Councillor Robinson’s Trouble with His Neighbor’s Fowls.
In a case that was heard this morning, Mr. G. M. Robinson sued Mr. George Watts, of the Central Temperance Hotel, for L 5, alleged damage done to plaintiff’s crop of.cauliflower, cabbages, and brocoli, by the persistent trespass and rapacity of defendant’s fowls upon plaintiff’s garden plot. Mr. Branson championed the grain buyer, and Mr. Wilding kept the case straight for the boarding-house keeper. G. M. Robinson, sworn, said he resided in Havelock street. Watts was a ■ neighbor of his, and owned a number of fowls which were allowed to trespass over his (witness’s) garden. They were very troublesome, and had' for the last fifteen weeks or so been a great annoyance. There were from ten to twenty of the fowls, and Watts had stoned them out of witness’s garden last Sunday week, saying that one of them was not his, but he took possession of the remainder and drove them upon his own premises. The fowls had nipped the hearts out of the forty or so of the cauliflowers, and out of a hundred cabbage and brocoli plants—the vegetables were totally destroyed. By Mr. Wilding—l knew the fowls were Watts’, because when driven out of my ground they always ran into Watts’ place. They were all sorts —common fowls. Went to Watts, and he promised to keep the fowls in in future, but they only disappeared for a few days, and then came back to my garden. I was never troubled with anybody’s fowls till Watts came to the place. By Mr. Branson—Watts told me he purchased the fowls from the man who had the boardinghouse before him. I estimate my loss at 3d. per plant destroyed. ’ :George Watts—l keep my fowls in a close built house, and I have taken reasonable care to have them kept shut up. Mr. Robinson came one day and complained to' me that my fowls annoyed him. I kept them up to the best of my ability. Had not taken particular notice of the days of the month, hut when Mr. Robinson complained to me, the fowls had been shut up for a good while. Other neighbors keep fowls as well as I, and I have frequently to drive away their fowls from my place. I have about forty fowls, and on one occasion Robinson asked me to come and drive away my fowls from hia garden. There were five fowls in the garden, but only three were mine. I drove them away, and those that were not mine wont up towards Hicks’ place. I made my fowlhouse secure, hut cannot always be about to see that the fowls are not astray. Robinson’s ground was trespassed upon to a certain extent, but the mischief done is not nearly so much as he said it was. I have bought cabbage plants at Is. a hundred, and cauliflower at 2d. and l£d. each. Mr Branson, in addressing the Bench, said the case was brought not with a view to secure damages but with a view to prevent the defendant’s fowls from devastating the plaintiff’s garden. It was no use contending that other people’s fowls had trespassed as well; defendant was responsible for the whole mischief done by his own fowls and those of his co-wrongdoers, and the action was brought to teach people that they must be careful to keep in check such wild animals as those fowls of Mr Watt’s. After Mr. Wilding had addressed the Bench, asking that only nominal damages should be allowed, and only the lowest professional foe, Mr. Branson suggested to him that it was injudicious to quarrel with his bread and butter.
His Worship gave judgment for plaintiff for 12s. and costs, the 12s. representing forty cauliflowers at 3d. each, and a hundred cabbages and broccoli at 2s. a hundred, and the costs, professional and Court fees.
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