6th December 1797
Reference Numbert17971206-58
VerdictNot Guilty

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60. ROBERT ARMSTRONG was indicted for returning from transportation before the term for which he was ordered to be transported .( John Owen produced the certificate of the conviction of the prisoner, signed by Mr. Shelton; it is read).

JOSEPH NASH sworn. - On the 3d of December I apprehended the prisoner, in the parish of St. John's, Wapping; I had heard of his being transported, and I thought he was come back before his time; I asked him if he had any thing to shew why he was at liberty before his time; and he said, no, he had not.

Q. What are you? - A. A Trinity-officer.

Q. Is there any reward in this case? - A. I never had any; I have heard that there is.

Q. What was his answer when you asked him how he came at liberty? - A. He said, he had been taken prisoner in his passage to South Wales, and carried by force to a French prison; and he said, he had made his escape from there to America, and from there he had come to England.

Q. Did you enquire whether it was true? - A. No; I did not know that that was a duty incumbent upon me; I heard that he had been here five or six weeks, I did not enquire any further; I took him to the office in Lambeth-street.

Prisoner's defence. In 1795, I was pardoned upon condition of serving his Majesty King George, in the sixtieth regiment of foot, to go in the capacity of a soldier; I embarked the 14th of April, 1795; I had the misfortune to be taken by the French, and carried into Guadaloupe; they wanted to force me to serve against my country, and rather than be a traitor to my country I was determined to get my liberty, or die; here are two shots in my neck that I got as I was making my escape.

WILLIAM HOWARD sworn. - I am a clerk in the Transport-office: I can only prove that the ship was taken in going to the West-Indies; I know there were convicts to the number of forty-four to go in her, they were to go in the sixtieth regiment.

Q. Can you say whether this man was one? - A. No.(Mr. John Kirby produced a receipt signed by the ensign of the regiment, which shewed that the prisoner was one of the forty-four who went on board).

Q. Is it this same Robert Armstrong ? - A. The same man.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice GROSE.

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