Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/46

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14
[1788.
ACCOUNT OF THE ENGLISH COLONY

seal, require to assemble for that purpose.” This court has power to inquire of, hear, determine, and punish all treasons, misprisions of treason, murders, felonies, forgeries, perjuries, trespasses, and other crimes whatsoever, that may be committed in the colony; the punishment for such offences to be inflicted according to the laws of England as nearly as may be, considering and allowing for the circumstances and situation of the settlement and its inhabitants. The charge against any offender to be reduced into writing, and exhibited by the judge-advocate: witnesses to be examined upon oath, and the major part of the court to adjudge whether or not the prisoner be guilty. If guilty, and the offence be capital, they are to pronounce judgment of death, in like manner as if the prisoner had been convicted by the verdict of a jury in England, or of such corporal punishment as the major part of the court shall deem meet. And in cases not capital, they are to adjudge such corporal punishment as the majority of the court shall determine. But no offender is to suffer death, unless five members of the court shall concur in adjudging him to be guilty, or until the King’s pleasure be signified thereupon. The provost-marshal to cause the judgment of the court to be executed according to the Governor’s warrant under his hand and seal.

Beside this court for the trial of criminal offenders, there is a civil court, consisting of the judge-advocate and two inhabitants of the settlement, who are to be appointed by the Governor; which court has full power to hear and determine in a summary way all pleas of lands, houses, debts, contracts, and all personal pleas whatsoever. From this court, on either party, plaintiff or defendant, finding himself aggrieved by the judgment or decree, an appeal lies to the Governor, and from him, where the debt or thing in demand shall exceed the value of 300 l. to the King in council; but these appeals must be put in, if from the civil court, within eight days, and if from the Governor or superior court, within fourteen days after pronouncing the said judgments.

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