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THE COURTS.-TO-DAY., Issue 7940, 22 June 1889
♦ ■ ■ SUPREME COURT—CIVIL SITTINGS. (Before His Honor Mr Justice Williams.) WINMILL AND OTHERS V. OALLIE. A suit to test the validity of the will of the late John Gallie. Mr Praser appeared on behalf of the plaintiff?, and Mr P. R. Chapman for defendant. This case was resumed at ten o'clock today, Mr Chapman continuing his address to the Court. As to the question of the delay in taking the proceedings, counsel submitted that it was incumbent on the party alleging the incompetency of the testator to prove it —that at that date after the testator's death the burden must, when the propo uent had once established the /avium of the will, be oast upon those who opposed the will. When he came to deal with the evidence he would, notwithstanding his learned friend's denunciations of family evidence, rely strongly upon family evidence, and especially strongly upon the evidence of one or two of the family and of Mrs Joseph and Francis Joseph. As to the testatory competency of Gallie when he made the will, counsel submitted that it was only the lowest degree of competency that he had to prove, and that it was only the lowest degree of proof that was required from him. If he proved the execution of the will by the best evidence available, and if he proved testamentary capacity—if called upon to prove it at ailby evidence however slight—by anything that would give the Court fair grounds for supposing that the man, even if he was of depreciated intellect, had an inteilect capable of recognising his property and of knowing the extent of his familyhe submitted that ho had discharged the burdens imposed upon him in the peculiar circumstances of the case. In connection with the evidence that had been given a 9 to Gallie's showing no resentment at derogatory personal remarks made in his hearing, counsel submitted that for some time prior to his death Gallie must have known that his appearance was that of an afHicted old man, and had gradually become used to being treated as such. The matter of his belt had been made much of, but all that really appeared was that this belt was a sort of standing joke in the family, and it had not been proved that he had a fixed delusion that it contained LSO in notes, and that it must therefore be guarded with great care. If it had been stuffed with papers and Gallie then had the delusion that these papers were bank notes, no doubt that would Bhow a certain amount of insanity ; but such had not been proved. The other side, again, had not called as witnesses the class of people that had known Gallie best in his latter days, and from the whole of the evidence that had been given it was incredible to assume that he could not answer the test of knowing; what he was doing with his property when he made his will. Counsel submitted that his side had lost by the death of Mr Joseph's brother. The evidence as to Gallie's chopping wood and going about the streets without a coat on was of little value, because in those primitivo days almost everyone here used to chop his own wood, and it was quite a common thing for men to go about in their shirt-sleeves. Counsel would ask the Court to put aside altogether the evidence for the oilier side that Gallic was a cipher in his own house, and rather take the evidence of those witness™ who knew liini intimately mid Imd deponed Mint he wan a man who could carry "ii sonelide convermiliono. Tlicn as to lite drawing up of the will. Mr iSicvwriglit, who drew it up, was a man of some experience in his profession ; he was a man in large practice, and there was therefore every probability that he had satisfied himself that Gallie knew what he was about in instructing him in connection with the will. The text of the will showed that Sicvwright cither knew beforehand or ascertained by being told by Gallie the latter's calling and position with regard to property—he must have been told these things by Gallie directly, or else in answer to direct questions. The will showed on its face a distinct decision on Gallie's part, and it showed not that he had disinherited any member of his family, but had provided undoubted protection for all of them. His children were at that time all infants.
Mr Fraser interjected the remark that the respective ages of the children at the time were as follow:—20, 18, 16, 11, 12, 9, and 7.
Mr Chapman continued that all the children were entitled to look for protection under the will—it could, of course, apply only to those who chose to remain as members of the household and receive alimentary aid, ;md not to those who chose to run away. Sievwright had stated that he could not remember the conversations in connection with the drawing up of the will, and counsel submitted that if Sievwright had failed to understand anything that Gallie had said he would probably have remarked it at the time and remembered it.
His Honor: Might it not be suggested that Mr Sievwright asked Mrs Gallie the question ? Mr Fraser : Exactly so. Mr Chapman admitted that truly that might be suggested, but it could only be suggested and had not been proved. Possibly Mrs Gallic might have been asked by Sievwright for an explanation of any word of Gallic's that might have been diliicult to understand through the impediment in his speech. The will had the regular attcstatory clause, the effect of which is to certify that a will has been duly executed in the presence of the witnesses who signed it. He (counsel) had called one of the witnesses in Mr Sievwright, while the other witness—Reid—was living in Dunediu some years after the execution of the will. Mr Fraser remarked that there was no evidence of any effort on his learned friend's part to find Reid, and ho must therefore object to this line being followed. Mr Chapman said it was within his own recollection that Reid had remained in Dunedin some time after the date of the will, aud endeavors had been made to find him in order that he might give evidence. Mr Fraser said he must object to mere personal recollection on the part of counsel, Mr Chapman said it would probably be remembered by His Honor that Reid gave evidence in the prosecution of one VVyber for perjury, which took place two or three years after Gallie made his will. His Honor said that he remembered the case, but ruled that the point as to Rcid's presence here after the execution of the- will should not bo pursued. At this utago tho wuio wii'i adjourned till Friday next. Ull'V POLICE COURT, (Ikd'tri; A!aw;; A. Marllcmiui iu.ul Colin Allan, J.P.s.) DnijNKKNNii.ss.--One first offender was summarily dealt with. Elkn Wilson (twenty-three previous convictions) was fined 20s, in default seven days' imprisonment; Mary Lane (seven previous convictions), 20s, in default forty-eight hours' imprisonment ; while John Horacroft (thirteen previous convictions) was mulcted in a like penalty with a similar alternative. False Pketences.— William Jones was charged with obtaining on the 15th inst., by means of false pretences, board and lodging to the extent of LI 12s from Jane Chapman. Accused pleaded guilty.—The Bench said that before convicting accused they would prefer to have particulars furnished them. —Chief-detective Henderson said accused had resorted to a novel yet systematically executed manner of obtaining board and lodging. The prosecutrix had inserted an advertisement in the daily papers, and accused came to her house, representing that he was engaged at work at the Exhibition, and that he had previously been in Christchurch, having arrived por Manapouri from Lyttelton. After making arrangements to how the board money was to be paid, he settled down properly to work. He used to leave the house about a quarter to eight in the morning, taking his lunch with him, and he would return about half-past five. Mrs Chapman had been very kind to him during his stay in her house. Last Saturday morning, however, ho disappeared, and tho prosecutrix becoming suspicious opened a largo parcel which he had placed under his bed, and found it to be "a dummy." Tho police were iuformed, and accused was. arrested by Detective Walker in tho Athenaeum, where he was reading & periodica!. He bad aouie cold
lunch in his pocket, but would not tell the police whore he was boarding. The police knew nothing about him—they did not know whether Jones was his name or not. — Accused was sentenced to fourteen days' imprisonment, with hard labor.
THE COURTS.-TO-DAY., Issue 7940, 22 June 1889
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