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More Beer Duty Prosecutions.

Since the publication of ourpreviousarticle on the recent beer duty prosecutions in Auckland, we (‘ Rangitikei Advoctate ’) have gleaned further important information, which proves that matters were far worse than wo thought. It seems that there were a whole series of charges, and the heaviest penalty inflicted in any case was only forty shillings. In one instance, there were no less than four convictions against the same individual, and he was fined in a sum of ten shillings in each case, making the aggregate penalty of only two pounds, in a number of other cases the defendants pleaded guilty, but as the stamps were missing altogether, they asserted that they had been removed by rats whilst the casks were in the cellars, and this excuse being accepted, they were let off without any penalty. The Crown Prosecutor took the extraordinary course of asking for merely nominal penalties in all of the cases. Why did he act in this manner ? Had he received a hint from the Commissioner ‘1 The Resident Magistrate intimated that he had been prepared to inflict exemplary penalties, hut that the line taken up by the Crown Prosecutor had removed a disagreeable duty from his shoulders. As the Crown was content to let the offenders off with nominal fines, ot course Dr Giles had no option bat to follow the course indicated by the Crown’s representative. It must be remembered that Sir Harry Atkinson is now Commissioner of Customs. What explanation will he have to give of the way in which those cases were dealt with should the matter be brought before Parliament, as it most certainly should be ? How will ho reconcile it with the course pursued in hounding the late Commissioner of Customs out of his Ministry ? The Junction Brewery had omitted to enter receipt of fifty bags of malt. When the managing director, Mr Gilmer, was notified of the omission, he offered to pay not only the duty , hut any fine, that the Government might infiicL The Commissioner recommended that his offer should be accepted in accordance with the practice of the department a practice which had obtained for years. He might himself have accepted the offer of Mr Gilmer without referring the matter to the Premier at all, because it was merely a departmental question. As a matter of fact, sixteen days after the commission of Mr Gilmer’s offence, Mr Staples had neglected to pay duty on seventy-three hogsheads of beer, and the Collector of Customs had cordoned his offence on condition of his paying the deficient duty without any fine at all. The Commissioner recommends the condoning of a much smaller offence, on condition that not only the deficient duty but the maximum fine shall be paid, and for this action he is worried out of the Government with every species of indignity. Truly wo live in strange times, and in a peculiar country. Circumstances most certainly do alter cases.

Speaking at the French Club, Sydney, recently. Dr Garran said that freedom had gradually and quietly permeated the whole of Australian society, and the last traces of the early convict system had disappeared without a blow. We are, it is said, to have a Royal doctoress. The wife of the Archduke Charles Theodore of Austria, who has for some time past skilfully assisted her husband—who practises as a medical man near Moran—in performing the more serious of his operations, has determined to pass the examination which will place her on the list of qualified doctors. She is now busily engaged reading up, with her husband as her coach, for the stiff ordeal. In savage countries yvoman is a beast of burden; in Turkey, a plaything; in Europe, something between the two.

Ten miles and three- quarters_ is the range that the French have obtained for the forty-three-ton gun, thirty-five feet long, with an Scwt projectile and 4251b of powder.

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More Beer Duty Prosecutions., Issue 7978, 6 August 1889

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More Beer Duty Prosecutions. Issue 7978, 6 August 1889

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