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A VICTORIAN LIBEL ACTION.

£FlO« OUaMILBOUBICB COBBESrONDBNT.]

Victorians, like Englishmen, are proud of the liberty they possess, and what is known as freedom of speech ; but the ooalltion Government under which we lire, and which seeks to follow at a respeotfnl distance something of the style of Lord Salisbury and hit government at Home, is resolved to penal: Be anything that may appear derogatory to the dignity of the Btate. A gentleman named Eioke, with more eloquence than discretion, made some very disparaging remarks the other day at a public meeting of licensed victuallers against Judge Moletworth. This young judge has a peculiar mode of emiling sweetly when fie is about to do something extremely harsh — at least harßh m the opinion of Mr Eicke and bis friends. For instance, • publican who bad infringed the law to an extent beyond statutory forbearance, was, aoeordlng to his brothers-in-arms, or rather In liquor, moloted In a fine of £7,ooo— tba forfeiture of his lioense, consequent upon a third oonvlotlon of violating the Licensing Act, being set down si equal to that amount, and of whtoh he would, therefore, be to that exlent a loser. Mr Bloke, on the publican's behalf, made a very eloquent declaration, and Insinuated amongst other tbinga that la hlsdecltlon the Judge was prompted by A desire te placate the Government, and thereby possibly obtain the vaoanoy on the Supreme Court Bench rather than by a with to dispense justice to thoie who came before him* Tbe matter bat been under the consideration of the Cabinet, and the question has arisen whether Mr Bloke should not be brought to his bearings for indulgence In snoh freedom of speech. Judge M olesworth was communicated with In the first Instance, Informed of bis powers, and asked whether It were not advisable that he should isiue an attachment against the trooulent Mr Eioke, and deal with bim sis he thought proper. The youthful jadge, however, whether from contempt for tbe individual, oi fearing the oonstruo* tlon whtoh the public might plaoe upon the matter, declined to take any notloe of the libellous remarks. Not so the Cabinet; and It hat now been deoided that a presentment shall be made out by the Attorney-General, ohargtng Mr Eioke with «rlntlnaf libel, and rendering him liable to the oonsequenoesof his rather frank avowal et Ills opinions, So much for thi freedom

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890227.2.22

Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2074, 27 February 1889

Word Count
396

A VICTORIAN LIBEL ACTION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2074, 27 February 1889

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