first COURT SESSIONS Wellington - 1841
taken from NZETC, written about 1927
The first Court for the district of Port Nicholson was held at the Court House, Wellington, on the 5th October, 1841.
The Chairman (E. HALSWELL, Esq.) came into Court precisely at 10 o'clock, accompanied by the following Justices:
* G. F. Dawson, Esq.;
* M. Murphy, Esq.;
* Geo. Hunter, Esq.;
* W. White, Esq.;
* G. B. Earp, Esq.;
* Capt. Mein Smith;
* R. D. Hanson, Esq.;
* Crown Prosecutor;
* R. Rr. Strang, Esq., Clerk of the Peace.
The chairman offered up a prayer for Her Majesty, for His Excellency the Governor, and for all in authority under them. The Clerk of the Peace produced the Government Gazette and read the Proclamation of the Governor, authorising the holding of the Courts of Quarter Sessions, under the ordinance of the 4th and 5th of Her Majesty No. 4, and also the appointment of the Chairman for the Court at Wellington, from the same official document.
The Court was opened by the Crier with the usual forms, and the Proclamation against vice and immorality was read by the Clerk of the Peace.
The charge to the Jury was read. . A man was charged with stealing a gun, value £1 10s. Constable TELORD, and Mr. MANTELL, acting Clerk to the Magistrate, gave evidence. Messrs. STURGEON, NORTHWOOD and PARK testified as to the good character of the accused, who was proved guilty and sentenced to three calendar months hard labour.
A native was also charged on Wednesday, October 6th, 1841, with stealing a blanket, the property of A. HORNBROOK. Dr. EVANS was named by the Court as Counsel for the prisoner, and John KNOX was sworn in as interpreter. . Dr Evans stated that, as an alien, the accused was entitled to a jury, composed partly of his own countrymen. The Crown Prosecutor objected. The jury empannelled were decided upon, and after evidence submitted by Messrs. HORNBROOK, J. McBETH and E. T. WELCH, the accused was sentenced to seven days' hard labour.*
The Courts of Quarter Sessions were superseded by monthly Country Courts, with a similar jurisdiction. Mr. HALSWELL was appointed Judge for the Southern District. The Northern District, presided over by Mr. WHITAKER, was defined as north of the parallel of latitude of 30° 30′, and was to have sittings at Auckland and at Kororareka, while the southern district, defined as that part of New Zealand south of the same parallel, was to have sittings in Wellington only.
On the 4th of October, 1842, the first sitting of the Supreme Court at Wellington was presided over by Judge MARTIN.
Mr. BREWER renewed an application for a bench warrant to arrest Rangihaeta for violently and illegally taking possession of and demolishing certain buildings in the Porirua district