SUPREME COURT-CIVIL SITTINGS.
(Before His Honor Mr Justice Williams and a special jury of twelve.)
Bank of New Zealand v. Wilsos, Taine, and Co.—ln this case the bank claims L 2.507 15s 1 Id, due on an overdraft and on bills. There is also a cross-action is which the defendants claim from the bsnk LIO.OOO damages for injury to their credit through the bank's having dishonored their cheques for wool bought while their wool account was in funds. The two actions were, for the sake of convenience, heard as one.
MrHaggitt, with him Mr F. R. Chapman, appeared for the bank ; Sir R. Stout, with him Mr J. Macgrqgor, for Wilson, Taine, and Co. The first witness examined on behalf of the bank was Andrew Ferguson Mackay, manager at Invercargill since September, 1886. Wilson, Taine, and Co. had an account with the bank when he went there. When witness first took up that account it was about L 2.000 overdrawn, that amount covering past due bills. Before witness arrived, the existing arrangement waß that the firm could overdraw up to but not exceeding L 2,000, exclusive of past due bills. That arrangement was never altered, except on the 19th December last. Witness did not find the account easy to keep within the limits. He had to write frequent letters to the partners, and have frequent interviews with them. The principal burden of the interviews between the partners and witness was their not keeping within the limit made. Witness got a balance-sheet from Taine on the Bth December, 1888. The firm showed their indebtedness to be L 2.908, and at the time he had no reason to doubt its accuracy. Prior to the receipt of the balance-sheet and afterwards witness was pressing the firm to reduce their liability to the bank. Taine held out hopes that his father would supply the firm with capital if required, and last year he said the wool season would put their account in an entirely different complexion, because a number of their clients owed them money which they would get out of them in wool. In reference to the opening of account No. 3, witness said that Taine said they wanted to open a No. 3 account for the purpose of making advances to their wool clients to whom they had already made advances, and that at the end of the season—at the wool sales—the amount would be cleared off. Witness replied that the bank, did not care to increase its advances to the firm, as they already well knew. Mr Taine assured him that he thought L3OO would be all that they required; that there was every possibility of having a good sale, which would enable them to make the reductions they had promised before; that they would draw a cheque on the No. 3 account, as they were already out L3OO, and credit it to the ordinary account. The account was opened as a new account, and the first item debited to it was the L3OO cheque drawn by Mr Taine. He said nothing about paying their constituents by cheques drawn on their No, 3 account, nor did he say anything about transferring the balance of the No. 3 account to the No. 1 account. He made no reference to the treatment of any credit balance there might be at the No. 3 accoont, except that after the wool Bales the promised reductions would be made. Near the end of December witness wrote to the firm and to Taine personally, informing them that the limit of the advances on Nos. 1 and 3 accounts was to be confined to L 2,150, and the overdue bills were to be worked down as speedily as possible. On the 22nd January witness again wrote to the firm with reference to the bills, but there were no further letters until the 13th February, the reason being that No. 3 account was in credit and the total indebtedness was reduced within the limits. On the 21st January the ordinary (No. 1) account was L 2.027, and the No. 3 L 390 overdrawn. He should have said that from the 20th January the ordinary account was within its limit or close to it. On the 22nd February the ordinary account was L 2,115 overdrawn, No. 2 L 146 (at which it remained all through), and No. 3 L 390. Witness gave the state of the No. 1 account at different successive dates down to February 15, when it was L 2.009 overdrawn. The past due bills in July amounted to L 246, and on February 13 they stood at L 1,054. Witness was constantly hammering at Mr Taine to have something done with the past due bills, and he as repeatedly promised to attend to them. In December Mr Taine told witness that two bills amounting to L2OO, that were included in the list of past due bills, had been paid to the firm before maturity, and wished to have them debited to the firm. Witness declined to do so, and said the firm would have to provide for the bills. Mr Taine promised to do so, but had not complied with the promise. Witness continued at great length his evidence as to the negotiations and conversations that took place between him and the members of the firm. Wilson promised that when the wool sales were over the firm's account should be entirely to the bank's satisfaction. Witness never had Wilson and Taine together in his room until February 15. He asked them what money they had brought, as there were a number of oheques requiring attention—none had at that time been dishonored, as witness was holding them over pending the interview. Wilson said they had L3OO. Witness said the cheques amounted to L4OO, and that some was drawn on No. 1 account and some on No. 3 account. Wilson said the cheques on No. 3 account were provided for, but witness replied that they were not—taking the past due bills and the account together. Wilson asked the amount of the bills, and seemed somewhat staggered when told that they were abont LI.OOO. He said, however, that witness need not alarm himself abont them, as they were perfectly good. They included LSOO or L6OO worth that had been already paid by the acceptors to the firm, but Wilson did not say a syllable about that. ( Wilson asked for particulars of the other accounts, and witness gave him a note of them. The ordinary account was L 2.009 overdrawn; the over due bills were L 1,086 : No 2 account L 146 overdrawn ; and No. 3 account L 903 in credit—leaving a total indebtedness of L 2,338. Witness said that i if they paid in the L3OO they spoke of he I would pay L4OO wi/rth of chequed, but they did not do so, and witness never saw the L3oo—if they had it. After further conversation witness said that the bank treated all the firm's accounts as one, and that matters had now eomo to a point. Wilson made a proposition as to paying in certain sums on certain dates, but witness told him that he questioned the firm's ability to do so. Wilson tried hard to get witness to pay the cheques, but witness told him he would simply carry out his instructions—the bank's money was not his, and if Wilson had no better proposal to make he would not pay the cheques. Witness said they should wire to Taine's father at Auckland, as their position was become very critical. Wilson said Taine would not answer a telegram, but he (Wilson) was perfectly satisfied that Taine | would find the money, but that it would take time. Witness told them they must come to some decision at once, but nothing was done, and they left the bank at about 4 p.m. There were then waiting cheques on No, 1 and No. 3 accounts, and all the cheques were dishonored simultaneously. Witness had never been told by Wilson that he could get his firm's account taken by another bank. He had several times told Wilson, when the latter was complaining of being ill-treated by the bank, that he need not hesitate to take his account elsewhere. The witness was orbw-w mined at great
length by Sir R. Stout, and was still in the witness-box when we went to press.
RESIDENT MAGISTRATE'S COURT.
(Before E. H. Carew, Esq., R.M.)
George M'Gavin v. W. Wright (Naseby). —Claim, L7C 1-ia, on a promissory note, with interest. Mr Macdonald appeared for plaintiff.—His Worship gave judgment for tho amount of the priucipal (LOO), with costs.—Defendant did not appear. J. D. Wilson (trading as Wilson Bros.) v. Edmund A. Harris.—Claim, L 3, on a dishonored cheque.—Judgment for plaintiff by default. John Reid and Sons v. James Dickison Claim, Ll6, commission at 2 per cent, on the sale of section 62, block 5, Dunedin. Mr J. Macgregor appeared for plaintiffs ; Mr Sim for defendant.—After some evidence had been taken the_ further hearing was adjourned, on plaintiffb' application, until this day week. G. L. Denniston, William Gregg, and William Taylor (assigneec of the book debts of Mercer Bros.) v. Annie Guthrie.—Claim, L 47 15a Sd, for goods supplied. Mr Finch for plaintiffs; Mr Sim for defendantJudgment was given for plaintiff with costs. Same v. George Smyth.—Claim, L 23 5s lid, goods supplied. Mr Finch for plaintiffs ; Mr Solomon for defendant. It appeared that the notice of assignment to plaintiffs was sent to Mrs Smith instead of her husband, and plaintiffs were nonsuited. Thomson, Bridger, and Co. v. J. Calder. —Claim, LIS Os 2d, for building material supplied. Mr Hosking appeared for plaintill'. [Left sitting.] CITY POLICE COURT. (Before J. Elmer and T. M. and F. Wilkinson, J.P.s.) Drunkenness. For this offence John Horncroft (twelve previous convictions) was convicted and discharged, it being three years sinco ho last appeared at the Court. Mary Ellen Mahoney (with twenty-two previous convictions) was fined 10s, in default twenty-four hours', on a similar charge. Vagrancy.—lessee Harvey was charged with having insufficient lawful means of support. Accused pleaded guilty, and Sergeant major Bevin explained that she was a very bad character.—She was sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labor.
A Bad Practice.—-Alexander Findlater was charged with throwing stones on the Bth inst. at South Dunedin.—Sergeant Macdonnell explained that accused was the worse of drink, and threw a large stone from one sido of the street to the other on the day mentioned. —Accused said he had been tormented by larrikins, and had been goaded to throwing a stone. Sergeant Macdonnell, ho Baid, had a down on him and his wife, and had tried to get him into trouble,— Evideuco as to accused throwing the stone was given by John Lewis, who stated that the former was the worse of liquor.—The Bench fined accused 2s 6d with costs (16s), ill default one week's imprisonment.
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THE COURTS.-TO-DAY., Evening Star, Issue 7937, 19 June 1889
THE COURTS.-TO-DAY. Evening Star, Issue 7937, 19 June 1889
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