He became known to those he robbed as 'the friendly bushranger' on account of his 'almost unparalleled mildness and kindness towards persons with whom he came into collision in pursuit of his lawless career.' Priest held up settlers at gunpoint but only took what he needed and was never violent.
In 1845, he was eventually caught and, at an appearance before the Police Magistrate, witness George Lucas, who had recently been robbed, claimed the coat and trousers worn by Priest, were his. Priest replied: 'Yes, you're right, they're yours; you have told a very correct yarn ; all that you have said is very true.' When the Magistrate then told Priest that they would have to find him some other clothes, Priest answered, 'Just as you please, Sir, it's not as I like now.'
Priest was sentenced to hang, but after the intervention of many members of the public, including three priests and several people who he had robbed, his sentence was commuted to ten years at Norfolk Island.
- "FURTHER PARTICULARS OF PRIEST.". The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859). Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 27 September 1845. p. 2. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- ^ Loring, Chris (1996). Compelled to Tiers. Regal Press. ISBN 0949457922.
- "COLONIAL INTELLIGENCE.". The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893). NSW: National Library of Australia. 29 November 1845. p. 4. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "90 Years Ago.". Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954). Launceston, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 2 November 1935. p. 6 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- 1845 wanted poster for Daniel Priest and John Smith as runaway convicts.