RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT.
FjjjpaYj," April 16. (Befoi'? Mr. P. Guinness, R,M-) RATE?. i Loiigbeaoli Road Board v. Cairncrosg. Claim L 29 19s. for rates. Judgment for plaintiff, with costs. A DISPUTED CONTRACT. Guild v. Kingsbury. Claim, LOO, damages for breach; of contract, entered into by the plaintiff ; with defendant, which the latter would not allow to be,; completed. Mr. Branson, instructed by Mr. Ireland, for plaintiff ; Mr. O’Reilly for defendant. Mr. Branson, in opening the case, the facts of the affair were According to the contract entered into tween Guild and Kingsbury, which,was merely a verbal one, but to which there were two witnesses, the plaintiff was to cart and stack 400 acres of grain, which he was,
perfectly willing to complete,' after having stacked a certain quantity the defendant stopped the men from working. George Guild, sworn—l am a contractor, residing at Ashburton. I made an agreement with Mr. Kingsbury by word of mouth. This agreement was made on the 27th February, there being two witnesses present. The agreement was that I was to cart and stack at least 400 acres, at 6d. per acre. Defendant said he had 700 acres of grain, and I could stack as quick as I liked as long as there was any to stack. He wound up his remarks at the time by saying there would at tiyjjjkleast be 400 or 500 acres for me. I sjjpd to cart and stack, but before the work was done, Mr. Kingsbury sent the men home. Kingsbury said he could not afford to have the whole stacked. At 6s. an acre, the profit would be about 3s. per acre. Mr. O’Reilly here wished to show from the statute that a bill of particulars should be put in, showing the amount of damages in detail, but, failing to find the section, Mr. Branson choracterised his conduct as “ ludicrous in the extreme. ” The former gentleman then rose to his feet again, and claimed the protection of the Court from the remarks and interruptions constantly being made by Mr. Branson, drawing attention to the fact that the Resident Magistrate’s Court in Ashburton was in bad odour throughout the whole country in consequence of the Bench allowing such conduct. Professional men from Christchurch were astonished at the way in' which business was conducted in that Court.
Examination continued—l engaged five workmen, two drays, and two horses. They were engaged to do the whole of the 400 acres. I paid the men Is. an hour. They worked on an average nine hours a day. It would have taken me about 15 days longer to have done the work. I had been working seven days. One of the men is now out of work. I made a demand for damages, but was only paid for the 112 acres that had been completed. By Mr. O’Reilly—When the contract was made it was stated to be for carting and stacking grain. The defendant mentioned that he would go on threshing from the stooks. I refused to make any arrangements to cart from the stooks to the machine. Defendant had carts of his own, and said he was going to start work in two or three days. When requested by Kingsbury to lend horses and carts, I refused, in consequence of my taking the contract, and if I had done so I would not have had sufficient power to get through my own work. I never was near the ground while the contract was proceeding, nor even went to see how it was getting on. It would surprise me to hear that the contract did not go on well as I had confidence in the men, who were trustworthy. By Mr. Branson—No objection was made to the contract when the 112 acres were paid for.
By Mr. O’Reilly—l made a demand, in writing, for the balance of the work as damages. Richard Robertson, sworn—l am a contractor at Rakaia. I recollect being at the Rakaia Hotel on February 17, when Mr. Guild, Mr. Kingsbury, a man named Fenton, and myself were present. I knew Mr. Kingsbury prior to that occasion. At the interview in question, Mr. Kingsbury let a contract to Mr. Guild for carting and stacking grain, to the amount of about 700 acres, at 6s. per acre, When Mr. Kingsbury had done reaping, he was to commence on the work himself. Mr. Guild was to cart 400 or 500 acres until it was all finished. Six shillings an acre was mentioned as the. price. I was not employed on the contract. There was no particular grain mentioned. By Mr. O’Reilly—l do not remember on the occasion whether wheat was mentioned. I member every word that was said, and wheat only was not mentioned. 'There was no arrangement made betwen the parties about defendant having plaintiffs horses and carts to assist in the carting. I understood that Kingsbury was to start with his own team when he had done reaping. There were 700 acres, altogether, 400 or more to be done by Guild, the defendant to assist in carting the balance. By Mr. Branson—There were 700 acres, 400 or more of which were to be done by Guild, and the defendant to do as much as he could.
James Fenton gave similar evidence. Samuel Kingsbury, sworn—l am the defendant in this case, I saw Mr. Guild at the Rakaia, and made an agreement with him that he was to cart and stack 400 acres of wheat at 6s. per acre, and that I was to go on threshing at the same time from the 400 acres wheat. I had 700 acres grain altogether, but nothing was said about the oats and barley. I intended to cart the oats myself, and wanted the wheat to be carted by the contractor first, as it was most valuable, and I did not want it to be subject to bad weather. There was no contract as to how many acres Guild was to cart. I was to go on carting to the threshing machine, and what Guild could not do I w T as to do. It was estimated there would be about 200 or 300 acres of the wheat for plaintiff to do if he started at once with five men and two drays. I was to start as soon as I got the threshing machine, which was about the 20th. I dismissed Guild’s men after 112 acres had been done, because I considered the grain safer in stock than in stack, in consequence of it being badly stacked. I told my brother to go and tell the men that the stacking would not do unless done better in the middle. I could not go to the men myself in consequence of having to superintend the threshing machine. I did not know where Mr. Guild resided. I was told he might be in camp or at Ashburton. By Mr. Branson—l knew where Guild’s camp was ; it was about two miles from my place. I did not .take the trouble to go and see him. I got adivce from Joynt and Percival. I gave them information that the stacking was done badly. [Mr. Branson here read Joynt and Percival’s letter to plaintiff, which made no mention of the work being inefficiently done.] It was no after-theught of mine to put in this defence. I thought of this defence while the stacking was going on, I allowed them to make nine stacks.
By the Bench—l gave Guild to understand, when the contract was made, that if the men did not do the work properly, I should nob complain to him, but send the men off
Seth Kingsbury, sworn—l am brother to the defendant. The first day Mr. Guild’s men. started, when they had completed about half a stack, I saw it was very flat, and went and told the men that my. brother was not satisfied with the work. There was an improvement for a little while, but subsequently they, fell back to their bid style of work. About eight days were occupied in doing the 112 acres, and part of the time only three of Guild's men were at work.
By Mr. Branson—Mr. Guild did not supply- sufficient men, and my brother supplied two hands. My brother’s men did'not help to build. I examined the whole of the nine stacks, and they were all bad.
Henry Bennett, sworn—l am in the service of Kingsbury. I saw the stacks which were made. I know when a stack is properly built. The stacks in question were badly built. The middle not being high enough would allow rain to settle and run into the stack.
By Mr-iT'^ranson —On one occasion I Mr. Kingsbury that one I will not swear how had the rain on them. It was not r&Tning at all while we were threshing, but it rained heavily the Sunday night previous. Mr. O’Beilly, ’ for the defence, argued that the work had been done improperly,
and the defendant would have been perfectly justified in sending the men away directly ; but on account of the necessity for the wheat being got together quickly, in case of bad whether coming on, he was quite at liberty to retain them for his own convenience, even if the work they did was inefficient, seeing that ho paid them for all the time thev were there.
Mr. Branson submitted that the evidence was very clear that 400 acres at least were to be carted and stacked. The defence set up was certainly an after-thought. According to the defendant he supplied Joynt and Percival with the information about the inefficiency of work done, but it was certainly peculiar that in their letter the solicitors did not refer to it in any way. There was no doubt that the contract was that defendant found it would be cheaper to thresh from the stooks than from the stacks. The plea of inefficient work was certainly absurd, and he (Mr. Branson) should not wonder if it had not been concocted in Mr. O’Reilty’s office.. Mr. O’Reilly objected to Mr. Branson saying the defence had been concocted in Mr. O’Reilly’s office, as the statement was an aspersion on his professionul reputation.
Mr. Branson objected to Mr. O’Reilly again addressing the Court, and said that the document had been put together in Mr. O’Reilly’s office. After the counsel’s address, his Worship said he could not entertain the defence regarding bad building, as the defendant had permitted the building to go on. There had been evidently a guarantee for 400 acres, and the plea of bad stacking could not be entertained, as any bad stacking had been ‘condoned by a portion of the work having been paid for. He would give judgment for the plaintiff, with costs.
Mr. O’Reilly said he desired to obtain a point on which to take the matter to a higher court, but his Worship denied that any point of law had been involved, as the judgment was given on the facts of the case.
Mr. O’Reilly said such a judgment prevented him from obtaining any redress, as his Worship refused to give a point of law on which to appeal.
Mr. Branson said the statement was a most impertinent one for a solicitor to make, and was an insult to the Bench. Mr. O’Reilly, after consulting with his client, said he -would appeal to the Supreme Court.
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