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ASHBURTON. Tuesday, Nov. 25. (Before Mr F. Guinness, R.M.) ALLEGED DAMAGE TO PROPERTY. Mr. Phillip /I’isch did not appear to prosecute the man remanded from yesterday on a charge of damaging' his property, and the accused was dismissed. CIVIL CASES. Branson and others v. Gavin and others—Claim, £2 13s 6d. Mr Branson conducted his own case. Mr Crisp appeared on behalf of Mr. Gavin. The claim was made by Messrs Branson and Purnell, a firm of solicitors, to recover the above sum, as costs for professional assistance rendered in the matter of Thomas Maddox, who, it will be remembered, was prosecuted some time back for fraudulent bankruptcy. In March last Maddox filed his schedule in bankruptcy under circumstances that raised a suspicion of fraud Mr. Sando, trustee in the estate, took Mr. Branson’s advice, and Maddox was arrested, and brought back from Dunedin to Ashburton. A special meeting of the creditors was held, at which it was resolved to obtain an order to prosecute the debtor under the Fraudulent Debtors Act. The order was granted, Mr Sando had an interview with Mr. Branson, and was advised to proceed to Christchurch to obtain legal advice to save expense. Certain creditors resolved that Mr. Sando should proceed to Christchurch in accordance with this advice. Plaintiff contended that Mr. Saudo was the representative of the creditors, from whom the idea of prosecuting the bankrupt emanated. The defence was that though the claim was a fair and reasonable one in itself, it was not chargeable against the defendants, Gavin and others, inasmuch as they had not been parties io the engagement of Messrs. Branson and Purnell previous to the meeting at which plaintiffs conducted a two hours’ examination of the bankrupt before the trustee. The plaintiffs founded on the 27th section of the Resident Magistrates Act that any one or any number of persons jointly liable for a charge may bs proceeded against. After a lengthy argument, in which Mr. Crisp contended that the trustee was not the creature of the creditors, but of the Act, and Messrs. Branson and Purnell were engaged, not by the creditors sued, but by the trustee. Judgment was given for the reason that it was important to settle such questions, as they affected trustees in bankruptcy to aconsiderable extent. The amount charged had not been disputed. It had been contended that the resolutions of the trustees’ meetings were not in writing, and were consequently informal. The Court was of opinion that verbal evidence of the minutes of resolutions at meetings of creditors was admissible. On the other points raised for the defence, the Court was against them, and he gave his judgment with some diffidence. It would be for plaintiff}, for amount claimed with costs. He considered the creditors’ trustee to be agent for the creditors ; and he also considered the defendants were liable for all expenses. IDLE DOGS WORRY SHEEP. Martha Gibson v. George Cole.—Mr. Branson for plaintiff, Mr. Ireland for defendant. Claim for the destruction of 87 lambs by defendant’s dogs, £l7 Bs. Mr. Branson explained the nature of the case, and called Cornelius Kelly, laborer, who was working for Mrs. Gibson. In September last saw a dog chasing sheep and worrying one. The dog was black with some white on its breast. Afterwai’ds saw a dog similar to the same at Cole’s. It was tied up there. It was a sheep dog and seemed like the same dog, but I could not swear it was the same. When I went to stop the dog worrying it ran towards a gully in an opposite direction to Cole’s. I have not seen any dogs in the neighborhood resembling Cole’s dog.

Gross-ownined by'Mr. Ireland—l have seen sheep dogs about the place besides Ode’s, but not of a similar color. I saw the dog worrying the sheep in September, ami went to Cole’s about a month after. Mrs. Gibson told me to go ? and see the dog to identify it. The dog which was worrying the sheep was rough on the neck and smooth on the body. The one I saw at Cole’s was the same.

Thomas Nolan, laborer, was working for Mr. Gibson on Oct. 10th, and saw two dogs chasing sheep. The dogs stopped when I went towards them, and they went in a different direction to Cole’s house. I followed them afterwards. One went towards Cole’s, and the other in an opposite way. I knew one to be Cole’s, and the other I followed. It went eventually to Cole’s, and he admitted the ownership. Told Cole the dogs had been hunting the sheep, and he came with me to look for the other dog. I saw the dog, and heard defendant acknowledge both dogs to be his. Since that date no sheep have been worried. Cole told me he would kill the dogs, and I have not seen them since.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ireland : Lost sight of the dog I chased whilst he was in the gully, but he was generally in ray sight till within 8 chains of Cole’s house. Cole went to plaintiff’s paddock with me to see what damage was done, but as only hunting was done by the dogs till stopped by me, no sheep were killed. We only found one dead sheep, hut there mav have been more. Most of the ewes had lambed then. There wore pigs there. I swear both dogs belonged to Cole. Martha Gibson, was owner of a farm in Wakanui. In the early part of September I had over 200 lambs. On the 10th Oct. I went to Cole’s and asked him if two dogs there belonged to him, and asked him to look at a leg of a lamb not then cold. I mustered my lambs that day, and found there wore only 113 left. Have heard dogs worrying them, and have seen numbers of dead lambs on the ground. I had pigs on the same ground, but they will not worry live lambs ; they eat up the carcases. Since the 10th Oct. there has been no worrying, and Cole told me he had destroyed one of the dogs, in consequence of receiving a letter from my solicitors. He asked to have the matter submitted to arbitration, and I agreed, but he subsequently refused. Cross-examined by Mr. Ireland —The lambs were lambed in August. Cole told me there was a strange dog about the place the same day he destroyed his own. The value of the lambs at that time would be 9s. per head. Daniel Black, employed by Mrs. Gibson, said he was ascustomed to see the sheep every day. Saw numbers of lambs worried previous to the 10th October, but none since. Cole told me he had killed the worst dog he had. The sheep now stop at home but previously were chased all over the paddocks. Cross-examined by Mr. Ireland—l recollect the sheep being impounded in August. There wore no lambs then, but they began to lamb a few daj's afterwards. Mrs. Gibson has two dogs. Don’t know of any being disposed of. Couldn’t make Mrs. Gibson’s dogs worry sheep if I tried. G. D. Branson, solicitor, stated that Mr. Cole informed him that he had destroyed both dogs, and was inclined to go on with the arbitration, and subsequently said he would not.

Mr. Ireland applied for a nonsuit, on the ground that no evidence had been brought that any sheep had been killed. His Worship considered there was sufficent evidence to go on with the case. George Cole, farmer, Wakanui, and defendant in the case—Spoke to Mr. Branson after receiving his letter, which claimed £2O for 100 lambs. I took a man to see them. Told Mrs. Gibson it was spite on account of my having pounded her stock, and told her I would pay her for all damage if she would show me them. I never told Mr. Branson 1 had destroyed two dogs, I told him I had to destroy one because I thought I would have to register him. Always had the dogs tied up at night, and the one with a white throat was tied up day and night all through September. The pup I destroyed was about five months old. Went round Mrs. Gibson’s paddock with Nolan to see the dead lambs, and could not find anything but an old sheep which had been dead two months. Knew of a strange black and wnite dog about there. My neighbors have also seen it. It is there now. Pigs will kill lambs.

Cross-examined by Mr. Branson. Whilst the lambs are weak the gulls will destroy them when they lie down ; but they don’t fly by night. Won’t swear I tied the dogs up every night. Never told Mrs. Gibson or Black that I had destroyed the worst dog of the two. Did not tell either Mr. Branson or Mr. Purnell that I had destroyed the same. Never knew my dogs to have been in mischief before. F. Lewis, veterinary surgeon Had known pigs kill lambs. Knewacasetwentyseven years ago, and didn’t think they had changed their nature since. Didn’t think it impossible for pigs and sheep to live harmoniously together. Cross-examined by Mr. Branson—The carnivorous sow I knew twenty-seven years ago is the only instance in my knowledge. Mrs. Cole, wife of defendant, remembered Nolan calling at her house about the dogs ; the pup was loose—the other was tied up. Fed the pup about ten minutes before Nolan came.

F. Rickard, farmer, knew of a wild dog running about his place. Saw him that morning. He is a cattle dog, and I have tried to shoot him.

His Worship considered that in cases of this sort cirmcumstantial evidence must be accepted. The weight of evidence must be in favor of plaintiff, as the stray dog so much talked about has not done any damage to anything but hen roosts ; and he would caution owners of dogs to bo careful of their neighbors’ property. Judgment for amount claimed. The Court then adjourned.

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RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 27, 27 November 1879

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RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 27, 27 November 1879

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