Prisoner Richard COPPING and Hobart Gaol executions

Police photographer Thomas J. Nevin took this vignette of Richard Copping for prison records at the Hobart Gaol when Copping was remanded at the Supreme Court on 23rd July 1878. Copping was executed at the Hobart Gaol on 21st October 1878 for the murder of Susannah Stacey. Copping’s medical defence, Dr Benjafield, who sought clemency for the 19 yr old youth and was mindful of public discontent with the continuance of capital punishment, asserted Copping had softening of the brain. Dr Turnley disagreed, declared the youth sane, and the execution went ahead. Turnley’s post-mortem found no disease located in Copping’s brain. … More Prisoner Richard COPPING and Hobart Gaol executions

Carnal knowledge of children: convictions 1860s-1880s

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin was exposed to the most pitiful of criminals if not to their actual crimes when he captured their portraits for police records in Tasmania from the 1870s to the 1880s. Sexual crimes against children were prosecuted without much consistency as to the punishment or length of sentence, despite clear legislation guidelines…. … More Carnal knowledge of children: convictions 1860s-1880s

19th century prison photography: Tasmania 1872

When Thomas Nevin sat down to read the Mercury on the morning of 24th October 1872 and turned to an article reprinted from the London papers on “the valuable working of the Prevention of Crimes Act, or as it is better known, the Habitual Criminals Act” of 1871, he was more than aware of the use of photography by police. He had already taken photographs of prisoners at the Hobart Gaol at the behest of his solicitor and mentor since 1868, Attorney-General William Robert GIBLIN. … More 19th century prison photography: Tasmania 1872

Two histories, one execution: Job SMITH & Emanuel BLORE

Job Smith aka Wm Campbell was photographed by Thomas Nevin either when Smith was one of sixty prisoners who had transferred back to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur before July 1873 (see W.R. Giblin’s and the Inspector of Police report of convicts tabled in the Parliament on July 17th, 1873), or just before Smith as William Campbell was returned to Port Arthur on May 8th, 1874 to complete his 8 year sentence, accompanied by Thomas Nevin in his role as police agent and photographer. Both were listed as passengers on the schooner Harriet’s way bill. … More Two histories, one execution: Job SMITH & Emanuel BLORE

The execution of prisoners Sutherland and Ogden, Hobart Gaol 1883

“SUPREME COURT CRIMINAL SITTINGS.-The sittings of the Supreme Court in Oyer and Terminer began yesterday. Sir Francis Smith presided in the First Court, where the greater part of the day was occupied with the trial of James Ogden and James Sutherland for the murder of Wm. Wilson, at Epping Forest. The prisoners pleaded not guilty. Mr. A. I. Clark appeared for the defence. The evidence taken was that given at the inquest, and supplemented by some further evidence tracing the connection of the prisoners prior to the murder, so as to show that they acted in concert. This additional evidence was obtained by Sub-inspector Palmer, who deserves much credit for his handling of the case throughout. Mr. Clark set up the defence of insanity, working out an elaborate and ingenious construction from the evidence. He urged that the presence of an unaccountable and extraordinary desire for murder, such as seemed to have possessed the prisoners, was in itself proof of insanity. The Judge charged the jury that the law recognised only absolute proof of such state of derangement, that the prisoner did not know that he was doing wrong. After about half-an-hour’s deliberation the jury found both prisoners guilty, and His Honor passed sentence of death. There was a large crowd in court throughout the day, and much interest was displayed in the trial. The prisoners themselves remained quietly passive from first to last, and did not give way to any emotion when sentence was passed upon them. On being taken down they began joking and laughing with the other prisoners…” … More The execution of prisoners Sutherland and Ogden, Hobart Gaol 1883