RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT.
Tuesday, August 10, 1880. (Before Mr. F. Guinness, R.M.) DRUNK AND DISORDERLY. A first offender was fined the usual ss. ALLEGED LARCENY OF TREES. Thomas, Nolan and Jeremiah Hefferman wore charged with the larceny of eighteen trees, known as microcarpa, the property of the Domain Board. Mr. Purnell appeared for the prosecution. Prisoner Nolan applied for a remand until Friday, so as to obtain evidence from Timaru, proving that he bought the trees at that place. Hetferman stated he was only a lodger with Nolan, and also wished for a remand. Mr. Purnell asked to be allowed to take evidence proving the larceny, before prisoners were remanded. Humphrey William Charlton gave evidence that he was keeper of the Ashburton Domain, and had missed a large quantity of trees from that place on four different occasions, numbering in all sixty-six, and had found some of the trees in Nolan’s garden. He valued the trees at Is. 6d. each. The accused wore remanded until Friday next, bail being allowed, accused in a bond of LIOO, and two sureties of LSO each. ALLEGED SHEEP-STEALING. George Pyko was charged with the larceny of four sheep, the property of Richard Lancaster’. Mr. Crisp appeared for the defence. Constable Warring, sworn, deponed—l remember the 4th August. On that day wont to Mr. Pyke’s slaughter-yard, in company with Mr. Lancaster. I had a warrant authorising me to search for four sheep. Read the warrant to accused. He said, “I didn’t think Mr. Lancaster would be so sharp as this.” On going to the slaughter-yard saw two sheep marked RL conjoined (in red) on the back ; also, two skins similarly marked. The skins were fresh, and hung on the fence of the yard, with the fleshy side out. The two sheep and skins outside the Court'are the ones I took possession of. There was another living sheep in the yard. It was about XI a. m. when I went there.
By Mr. Crisp—l met with Mr- Fyke rtt his house, and after reading the warrant, he went with me • to the slaughter-yard. The yard is situated in the middle of a paddock. It is not under cover. I believe it is usual to hang sheepskins with the fleshy side out. The sheep were enclosed in a pen in the ordinary way. Richard Lancaster, sworn—l am a butcher, residing in Ashburton. On the 3rd of this month, I bought ninety-five sheep at the Ashburton saleyards—-seventy-five in one lot, and twenty in another. The seventy-five sheep wore mixed, most of them were wethers. I counted seventeen out to kill, and the others to he turned out on turnips, and branded them all with R.L. conjoined,' with a bar over it. The brand is placed
on the back of the sheep, with the bar towards the head. The color of !|the brand is red. Left seventeen sheep in one yard, and the remainder in another. In the same yard were three 11 crawlers ” belonging to accused. “ Crawlers ” is a technical term, and is used to denote old inferior sheep. These crawlers were worth about 4s. Gd. each. One was an old ewo, the other a cross-bred hogget, and the third I cannot describe; it was course and ragged-looking. I gave Bs. for the sheep I bought. Was present when Mr. Pyko bought his sheep. They did not resemble the ones I bought in any way. The sheep which accused bought were in a yard separated from my own. Went to look at the sheep next morning, and found all of them mixed in one yard, and two of Mr. Pyke’s with them. I had to separate them, to get the sheep out for slaughtering. I missed the sheep before I culled them, as one or two of the best were gone. Never gave anyone permission to take the sheep. Ha v e known Mr. Fyke for some time. He never asked me, nor did I give him permission to take any of my sheep. Went with Constable Warring to ‘ accused’s slaughteryards. My suspicions were aroused in consequence of seeing Pyke’s sheep mixed with -. mine. Pyke’s man also told me in the street that he had taken five sheep away from the yards. The sheep and skins now outside the Court are the ones which I pointed out to Constable Warring at the slaughter-yards, in the presence of accused. The sheep are passable animals, in good condition. They are about 451 b. in weight. By Mr. Crisp—Have known Pyke for some time as a butcher in Ashburton. Have had previous dealings with him. All transactions have been settled up satisfactorily. Have sold Pyko sheep a good time ago, for the purpose of supplying his customers. Have also bought stock of accused. Have never exchanged sheep with accused. Always sell to him. Am not in Pyke’s debt for driving cattle. He has driven cattle from Stoddart’s for me, but I do not know whether it has been settled for, but believe it has. The sheep were divided into two yards. Two of my men and myself branded them. One of Mr. Pyke’s sheep, which jumped about, had to be tied down. Mr. Pyke and a man named Meiklejohn helped me count the sheep. Afterwards we went and had a drink. It is customary on such occasions to “ shout” for the man who helps you count sheep. In a conversation with Pyke, he said, “ I meant to have those twenty old ewes ; that was a little lot which would have just done me.” I said, “I was bound to have them, as I have more turnips than I know what to do with.” There was nothing said about Mr. Pyko taking the sheep. I was perfectly sober at Ihe time ; never had anything to drink for a fortnight previous. Saw Berry, Pyke’s man, and he told me he had taken five sheep. I asked him why he had not taken the other two. He said ho took all that he was told to. Heard that Berry was a partner with Pyke. There was no attempt at concealment on the part of Pyko. Do not know whether accused meant to pay for the sheep. Never had such a transaction with him as this before. I do not know how the sheep got mixed, but someone must have done so.
By the police—l left the yard the night before just before dark. George Berry, sworn, deponed—Am a butcher, driving accused’s cart. On the 3rd August saw Pyke at Mr. Quill’s hotel, a little after six o’clock. I asked Pyke if we should go and get the sheep. He said yes. I had a cart with me. Went with Mr. Pyke to the saleyards. Saw sheep in two yards. I went to get some flax, and left accused in the cart. When I came back helped Pyke to catch four sheep. One was tied. I asked how many sheep there were, and he said a small lot. I saw more than could be put in the cart. While we were catching the sheep, I asked how many he had bought, and he said five. The sheep were in two yards when I came back with the flax. We took the sheep to Pyke’s slaughteryard, and I killed two of the sheep. Sold the meat the next morning. Did not notice any brands on the shoep the previous evening, it was too dark. It was about seven o’clock when wo left the yards. Have been with Mr. Pyke about a week last Friday. I expected to become accused’s partner in the cart and butchering. I have been in Digby’s employment, and have worked for Pyke once before. I am used to handle sheep. Could tell the difference between good and indifferent sheep in the dark. After I came back with the flax the sheep were mixed. The gate was opened, and the sheep were going from one yard to another. I was away about ton minutes. Don’t know who caught the first sheep. We took away five sheep altogether. We caught such sheep as we could lay hold of. By Mr. Crisp—l was last in Digby’s employ. Did not leave on purpose to go into partnership with Pyke. Usually kill the sheep and supply the customers. In one of the yards about twenty sheep were against the gate when -we first went there. Cannot say whether the gate was open when we first arrived. I could not have picked out any particular sheep out of the mob on account of it being dark. The sheep were killed by me \n the ordinary way.
By the Bench —After I got back with the flax the sheep got mixed. No one opened the gate while I was there. Charles Cornelius, sworn—l am a butcher, in the employ of Mr. Lancaster. On Tuesday last saw Mr. Lancaster brand some slieep at the saleyards. They Were afterwards drafted. A small mob were butchers’ meat. They were put into a separate yard ; we tied the gate with flax. Saw three sheep in an adjoining yard. One of them was lying down with its legs tied, the other two were small ones. It was possible to pick two of Mr. Lancaster’s out very near as bad, but not as bad. Have seen the two sheep outside, and could distinguish them in the dark by handling them from the two small sheep. There were three separate pens. By Mr. Crisp—lt was nearly dark when I saw the sheep ; they were in the three pens then, and I have not seen them since.
George Berry, re-examined—The sheep with its legs tied was in a yard by itself. In reply to Mr. Crisp, Ilia Worship said he did not intend to treat the case as one of an indictable offence. For the defence, Mr. Csisp called Sergeant Felton, who gave evidence that he had known the accused for several years, and had known him as an honorable and straightforward man. Mr. Crisp addressed the Bench, and stated that Mr. Lancaster had evidently laid the information in a heated moment. From the evidence, and especially that of Berry, it would be seen there was no attempt at concealment. Berry had told Lancaster about the sheep, and Pj'ke had willingly accompanied the police and Lancaster to the slaughteryard. There was np felonious intent proved. Mr. Lan- : caster had refused to state whether he felt he would be paid for the sheep. The whole thing arose out of a conversation which took place over a glass. The accused did not deny taking the sheep, and did so on the grounds of the usual friendly transactions which had previously taken place between the parties. Had the prosecutor wished to recover the value of the sheep he could have got it in the ordinary way, Mr. Crisp submitted there was no case against his client.
His Worship said that the accused had played himself in a most unfortunate position, as if he had been committed for trial, the judge, if tho jury found him guilty, would probably have sent him to gaol for fourteen years. After carefully considering the evidence, he felt there was a doubt as to whether there was felonious
intent in the matter, and would give the accused the benefit of the doubt. After cautioning the accused as to his' careless and indiscreet conduct, his Worship dismissed the-case. There was an attempt at applause on. the part of those present in Court, but it was speedily suppresed. CIVII, CASES. Quill v. Basstend.—Claim L 4 7s. Judgment by default for plaintiff, for amount, with costs, 9s. Woolley v. Hammond.—Claim Ll 9 Bs. 3d. Judgment for plaintiff, by default, with LI 10s. costs. Little v. Fisher.—Claim L2 ss. Mr. Branson for plaintiff, Mr. O’Reilly for defendant. Little deponed that defendant was indebted for the amount for board and lodging. The drinks were charged while he was living in plaintiff’s house, defendant having given the order produced. By Mr. O’Reilly:—Fisher was not drunk when he gave the order, and has never disputed it. A cheque for a portion of the amount was given by Bradshaw. His Worship struck out a number of items representing less than 20s. worth quantities, and this left a balance of 225. Od. James Fisher entered the box, but after a short examination Mr. Branson appealed to the Magistrate, saying that witness was drunk, and the Magistrate advised the constable to remove witness, who was taken away in custody. Wallace v. Walsh.—ClaimL2 16s. Mr. O’Reilly appeared for plaintiff, Mr. Crisp for defendant. James Wallace, of the- Chertsey hotel, deponed that the guarantee produced was given to him by defendant. The document was unstamped, and Mr. Crisp took exception to its validity. Mr. O’Reilly said the amount being under L2O no stamp was needful. . Mr. Crisp argued that the document was not an agreement, but a promissory note. It came within the provisions of the Stamp Act, and required to be stamped before it could be looked upon as binding upon the two parties. An instance of the same kind had occurred in the recent case of Friedlander v. Brown, and another he was credibly informed had occurred at Rakaia in the case of Markham v. Maclean and Winter. Mr. O’Reilly denied that there was even one constituent o. a promissory note in the document, and as it was for a sum under L2, no stamp was required. His'Worship decided that the document was really a promissory note, and therefore could not be received in evider, ce, the Statute of Frauds being a complete bar to further proceedings. A nonsuit was accepted by plaintiff.
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