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RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT.

■ Friday, August 20. (Before Mr. P. Guinness, R.M.) lunacy from drink. Peter Fagan, brought up on a charge of lunacy from drink, was remanded until to-day. ALLEGED CRUELTY TO A HORSE. Peter Govin, charged with cruelty to a horse, was defended by Mr. Branson, and X>led not guilty. Charles Smithel, contractor, stated that on the 17th inst. accused, who was in his employ, was engaged, with a pair of horses, scooping a road. One of the horses was a very good animal, the other not quite so good,- but very willing. Govin had been in witness’ employ for about two years, and knew how to drive very well. On the date mentioned, witness saw Govin on four different occasions strike the off side horse with one of the swingle-tree bars. Blows were struck behind the horse’s ears, on the ribs, and on the flanks. Witness cautioned accused on the first occasion when he struck the horse, and told him the penalties of the law for such conduct. The horse bled from the nose, but there was no cut visible. When witness spoke to accused in the afternoon he threw a stone at witness, and cut him on the iiead with it. Never had occasion to complain of Govin’s conduct before. By Mr. Branson—The first blow was struck behind the ear ; the second on the ribs and flank ; the third on the hips ; and, I think, the fourth between the ears, and the horse then dropped. I had had a little drink that day, but I was not drunk. Do not recollect when accused went away. The last time accused struck the horse I ran up, and told him to leave. The reason I did not interfere before was that I did not consider the blows serious enough to in j are the animal. I was not on horseback that day until I came to town. I then had three horses with me, and was not drunk. Mr. Branson—Then, l ain prepared to swear you were, for I saw you. Examination continued—l was stunned by the blow from the stone. Am indebted to Gavin for wages and also for a loan of money, but have not brought this action as a matter of spite. Am prepared to pay the amount I owe accused. Recollect Gavin saying to me, “ I don’t want to have anything to do with you, Charley, only pay me the money.” The horses are mine, but I did not think it necessary to take the horses away from accused. Constable Smart said lie arrested the accused, who stated he was innocent of the charge. Saw the horse which was said to have been beaten. One eye was partly closed, but could sec no marks of blows. Smithel shewed me a cut on his head, where, he said, accused had hit him with a stone. Blood was flowing- from the wound. By Mr Branson—Smithel had been drinking, but was quite capable of taking cave of himself. Mr. Branson characterised the evidence of Smithel as a tissue of falsehoods, and called Peter Gavin, the accused, who made a statement, the substance of which was that he had not struck the horse at all, that Smithel had got the wound on his head by falling from his horse while in a sttae of intoxication, and that the information was laid against witness by Smithel in consequence of the latter owing witness money. Sergeant Felton remembered prosecutor coming to the station and accusing Gavin of having ill-treated the horse. Smithel was the worse for liquor at the time. His Worship said the evidence was very conflicting, and as there was some doubt about the matter, the charge would be dismissed. ALLEGED LARCENY OF A £1 NOTE. Samuel Curie was charged with stealing a LI note from David Murray. Mr. Branson appeared for the defence, and after evidence had been taken of a very weak nature, bis Worship dismissed the case. ‘ Sergeant Felton bore testimony to the very excellent character which Curio had hitherto borne, and his Worship in discharging accused from custody, added that he would leave the Court without the slightest imputation on his character. CIVIL CASES. Borough Council v. Restel. Claim L 4 18s. Judgment by default for amount and costs. Branson and Parnell v. J. F. Francis. Claim LI Is. professional fee. Judgment by default for amount, and costs 18s. Meharry v. Wilson. Mr. Branson for plaintiff. Adjourned on the application of Mr. Crisp, for the defendant, until Friday, 27th inst., in order to allow time to obtain the attendance of a material witness, and to put in a set off. Wallace v. Walsh. Claim L 4 10s., which it was alleged defendant had become responsible for on behalf of one Harvey. Mr. O’Reilly for plaintiff; Mr. Crisp for defendant. This was a case which had been heard on a previous day, and it was then argued by Mr. Crisp that a document which was tendered as evidence was a promissory note, and as such required to be stamped to make it legal. The document was notatamed, and his Worship coinciding with Mr. Crisp, granted a nonsuit. At the rehearing yesterday, Mr. O’Reilly again put in the document as evidence, which purported to be a guarantee from Walsh to Wallace to become responsible for the sum of L 4 10s. due by George Harvey to plaintiff. Mr. Crisp protested against the paper being put in, as it was unstamped. Mr. O’Reilly said the document was not a promissory note, but merely a guarantee to pay a certain sum, and was in fact a simple agreement. The amount which was guaranteed was under L2O, and thus did not require to be stamped. Mr. Crisp, in reply, argued that the document was a badly drawn promissory note. The 50th clause of the Stamp Act referred to agreements being stamped with an adhesive stamp, and although no amount was specified in the clause, it was inferred that any agreement entered between two parties should be Stamped before it was binding. The reference to agreements under L2O made by Mr. O’Reilly was only inserted in the schedule to the Act, and the learned gentleman argued that no schedule to a statute could over-ride the clauses of the Act. His Worship ruled that the document was an agreement, and in the course of some observations, stated his opinion to be that documents of less value than L2O did not require stamps.

After hearing evidence on the merits of the case, his Worship gave judgment for plaintiff with costa, and expressed his regret that .no appeal could be made against his decision, as it would be satisfactory to have the doubtful matter set at rest as to whether agreements in which money to a less amount than L2O was involved required a stamp to make them legal. Wakanui Road Board v. T. Rattray.— Claim 7s. 6d., unpaid rates. Mr. J. Wilkie appeared for the Board. Defendant denied ownership of the house and section for which he was rated His Worship reminded Mr. Rattray that the proper time to have put in this plea was when the Assessment Court was sitting. Defendant’s name was on the roll, and the notice had been served, hence the Bench had no alternative but to give julgment for the amount and costs, 7s. Same v. Peter Rattray.— Claim 155., unpaid rates. Defendant said he contested the case on account of not having received the proper notice. When the demand for payment was made, he found the amount was in excess of what he had hitherto paid, and not having received a notice, he thought some error had been committed. Mr. Wilkie gave evidence that defendant’s name was on the roll, and Francis Wilkie, son of last witness, swore to leaving the legal notice at defendant’s house. Judgment was given for the amount claimed and costs, 7s.

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RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 142, 21 August 1880

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