A VAGRANT PLOUGH.
Stokes v. Harrison. —Claim, L 6, fo r value of a plough. In this case on Kennedy was a tenant of Mr. Stokes who distrained a plough which was on the land, taking it to Mr. Harrison’s yard in mistake for Mr. Buchanan’s. Mr. Harrison, on Stokes discovering the mistake, refused to give up the plough, as Stokes did not give him satisfactory evidence that the plough was his own. S. Stokes deponed that ho had found a double-furrow plough on laud which he had let to John Kennedy, in the Wakanui district. A half-year’s rent, amounting to LlO, was due. Kennedy had left the district, and I distrained the plough for rent. Took the plough to Harrison’s in mistake for Buchanan’s. When I found out my mistake I asked Hai-rison to allow me to take it away. He asked me if the plough was mine. I said it was “ mine in a measure.” He presumed I should not want a plough, being a tailor, but I told, him I owned 80 acres of land, and he said he did not know that. Ho then asked how I had got the plough, and I told him that I had distrained it. He then said he could not admit the claim, but after some conversation told me I could have it. 1 went to dinner, and when I returned for the plough Harrison told me that a party had been and claimed the plough, and I could not have it. The defendant characterized me as a thief, when I told him I was quite willing for the public of Ashburton who were acquainted with me to judge cf the the truth of such a charge. At this stage, Mr. O’Reilly wished to alter the summons to make the action one for detention, to which Mr. Purnell objected, but was quite willing to test the case on its merits. His Worship decided Ttliat if the summons were amended it would alter the cause of action altogether. Mr. Purnell here consented to the alteration so as to decide whether the plough be returned, or its value paid to Stokes. S. Stokes, cross-examined by Mr. Purnell, said that rent was not due till the 17th instant. Witness admitted seizing the plough before the rent was due. Mr. O’Reilly objected to this evidence being given. On the witness continuing to give his evidence, Mr. Purnell arose and requested him to stop speaking. Witness—Sit down, sir ; sit down. Mr. Purnell characterised the conduct of witness as impertinent. His Worship ordered witness to he silent. Examination continued—l took the plough to Harrison’s at nine o’clock at night. My son Henry was with me. I know a man named Evans, and remember him telling me that a plough he lent to Kennedy had been taken away. I did not tell him I had taken it. I think Orr and Co. are Evans’ trustees. The first time I spoke to Mr, Harrison I told him the plough ivas mine in a measure. Mr. Purnell remarked that it would have facilitated matters had Mr. Stokes made a plain statement of facts to Mr. Harrisor. Alfred Harrison, sworn, said —I found a plough in my yard. Mr. Stokes came and told me he put it there in a mistake. He said it was his '■ in a sort of way.” I told him that unless he could prove ownership he would have to go away without it. I refused the plough, because I wished the proper owner to get it. At a later period of the day Stokes came and told me the plough Washis. I remarked upon the strangeness of his not saying so before at once. In the interim I had seen Mr. Evans, who said the plough was the property of Mr. Davis, at Waterton, from whom he had borrowed it. I showed him the plough which Stokes claimed, and he identified it as Davis’s plough. When Stokes came back I told him what had transpired, and refused to give up the plough. He said he would sue me, I told him if he did not clear out, I would pursue him. I value the plough at 50s. at the outside. By Mr. O’Reilly—l refused to deliver up the plough because Stokes could not prove ownership. In consequence of the owner claiming it, I would not allow the plough to go. Evans claimed it on behalf of one Davis. The plough was not left at my place in the ordinary way. This plough was not entered in my books for sale. David Evans—l saw a plough at Mr. Harrison’s, and recognised the plough as one which 1 had borrowed Last winter. I knew the plough by certain marks on it. There were certain parts of the castings cut off. It belongs to Mr. Davis, of Waterton. Mr. Kennedy, Stokes’ tenant, borrowed the plough from me, but did not return it. The first time I saw the plough after I had lent it to Kennedy was when it was in Mr. Harrison’s yard. By Mr. O’Reilly-—No one told me the plough was there. It is about six weeks since I lent the -plough to Kennedy. It is about twelve months since Davis lent it to me. I made an arrangement with my creditors before borrowing the plough. Mr. Purnell submitted that judgment must be given for defendant. The plough was not Stokes’ property, and he had seized it before the rent was due, which did not accrue till the 17th May. Mr. O’Reilly argued that the plough came into Harrison’s possession by mistake. He should have delivered it up on demand. Even supposing that Stokes held the plough illegally, there was no excuse for Harrison detaining it. Stokes was entitled to distrain any property which was on the land, and Mr. Harrison had no right to detain the plough, it having been left there in mistake for Mr. Buchanan’s. In conclusion, Mr. O Reilly cited cases to prove points which he had raised. In giving judgment, his Worship said that the case was one in which the issue rested on the question of possession, and the evidence certainly proved that Harrison was in possession of the plough, and he had a right to retain the same until it was claimed by the rightful owner. Judgment would be given for defendant, with costs for one witness, and professional fee, a guinea—L2, Is. in all. A CASE OF DAMAGES. J. Ward v. Orr and Co.—Claim L 5, for damages sustained by the collision of defendant’s spring cart with the plaintiff s buggy on the Ashburton Bridge. Mr. Crisp for plaintiff; Mr. Purnell for defendant. James Ward said he remembered driving a double-seated buggy across the railway bridge on the 24th April last. My buggy was being driven on the near side of the bridge. I followed the train across thebridge,and at the south end, directly the train passed, there was a great rush of people to get on the bridge. I pulled up as close to the near side as I could, which brought the off side wheel on the near side rail. Could not get any closer. I pulled up my horse when I saw the rush of horsemen, passengers, aud vehicles, among the latter being defendant’s spring cart, driven by Messrs. Orr and Co. ’s man. On the collision occurring the driver said he was very sorry, it could not be helped, but that Mr. Orr would have' to _ pay for the damage. Mr. Orr’s horse shied, and the spring cart struck my hind wheel. The horse swerved in such a way as to lead me to conclude that the animal was not under the control of the driver. There was plenty of room for the vehicle to pass. There was at least 2 feet 6 inches clear between the two conveyances if the driver of the spring cart had kept close to the other side. My buggy was damaged and I had to hive another to take my family home to Waterton. I have lost two days over the affair. The cause of the accident, in my opinion, was through the driver of the spring cart not having the horse under his control. The axle and one wheel of my buggy were broken. ieocwSa
By Mr. Purnell —I have never sent in a bill to Orr and Co. for the damages claimed. Have never demanded the money. Never had any conversation with the defendants with respect to the damages. Ido not know what the width of the bridge is, but should think it was 20 feet. The width of my buggy would be about 4 feet, and the spring the same. When we met, the of the spring cart was about 2 feet 6 inches off my buggy. I may have had one or two glasses of beer during the day, but no spirits. The horse of Orr and Co. may have shied from the commotion caused by the rush of vehicles and horsemen coming on the bridge. I have seen Orr’s man driving before, and consider him to be a competent driver. James Mullaney, bridge keeper, said— On the day in question he saw, Mr. Orr’s man drive on to the bridge, at the rate of about four miles an hour. Mr. Ward was also on the bridge, pn his own side, and I do not think he could have done more than he did to prevent the occurrence. The affair, in my opinion, was purely an accident. The buggy was smashed and two men were employed to remove it. The driver of the spring cart was standing up at the time the niishap took place. By Mr. Purnell—The man was apparently driving with care. It is not easy for a vehicle to travel between the near rail and the side of the bridge. Cates was quite close to the side of the bridge when he went on. George Cates deponed that he was in the employ of Orr and Co., and on the day in question was driving a spring cart over the bridge. Kept as close to the side as possible. If Mr. Ward had exercised a fair amount of care the mishap might have been avoided. It was on account of the noise caused by Mr. Ward’s horse troting that made my horse shy, , which is, as a rule, very quiet. I have been accustomed to driving for the last ten years. By Mi\ Crisp—The wheel of Mr. Ward’s buggy was on the inside of the rail. My horse did not ' exactly shy, but gave a slight baulk—a mere swerve of the head. I was driving at a dog-trot, about four miles an hour. By Mr. PurreT —It is quite customary to stand up while driving, and a driver has more control over his horse than if sitting down. Thomas Scott, sworn—l was in the cart with Cates at the time the accident occurred. The gate was closed on account of the train going over, and Cates being near the gate got on first -when the. train had passed. He kept close to his own side, and his wheel was within the track. I believe Cates was driving very carefully, and I attribute the affair only to an accident. By Mr. Crisp—The reason I was in the trap was because Mr. Cates had kindly offered me a ride from Tinwald. Andrew Orr deponed to Cates being in their employ for two years, and said that during that time the firm had never found fault with his driving. His Worship thought that the evidence proved there had been no careless driving, and the affair occurred through a pure accident, and he should give judgment for the defendants, but without costs. AN UNSTAMPED DOCUMENT. Roberts v. Hellens.—Mr. O'Reilly for plaintiff. This was an action to obtain possession of property held by the defendant, but on account of a deed being put in which was insufficiently stamped, the Bench ordered the case to be adjourned for a fortnight to allow time to get the document properly stamped. The Court then adjou4^pk
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