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Ihe Melbourne correspondent of an exchange writes — " Mr Justice Williams adopted an unusual coarse of procedure m a divorce salt a few days ago. Uls oue whloh has been muob debated In legal olrolea. The case was Kirk v Kirk, and ita details were of a highly unsavoury oharaoter, Kirk sued for a divorce from his wife, on the ground that alnoa they had been separated she had given birth to an illegitimate ohild. M?s Ktrk raised no objection to the divorce, aud everything was golpg merry as a marrlnge bell, if auoh a simile is alWable, until the jadge pat m his word. He saidenly electrified Klrk'fl oouasal by ordering the sheriff to call certain, witnesses whose names were not m the hill. Tbeio were aMr and Mra Smyth. After an adjournment Mrs Smyth iras obtained, and hfs Honor pat her fchroagh a stiff examination. She, like Mrs Kirk, waa living apart from her husband ; and her evidence In tho oaie was important because she iras acting as Kirk'i housekeeper. The. conclusion the jadge . came to, after gleaning all he could, was that Kirk wished to get » divoroß because he wanted to ba free to marry Mrs Smyth, whose demand for a divorce from Smyth was to have followed ; whilst Mra Kirk had an equal desire for a divorce beoutse she desired to marry the undisclosed father of her ohild. The only person who objeoted to the mutual arrangement was Bmyth, who was the deus ex machina behind the judge. Mis Smyth and Kirk both devoutly denied any impropriety, but neither of them oould explain away a letter from him to her while she atill mated with her husband, m whioh she was addressed as '• My dear o!d Toooher." Judge Williams did not consult Johmum or Webster as to the exaot kigni6eatioa of tho term "toucher,' but he evidemly did not consider it a legitimate form of address from a married man to another nun's wife. Mr Kirk was refused his divorce. Mr Justice Williams said he had no doubt whatever that the Coart had jurisdictoo to take the course it dad taken. When the Oouit had any doubt as to the faots alleged m a divorce suit, it was a dnty which was cast upon the Oouri to satin fy Itself as to the trn h of the faots alleged-


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Bibliographic details

AN ASTUTE JUDGE, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2103, 8 April 1889

Word Count

AN ASTUTE JUDGE Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2103, 8 April 1889