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Peculiar Case.

A rather unusual case came before District Judge Broad at Nelson on the 26th ult.. when Margaret Hose, a domestic servant, sought to recovci. £50 damages from Elizabeth Martin for slander. It was alleged that defendant, on 17th July, falsely and maliciously spoke and published of the plaintiff the following words concerning her as a domestic servant:—" You have .caken £2 oxit of my cash box;" and also, "Its no use denying it, I would n.qt believe a word you say; you have taken the money,'' meaning that p'laintift" had stolen and taken away the money. From the evidence it appeared that Miss Martin, m whose father's service plaintiff' was, missed £2 from a cash box, and proceeding to the kitchen accused plaintiff. The defence was that there was no publication, inasmuch as the words had not been heard by anyone m the house. Mr Pitt, for plaintiff, contended that there was proof of publication, as a Mr Greenwood was told by Miss Martin that she had lost the money and was going to accuse the plaintiff, and it wag admitted that he heard the accusation being made. He said the action .was brought to clear the girl's character, as Miss Martin declined to apologise. Judge Broad said the law was that it was not sufficient speaking, and for publication it was necessary that some of the words or material words were not only spoken, but published. Though some charge, substantially the same m character, may at some other time have been made by defendant to Mi Greenwood, the proof seemed to fail that any of the very words set out were published to him at any time. Of course it was a very technical point, but he was bound to treat it so. Mr Greenwood's evidence was that he did not hear any of the words spoken. He thought the technical proof requisite for slander failed, and nonsuited the plaintiff, with costs £3 16s.

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Bibliographic details

Peculiar Case., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2540, 10 October 1890

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Peculiar Case. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2540, 10 October 1890