- 1835-01-01 - 1855-01-01 (Creation)
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On 9 December 1829, Captain Stirling appointed Justices of the Peace to deal with civil and criminal matters. The greater part of their work was in connection with criminal offences and they held Courts of Petty and Quarter Session as in England. Quarter Sessions were held early in January, April, July and October in each year, the first sitting being in 1830.
The Quarter Sessions Act 1832 conferred on the Court power to hear and determine all felonies and misdemeanors committed in the colony, including forgery and perjury.
The Court of Quarter Sessions first sat in the office of the Deputy Harbour Master at Arthur's Head, Fremantle, and later in another room in Fremantle. It was not until the Courthouse was built in Perth in 1837 that Quarter Sessions were held in the capital.
The Court of Quarter Sessions and the Civil Court of Western Australia were amalgamated into the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1861.
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Quarterly Returns of Prisoners are forms sent by the gaoler to the Clerk of the Peace at or before the Sitting of the Court of every Quarter Sessions. They give details of prisoners in four categories:
(i) prisoners for trial,
(ii) prisoners under sentence,
(iii) prisoners neither for trial nor under sentence;
(iv) prisoners committed since the last, but discharged before the present report. Information given includes name of prisoner, offence, when committed, sentence, conduct in gaol, observations.
They are arranged in date order and are mostly returns from Fremantle Gaol though there are occasionally returns from other gaols such as Albany.
There are also annual returns for Fremantle Gaol giving various statistical information including the number of prisoners held, number charged with particular offences etc.