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RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 133, 31 July 1880
RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT.
Friday, July 30. (Before Mr. F. Guinness, R.M.) STRAY CATTLE. William Smith and J. F. Butler, for permitting cattle to wander at large, were fined ss. each. UNREGISTERED DOGS. Six charges were brought against Alexander M‘Norb, of Tinwald, for having unregistered dogs in his possession, and was fined L 5 on the whole. GAMBLING IN A LICENSED HOUSE. Phillip Tisch was charged with allowing gambling in his licensed house. Mr. Purnell for the defence. The evidence was very similar to that taken in a case against four men for damaging the windows at the Alford Forest Hotel, heard at a recent sitting of the Court, and fully reported in these columns. . Mr. Purnell said that his client did not deny having thrown for drinks, along with some of his customers, but it had only been done so as to get rid of the men, who were rather noisy. There had been no gambling in the real sense of the word,
and Mr. Purnell would remind the Bench that there were different knds of “ Yankee Grab,” and the case in point was quite a different one to that termed “ a shilling in, and the winner shouts.” He would ask his Worship, also, not to place too much stress on the fact that dice had been used. For all the requirements of the case, straws might have been used. His Worship remarked that he had known thousands of pounds to have been lost and won where straws had been used.
After Mr. Tisch had given his evidence, which went to prove that his sole reason for permitting the “ Yankee grab ” was,to keep the men quiet, His Worship briefly referred to cases which had been decided in Christchurch, but thought that they were hardly similar. He cited a case which had been heard before Mr. Watt, R.M., at Dunedin, in which that gentleman had held that gambling meant throwing for money or money’s worth. Mr. Guinness considered the case now before him was one gambling, inasmuch as the parties had thrown for money’s worth. The information was certainly upheld, but taking into consideration the circumstances of the case he would only inflict the nominal penalty of 55., and the witnessed expenses, L2. AN UNLICENSED VEHICLE. Phillip Tisch was charged with using a vehicle for the purpose of carrying passengers, the same not being licensed. Mr. Purnell for the defence said the accused admitted the offence but it had
been committed in ignorance of the law. Immediately Mr. Tisch was told of it by the police, he obtained the necessary license.
Mr. Tisch gave evidence that he was the contractor for carrying the mail, and was under the impression that being so gave him liberty to take passengers. Directly Sergeant Felton drew his attention to the fact that his action was illegal, witness had obtained a license, which only cost five shillings, and for the sake of that small amount, he would not wilfully break the law.
Mr. Purnell submitted there must be a guilty mind to warrant a conviction on any criminal offence. Sergeant Felton said he certainly understood that ignorance of the law was iio excuse.
His Worship remarked that Mr. Purnell was certainly giving expression to a most startling theory. ' Mr. Purnell said if his Worship would adjourn the case he could easily bring authorities to show that his theory was correct, and after some further argument, His Worship said that while coinciding with Mr. Purnell, the accused had certainly shown a certain amount of negligence in not making himself acquainted with the law, but would only inflict the small fine Is. EEHEARIKG. Mr. Branson applied for a rehearing in the case of Baldwin v. Hodgson, also, jfor execution to be stayed until after the prehearing. Mr. Crisp, instructed by Mr. Ireland, appeared to oppose the application. Mr. Branson said the grounds of his application were based upon the fact that when the case was brought on before the Court, his client had failed to appear ; and the Bench had ' neglected to inquire into the items of the bills of particulars, the greater portion of which were characterised as “ refreshments.” Mr. Branson stated that these so-called refreshments were really drinks supplied over the bar, and the Tippling Act being in force within the colony,, the cost of such liquor could not be recoverable at law. He took this ground because he had been informed by Sergeant Felton that the publicans of Ashburton had been warned not to supply Mr. Hodgson with drink, inasmuch as the latter had been frequently convicted for lunacy from drink. Mr. Baldwin had been personally warned by Sergeant Felton not to supply his client with liquor, and it was absolute cruelty for anyone to do so, as he was spending his substance by his drinking habits. The items called refreshments amounted to between L3O and L4O, and there was no doubt but that they were for drinks supplied over the bar. Had the Bench, when the case came on, questioned the plaintiff - as to what the items meant, it would have been elicited that they were for drinks.
H,is Worship said that the Legislature had made no provision for such an order as Mr. Bransoil had referred to being put into force, and he could not entertain what had been advanced by him in that respect, although he felt that it was a pity that Parliament had not carried dut the provisions of the old Canterbury Ordinance in the existing Licensing Act. Mr. Crisp, in reply, said it was certainly Mr. Hodgson’s fault that the case had been decided in his absence, and submitted that the judgment by default was final. There was no evidence before the Court that if the application were granted for a re-hearing there would be a fair and valid defence raised. Unless his Worship had evidence to prove there was something wrong in the bill of particulars, it was not his duty to investigate the accounts, and find out for what the money was spent. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that the refreshments were drinks, it was perfectly legitimate for Hodgson to take his friends to the hotel and “shout” for them. But he did not admit they were for drinks. The items, most likely, had reference to dinner or other meals. Mr. Hodgson was a resident in the town, and he certainly could have been present when the case was heard had he so wished. Mr. Branson’s reference to the Tippling Act was a technical objection, and his Worship should not entertain it. The sale of the goods seized was to take place to-day, and the application was apparently made to prevent his (Mr. Crisp’s) client from obtaining what he was certainly entitled to. Mr. Branson replied, and quoted several cases to show where the Court had asked questions, so as to elicit the facts of a case, and submitted that, especially when parties did not put in an appearance, it was the duty of the Court to enquire into the particulars of items. The Magistrate was supposed to supply the defects of counsel, and would frequently ask ques- ; tions which the latter had perhaps not the courage to put. His Worship consented to take the evidence of Mr. Hodgson, so as to get at the merits of the application. R. Hodgson, on his oath, said that the items referred to as “refreshments” were for drinks supplied over the bar. By Mr. Crisp— I have often shouted, for ray friends. Don’t know what the items were for on the various dates which you mention. His Worship said he would grant the re-hearing on the defendant entering into a security for the amount and costs, the proceeds of the sale of goods seized to be deposited with the Clerk of the Court, pending the decision. UNDEFENDED CASES. Hodder v. Hammond.—Claim LlB 3s. 3d. Judgment by default for amount and costs, LI 9s. ..fßobbins v. Mossmau. —Claim Lll Is., for services rendered. Judgment by default for amount and costs.
RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 133, 31 July 1880
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