At the age of 39, and unmarried, Begbie arrived in Victoria in November 1858. It was a rough and tumble place with the Fraser River Gold Rush drawing thousands of prospectors and hangers-on.
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And, biographer Sydney G. Pettit describes him as, “Fearless and incorruptible, he made his name a terror to evil-doers who, rather than face his stern and impartial justice in the Queen’s court, abstained from violence or fled the country, never to return.”
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He told one ill-fated wretch standing in the prisoner’s box and seeking the right to appeal his sentence, “It will take six months or more for the colonial secretary to deal with the matter and months more before we learn of his decision. But you will not be interested in what he decides, for you are to be hanged Monday morning.”
Another convicted murderer complained he had not received a fair trial, to which Judge Begbie responded “I shall send up your case for a new trial - by your Maker.”