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SHOPKEEPER IN COURT. . (Per Press Association.) \ AUCKLAND, February 18. i' Joseph Wachner was charged m the [Police Court this morning that he assaulted J. P. Ridings, Collector of Customs, and J. S. Higginson, Customs officer, and obstructed them in the | execution of their duty. The Customs Department stated that two officers of the Department went to search Wachner's shop because there was reason to believe that he was selling to retail dealers cigarettes on which duty had not been paid. The officers were armod with proper authority to search, but Wachner, when he learned their mission, flew into a great passion, called them thieves, and resisted the search. The Collector of Customs was sent/for and he arrived with a " writ of assistance," whiph was a^v authority goving i him very far-reaching powers.; This was explained to Wachner, but. he simply became infuriated, called , the men " expert thieves," instructing his assistants to keep a close watch on their hands, and threatened to_ fight while he assumed pugilistic attitudes.. The burden of his complaint was that they must get a search warrant if they wished to search the premises, and he refused to recognise any other authority. The. Collector of Customs then sent for a constable, whose appearance had the effect of quickly calming the shopkeeper a.nd enabling the search to be proceeded with. No v uncustomed goods were found on the premises. The Customs Department could have proceeded under the Customs Act, in which case the Magistrate would have no option but to impose imprisonment of not less than six months or more than nine months, but as no physical violence had been actually used the charge had not been laid under the Customs Act but in the ordinary way. What the Denartment wanted to do was to warn Wachner and other people of excitable temperament that the authorities of the Customs officers rendered a search warrant'unnecessary and that such officers roust not be obstructed or insulted when they were doing their duty. Defendant was convicted and ordered to pay £4 14s 6d costs, as the offence was not likely to be repeated and as no uncustomed goods had been found in the place. ' I

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Bibliographic details

RESISTING A SEARCH., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8798, 19 February 1914

Word Count

RESISTING A SEARCH. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8798, 19 February 1914