RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COUTR.
Friday, April 23.
(Before Mr. F. Guinness, R.M.) DRUNKS. Two first offenders were fined 10s. each for drunkenness. THE ASHBURTON BRIDQE. Henry Moffat was charged with allowing a traction engine, his property, to be driven over the Ashburton bridge, contrary to the provisions of the Bridge Bylaws. The accused pleaded guilty. Mr. Crisp, for the prosecution, said he was instructed by the Crown to plead for a heavy penalty. George Moore, bridge-keeper at the north end, said that on the 18th March, about nine o’clock at night, he saw Mr. Moffat coming up the approach with a traction engine. Immediately closed the gate, and told Mr. Moffat lie could not cross with the engine, and that a heavy line would follow if he did so. Mr. Moffat opened the gate, and went over with Ills engine, notwithstanding the caution. The traffic was done for the day. Ho damage was done to the bridge. His Worship fined the defendant L 5, but disallowed costs, as Mr. Crisp appeared for the Crown Prosecutor, who was a salaried officer. CIVIL CASES. Quill v. Welsh.—Claim, L 5 17s. 6d., amount of a dishonored cheque. Judgment for amount and costs. Branson and Purnell v. Arthur.— Claim, L2 7s. Gd., balance of account duo. Judgment for amount and costs. Hardley v, Redfern.—Claim, L 5 3s. for goods supplied. Mr. O’Reilly for plaintiff ; Mr. Crisp for defendant. Judgment for amount and costs. A DOG CASE. Edmiston, Gundry and Co. v. Ireland. —Claim, L 3 10s., for a dog sold at an auction sale at the Hinds by order of the bailiff of the Court. Thomas Bullock, sworn—l am an auctioneer, and remember asalo at the Hinds in March last. I was auctioneer on the occasion, acting for Edmiston, Gundry, and Co., and sold the dog to the defendant for L 3 10s. He bid that amount. The sale was being conducted in the usual way. There were only two bids, one by the defendant and one by Mr. Crawley. The dog was sold to the defendant by his being the last bidder. The bid was given*by a nod. At the fall of the hammer I called out the name of Mr. Ireland as the purchaser, with the amount of the bid. The conditions of sale were given verbally before the sale commenced. The conditions were that the dog should go to the highest bidder. By Mr. Branson—lt would surprise me if I were to find out that it was not the defendant who gave the bid. I know there were a number of persons present. Would swear that Crawley and Ireland were the only bidders. I swear I did not say, when the bid was given, “ Mr. Ireland, I presume.” Will contradict Mr. James Ireland if he swears that I did make use of these words. I was instructed by Edmiston, Gundry, and Co. to sell the dog, and presume the sale was advertised by order of the bailiff of the court.
Win. Smith deponed that he was clerk to Edniiston, Gundry and Co. Remember the sale at the Hinds, and was acting as Clerk at the sale. I took down the sale of the dog in my book. Took the name of the purchaser from Mr. Bullock. He sung out the name “Ireland,” and I put it down as C. W. Ireland. Next day I went to Mr. Ireland for the money, and he refused to give it to me, but did not question the sale. By Mr. Branson—The dog was knocked down to 0. W. Ireland. I saw that gentleman bidding, but would not swear to his being the last bid. When I went to Mr. Ireland for the money the next day he did not deny buying the dog. It would astonish me if the defendant were to get in the box and swear he did not say so. By the Bench—There were only three persons bidding—namely, Messrs. Gundry, Crawley, and C. W. Ireland. I did not receive cash before delivery, nor authorise any one to receive the dog.
0. 13. M. Branson sworn—l am ‘bailifi of fclie Court, and remember giving instructions in March last to Edmiston, Gundry, and Co., to sell the dog in question. I was present at the sale, and the dog was purchased by James Ireland. It was knocked down to that gentleman on his nodding his head. Immediately after his bid the hammer fell.
Mr. G. D. Branson pointed out that the counsel (Mr. O’Reilly) was cross-examin-ing his own witness, which was contrary to rule.
His Worship said that it was always understood that any evidence which would tend to elucidate a case could be taken, ard the Court would always feel that there were suspicious circumstances when objections were raised against such evidence being taken. Mr. Branson concluded from the remarks of his Worship that there must be some “ suspicious circumstances ’’ in connection with his client’s case.
Witness—l w'as standing close to the auctioneer’s box. James Ireland was by my side ; C. W. Ireland and Mr. Crawley were standing near by. I did not see who were bidding besides Charles Ireland, Crawley, and James Ireland. By Mr. Branson—l saw Mr. Gundry last night. He said that Mr. Guinness had been up to the firm’s place of business to make enquiries about the case. His remark was that the “old man” had been to see him. I am the principal in this affair, and recog nise James Ireland as the purchaser. Edmiston, Gundry, and Co. have sent me a bill for commission on the sale, for which lam liable. A certain amount of money lias been paid into court. I consented to allow James Ireland to take possession of the dog, and never told Edmiston, Gundry, and Co. to take proceedings against C. W. Ireland. I look to James Ireland for the amount due.
W. H. Gundry deponed—l am one of the plaintiffs in this case. I got instructions in March last from Mr. C. Branson to sell a dog at the Hinds. The dog was sold. I bid twice for it myself. I went up to L2 17s. Gd., at which figure I stopped. After that I watched the bidding closely, and saw the dog knocked down to C. W. Ireland. Mr.. Crawley and defendant wore very animated in their bidding, but at the figure sued for Crawley hesitated, and the dog was knocked down to Ireland. I went to see Charles Branson at his house last night, to see if the money had been paid into court, and mentioned that I had asked Mr. Guinness if the money had been paid in, and ho told me that it had been done. Mr. Branson said he did not know that it had been paid into court, and I then stated that in that case we should go on with the action, and he said “All right.” . By Mr. Branson —Mr. Guinness came into my office on private business, and he being an officer of the Court, I asked him about the money being paid in, as I knew he would be able to supply that information. I do not think there was anything extraordinary in my having a conversation with the Magistrate about : a case which was coming before him next day. Mr. Branson said at the close of the case he should ask his Worship not to adjudicate on the matter, but let it_ be brought before two independent justices for hearing. Mr. Gundry, on being further examined, said that the bailiff had told him several times that he looked to Charles Ireland for payment for the dog. John Lloyd Crawley, sworn—l am an auctioneer, and remember being at the sale at the Hinds in March last. I was bidding for a dog along with C. W. Ire-
land and Mr. Gundry. I was under the impression at the time that the dog was sold to Mr. C. Ireland, but was aftorwarda told that it was not Jfie, but his brother, James who was the purchaser. I w<S^H^<fjous to get the dog myself, taking any notice of tho^^ofners present. Afterwards I saw C. W. Ireland, and told him I wondered at him bidding against me, as he would not want a dog ; but he did not tell me he was not the purchaser. Three weeks afterwards James Ireland told me he was the purchaser. Mr. Branson applied for a non-suit,. The bailiff, who was really the principal in the matter, recognised James Ireland as the purchaser. Ho would move for a nonsuit or judgment for the defendant. Mr. O’Reilly claimed that 0. W. Ireland was the purchaser, the fact being attested to by the gen.tleman who was most likely to know—namely, Mr. Bullock, the auctioneer.
His Worship said the plaintiff had no cause of action, seeing that the matter had boon settled by the buyer and seller —the bailiff and Mr. James Ireland, and nonsuited the plaintiffs.In costs being applied for, Mr. Guinness said that there had not been sufficient explanation given before the matter had been brought into Court. If such explanation had been afforded, it was very possible the case could have been settled out of Court.
Mr. Branson said that such explanations had been given. He himself had called on Mr. Gundry and endeavored to have the matter settled amicably, but that gentleman said be would go on with the case.
Professional costs of half a guinea were allowed by the Bench. Mr. Branson asked why costs were not allowed to his witnesses, when his Worship stated that he would not allow costs on account of Mr. C. B. M. Branson not supplying the information of all he kilew in the matter. '
Mr. O’JReilly stated his intention of appealing against the verdict, but his Worship pointed out that such a course could not be taken, seeing the amount in dispute was under L 5. The Court then adjourned.
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