrated ramparts, for he never received back a penny of his property.

John MARSHALL of Ringrash, in the parish of Dunboe for stealing 4 firkins of butter from John WATSON of Freehall, in said parish, the 3rd May – Acquitted.

Charles TONER for assaulting Jas. CARGILL in the suburbs of Derry – Not Guilty.

John MURRAY for robbing the house of Robert M’CALLION of 5£ 4s – Guilty – to be transported 7 years.

Charles DEVLIN of Granny for having in his possession a die or instrument for the purpose of striking or making counterfeit guineas – Not Guilty.

John LARGY of Anaghone, for stealing a horse from Henry STEWART of Ballinahaw on the11 July last – Not guilty.

Miles MORRIS for a rape on Mary YARRAGH – no prosecution.