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ASHBURTQN.— To-day. (Before Mr. Nugent Wood, R. M.) breaches of the, by-laws. A charge, against John Werner, for 1 allowing a horse to wander at large, was dismissed, defendant pleading that the horse was not at large, but tethered on a section. A fresh summons was ordered to issue. Thomas Hicks was fined ss. for allowing a horse to wander at large. , , , , assault.. A cr6?s action for assault, in which two parties 1 named'' Fleming "and Anderson were in turn plaintiff and defendant, was dismissed on the ground of a question of title being involved.' alleged watch stealing. Arthur O’Neil was charged with stealing a watch. • An application by Mr. Wilding’s managing clerk for an adjournment, in consequence 1 of that gentleman having missed the down train, was objected to, by counsel on the ground of the appearing gentleman having no locus standi in the Court. His Worship decided to go on with the case, Mr. Branson appearing for the accused. Constable Treveljn deponed to arresting accused, and explaining the charge to him. Sergeant Felton gave evidence that, on November 28, he received the watch produced from James Quinn, watchmaker. On April 7, 1879, he received the receipt produced from Robert Mclntyre, who reported having had a watch stolen, which he described. Witness saw O’Neill in the lock-up, who said, “ Why did not you arrest me before, Sergeant ? I have been expecting it, and shall be glad to have the matter settled now.” By Mr. Branson —Had conversations with Mclntyre. He stated there was illfeeling between him and O’Neill. About November 24 Mclntyre asked witness if he was going to arrest accused for stealing his watch. Witness said he intended tomake further inquiries first. He said, “ Oh, he’s a bad lot. I endorsed a bill for him for L 42, and he has let me in for it, and I have had to pay the money. I’m glad you’ve got the chance of serving him out, and I don’t care a d if it costs meLIOO.” Know a man named Thomas Bradford, who filed his schedule some time ago. Was asked to assist the bankruptcy officers, as it was believed that Mclntyre had some of the goods. . Robert Mclntyre, farmer, sworn—On November 5, 1879, I lost my watch from my vest pocket, which was lying on a little bush in a paddock where we were stacking. I left it at 8 a.m., and at 11 a.m., Could not find it. The watch produced is the one I lost. It is now more worn. . Did not then suspect anybody. O’Neill was there at the time, helping to cart oats in the paddock where the watch was lost. I was on friendly terms with him then, and we have never quarrelled. He has let me in for some money. The paddock has not been since ploughed. It has a high gorse fence round it. There is no right of way through it The vest.was a chain and a half from the stable, and half a chain past the station. O’Neill was about my place for some months afterwards. There was a leather lace attached to the watch when I lost it. I know Thomas Bradford. Have not seen him lately. I know James Porter. O’Neill was working with him in 1879. I saw the watch for the first time since I lost it at Quinn’s, when it was given to Sergeant Felton. Cross-examined by Mr. Branson—l asked some of the men to search the stack for the watch, as they were saying it might be there. I did not ask them to sea°rch there. The watch was loose in my pocket ; it might have slipped out. There was no one else in the paddock but accused, his wife, and myself and my wife. I was in the house several times from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. When I missed the watch I mentioned [it to O’Neill. The men were threshing about there after the stacking. O’Neill said, perhaps the watch was in the bush. I did.not accuse him of taking it till the stack was threshed, as I knew there was no one else about.

James Porter, dairyman, was examined, and cross-examined by Mr. Branson, and gave some very contradictory evidence. James Quinn, watchmaker, sworn— Thomas Bradford came to me at my shop on Nov, 12, and subsequently the same afternoon at Butler’s Hotel with the watch produced, which he sold to me for LI. Next morning I found that the watch answered the description of that lost by Mclntyre a year before. Got the number from Mclntyre, and found it was the same. Then handed it to Sergeant Felton. It appearad to be trodden on, but probably not exposed long to the weather. It could not possibly have been two winters in the ground- 1 had the watch put in proper repair. I should value it at about L 4 10s.

By Mr. Branson —If the watch had been picked up among straw it would not bo exposed and would not suffer. It did not appear to have been brushed up before it was brought to me. By the Couri-—Bradford said he had found the watch, but he did not say where.

Thomas Bradford, laborer, sworn—l went to Mr. Quinn’s with a watch in November. The one produced is like it, but it was not in the same state. It was quite dark in color. Witness found the watch in Mclntyre’s paddock close to his stock yard, near the house. I was attracted by something bright lying in the paddock. Found it was the watch which was almost buried. There was a piece of leather lace and a key attached. This is not the same statement I made to his Worship when I was here before. Was not on my oath then. The watch had been in my possession for about eighteen months when I took it to Mr. Quinn. Mr. Branson submitted that after this evidence, there was no case against his client.

By Mr. Branson^—Was ploughing for Mclntyre when I found the watch. Never gave the watch to O’Neill, and was not aware that he ever had it in his possession. I rubbed up the watch when I got it. This closed the case for the prosecution, and Mr. Branson then addressed the Bench, pointing out the discrepancies in the evidence of the witness Porter, and characterising the case as one of a conspiracy brought forward by M‘lntyre to persecute the accused, against whom he had a spite. His Worship discharged the accused, remarking there was nothing whatever to connect the watch with accused.

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Bibliographic details

RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 227, 28 December 1880

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RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 227, 28 December 1880