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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESAY, OCTOBER 22, 1890. WIFE DESERTION.

Wife desertion is a ooibmon occur.-: rence m the Australasian colonies. The population of the several colonies, being more or less of a moving character, facilities are afforded to unprincipled man to forsake their wives and children, nnft. leave them, either a burden upon the State, or a burden upon the private charity of relatives and friends. The lot of families thns deserted by cowardly breadwinners is one which calk forth, not only commiseration for their sufferings, but a righteous desire to punish husbands and fathers who thns prove untrue to the most sacred obligations and instincts of humanity. We are therefore glad to see that the police of New Zealand have m one instance brought a wife^deserter back to the colony, and that at the last sittings of the Timaru Supreme Court the offender was called upon to answer for his misdeeds. The man and his family, it appears, resided at Oamaru, and the husband suddenly departed without leaving his family any means of subsistence, or saying a word as to where he was going or what were his intentions. His wife, like everyone else acquainted with the circumstances, had not the slightest doubt that the man's intention was to rid himself of marital obligations which he found irksome; and this opinion was fully justified from the fact tfiat. accused, afterleaving the colony, did not send to his anxious relatives—meantime dependent upon public charity— a word as to his whereabouts, or the ■ wherewithal to provide for present needs. Everything pointed m the direction of the man being a wifedeserter, and his wife was prevailed upon to swear an information against him. Acting upon this authority it!>e police promptly obtained information as to accused's whereabouts, and he was arrested,on warrant m New South Wales and promptly brought back to New Zealand. After his return, however, and previous to his trial at 'the Supreme Court for wife-desertion, {accused secured aa interview with "his wife, and easily persuaded her that he did not mean to desert either herself or his children. The result of fchis was a family reconciliation, and jthe wife, when the charge came before;the Grand Jury, notwithstanding !her sworn statement to the contrary, stated that, since laying the information, she altered her opinions, and didinofc believe that her husband intended to forsake his family. This left the Grand Jury no option but to throw out the bill, and accused was discharged. Notwithstanding all;the expense the country had been put to m bringing accused back to Few Zealand, the wife at the last moment withdrew the prosecution, and her husband was allowed to escape the consequences of a cowardly act. What has occurred m the Oamaru case is likely to occur m almost every other case of wifedesertion where the husband is brought back from another colony. The presence of a husband exercises a subtle influence over his wife and family, and under hi* direction the ends of justice may easily be def«ate4—and the ends of justice m such a case fts that | from Oamaru would b« to inflict J such a punishment as would act as a warning to all other intending wifedeserfcet's that this despicable practice cannot be pursue^ with impunity, m this colony at least, if. deserted wives, however, after laying informations, against defaulting husbands, enter into 1 eompaete with accused persons to defeat the police, the' law introduced for the special protection pi women and .children will become a dead letter. The Authorities will become disheartened and dissatisfied, and will, relax their vigilance to secure the arrest of men who are the most heart-. leas criminals the police are culled upon to deal %ith. In order to place it beyond the power of wives to thus aid defaulters m defeating the ends of justice, \v& think the State should insist 1 upon' payment by prosecutrix or }ncr imsfcand •of ■•ftll 'costs incurred I n» to the stage at which the prosecution 't* This course would '*~ l**m Mb henefietolly m causing douov . -■-. .to be •proceeded with,'and prosecutions .-• -^tfd j JB taught >tfc> ■salutory,; lessons w*. ' "•*m«ilriHties' wifo-deserters that their re. J( **-»4,eJy to the State do not cease imrnecu.. they are restored to the bosoms of their ■forsaken families. lh £ the Oamaru case we understand assistance ?vas rendered to the deserted family during,

the absence of the breadwinner by the Charitable Aid Board, and we trust that this - body ",i\yill take steps to sue the husband for those disbursements. Unless the Bokrd do so they ['will not, fulfil oiie of thpmtpst isnportant ! publip functions'for which they hare' been called into existence, viz., to prevent the pockets of industrious taxpayers being picked m order to provide for the wants of families the heads of whoni have not sufficient main hood to fulfil "marital ob'ligatioiis. 1

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Bibliographic details

The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESAY, OCTOBER 22, 1890. WIFE DESERTION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2550, 22 October 1890

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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESAY, OCTOBER 22, 1890. WIFE DESERTION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2550, 22 October 1890

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