John Hamilton

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
8 July 1844

SATURDAY, JULY 6. Before his Honor Mr. Justice STEPHEN.


JOHN HAMILTON, THOMAS BELL, and DENNIS HANNAN, having been called upon, their recognizances appeared on the floor of the Court.

The Attorney General then rose to address the Court, for the purpose of moving that the recognizances might be further enlarged, and the hearing of the case postponed until further instructions had been received from the head of the Commissariat Department in England; viz. the Commissioners for auditing the public accounts, and in support of his motion read the affidavit of Mr. D. C. G. MILLER, that a full statement of the offence, with which the above parties stood charged, had been sent to England for such purpose, and an answer was fully expected in due course of post.

Mr. WINDEYER, who appeared for all the prisoners, opposed the application, on the grounds of the gross injustice that would arise, from the continued detention of these parties in custody—for being held to hail was equivalent to imprisonment; their bail might die or leave the Colony. In either case it would be very hard that fresh bail should be required, especially when the nature the nature of the punishment was so indefinite—it might not, being only a misdemeanor, exceed three months; besides, from the continued delay, and the time that must elapse before the answer could be obtained from England, their witnesses might become dispersed all over the world, and the injustice that must occur, when it was found, after so long a period, that they were compelled to go to trial; the evidence in their favour might all be lost to them, there being no law that could compel their witnesses either to remain in the Colony, or even to intimate where they had de-departed for. Under these circumstance, if the parties were compelled to enter into fresh recognizances, their own personal security ought to be all that should be be required of them; this would in every respect fulfil the ends of justice.

The Attorney General replied.

Mr. WINDEYER begged to refer to His Honor to the Habeas Corpus Act, and treated these parties as if they were in actual custody, and where, after two sessions had elapsed, the Court would be bound to discharge them, under all the rules of English law.

His Honor intimated his intention to postpone judgment till Saturday next, and the recognizances of the parties, and their bail, to be continued till that day, when the prisoners will again appear before the Court.


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