SUPREME COURT.-DIVORCE AND MATRIMONIAL CAUSES DIVISION.
(Before His Honor Mr Justice Williams and a Special Jury of twelve.)
D'Albedyhll v. D'Albedyhll,—Suit for dissolution of marriage. The following were sworn in as a special jury:—Messrs G. L. Denniston (foreman), L. D. Nicol, W. A. Todd, J. D. Dunn, F. Marshall, W. Davidson, J. Anderson, J. Dow, T. Baird, A. R. Livingston, J. Gow, and W. B. Boyd. Dr Fitchett appeared for the petitioner ; Mr F. R. Chapman, with him Mr A. S. Adams, for respondent.
Dr Fitchett said this was a suit for a dissolution of marriage and for the custody of a child, the petitioner being the wife. It was one of those painful cases in which a long course of matrimonial differences led a jury being appealed to for a decision as to whether the two parties should live together any longer. They were married at Nelson in 1865, and subsequently lived at Auckland, Hokitika, Wanganui, and Dunedin. They had four children, of whom only one was now alive. In the year 1870 he committed adultery with their servant girl, Victoria Grant, at Hokitika, and in subsequent years he behaved improperly with Eliza Jane Matthews, another servant. In 1877 and 1878 he used to treat his wife badly. He would seize her by the hair, drag her about the room, and use violent language to her. This conduct caused her great pain and terror. He also tried to strangle her, and once, jußt before her confinement, told her that he hoped she would not recover and that the child would die with her. When visitors were at their house he used to put his hands on her, as though caressing her, but in reality he was pinching her all the time. In 1983 he seized her by the shoulder and threw her down stairs, and in the following year he nearly strangled her while she was getting into bed with her child —her neck and han3s were torn and bruised in the struggle. He used to Bay that if it were not for the law he would make away with her. He was subject to violent fits of passion, in which he used to commit these acts of violence. He waa guilty of ,\cts of indecency or impropriety with their servants (at different times) Lizzie Sims and Maggie May. A few years back petitioner was left LI,OOO by her father, and respondent (by means of threats) induced her to let him get the money, and she could not recover it till she sued him, and got it by law. This made him all the more embittered, and he subsequently induced Mr Brunton to libel her by accusing her of having committed bigamy, and a daughter by a former marriage of having committed incest. The petitioner sued Mr Brunton and recovered L2OO damages. Respondent refused to treat petitioner as his wife and compelled her to live in unhealthy lodgings. He also tortured her by trying to alienate from her the affections of her child. In April, ISBB, he made her an allowance of LI per week and arranged that they should live apart, but two months after he broke through the arrangement and wantel her to live with him again. Petitioner, however, was too terrified of him to consent to do so, and now brought this suit for a dissolution of marriage. Counsel submitted that if he proved a tithe of what he had stated the jury would agree that it was not right for these two people to be tied together any longer. The respondent's reply to the petition was simply a specific denial of every statement of the petitioner, and he denied having at any time been lawfully married to her. Elizabeth D'Albedyhll, petitioner, gave evidence in support of counsel's opening i statement, and also produced the certificate J of her marriage with respondent, which took place at Nelson on July 29, 1865. Mr Chapman : That is all the proof of ] marriage we wish to put the petitioner to. His Honor: On the pleadings there is a denial of marriage; do I understand that that plea is now withdrawn ? Mr Chapman: Yes, your Honor. Witness continued that trouble between herself and her husband began a few months after their marriage. In 1870, when they resided at Hokitika, respond mt got up early one morning, and witnpsa shortly afterwards heard a scuffls. On opening her bedroom door she saw the servant-girl come out of her room, followed by respondent. The girl said that respondent had been taking improper liberties with her. Witness went to the kitchen to get something to hit him with, being very angry, but he locked himself in another room. The girl dressed herself and left the house at once, for good. Respondent confessed to witness that he had taken improper liberties with the girl. From that time to 1877 there was continual quarrelling and unpleasantness. In the last-named year they were living in Melville street, Dunedin, and a girl named Eliza Matthews, half servant and half companion, lived with them. One day witness was out, and returning home earlier than was expected she found the girl having a bath in the kitchen and respondent engaged in washing her. Witness threw a blacking brush at him, whereon he disappeared, and she then took up a stick and struck the girl with it. She told respondent that the girl must go, but he refused to let her go, saying she was as good as witness. Another day she found respondent in the girl's bedroom while the girl was in bed. After some trouble and time witness forced her to leave the house. During 1877 and 1878 respondent used to seize witness by the hair and drag her about the house. He also
used bad language towards her, calling her low names, intimidating her, and saying that she was not his wife, had been guilty of bigamy, and the like. Her first husband died in 1863—he was lost in the ship Raglan, which disappeared in that year, and was never heard of again. Respondent used to frighten her by saying that she had committed bigamy by marrying him before she had proof of her first husband's death, but she knew the law better now. She married respondent in her maiden name, because she was under age when she married her first husband. Respondent was fully awave of all these facts before he married her, as was proved by a letter (produced in a fragmentary condition) dated 1865, and expressing his gladness at being told of her previous history. She had a daughter, still alive, by her first husband. In 1878, when she was near her confinement, he said he hoped tli at she would not recover, and that the child would die with her: His violent conduct and abusive language continued, and even got worse the longer they lived together. When visitors were present he would pretend to be caressing her, but instead would pinch her, and then boast of it when they were alone. In December, 1883, when living in York place, he seized her on the stairs and threw her down violently. He used to say that were it not for the low he would "do for her." In December, 1884, he seized her by the throat, which was torn with his hands. He was subject to violent fits of temper, and these painful scenes took place when he was in these fits. At that time they occupied separate rooms—as they had, in fact, since 1881. They had theirmeals at the same table, but thut was all. In 1881, when living atMaybank,shediscovered letters (produced) that had been written by respondent to the girl Maggie May, cautioning her to be on her guard aud not let witness see a sign that there was anything wrong ; also telling her to burn his letters. Witness saw him kissing this girl once when she was cleaning boots, and told him that he would get into gaol some day for the way he carried on with the girls. In 1882, when living at Mrs Murley's, he behaved improperly with a girl named Lizzie Sim—kissing her and going into her bedroom often of a morning. The girl told her, and she thereon accused respondent of it. He did not deny it, but laughed aud said he would do as he liked. In 1885 she waa left LI,OOO under her father's will, and she let respondent receive the money on her account. He would not give it up, but she recovered it by action at law. In 1888 she brought an action for damages for libel against Mr Brunton, and recovered L2OO from the latter. Respondent had furnished Mr Brunton with the materials on which the latter founded his libellous letter. Respondent used to beat their little boy and tell him that it was her fault that he had to be beaten, because she waß a bad woman. He used to intimidate her by threatening to send the boy away to India. On April 21,1888, aßortof informal arrangement for a separation was come to. He was to allow her LI a week and she was to go into lodgings, while he was to live elsewhere and take the toy with him. Two months later he wrote that, considering that she had means of her own, he would not allow her LI per week, and shortly after wrote saying that she must go back and live with him. This she could not do, on account of his violent conduct. She did not take these proceedings before on account of her daughter being alive, and because she feared being separated from the boy. To Mr Chapman : Witness tore up and destroyed her husband's letters about twenty years ago, and she tore up the one produced this morning with a view of destroying it also, but supposed she must have missed that one. At all events she found it in a box, in its present torn condition, and it was the only one she found. The Becret referred to in that letter was, she supposed, the fact of her having been married before. The letter had been mentioned in the other case, and Bhe was aware that respondent gave another explanation of it. He made out that it referred to her having been seduced when very young, and to her having had a child. Witness tried, when the other case was coming on, to find the woman Grant, but had not tried lately. She heard before the present case was coming on that Grant was dead. There may have been adultery in 1876, and witness formed that opinion in that year. At least witness must have thought so. She first thought that there were improper relations existing between herhusband and Miss Matthews when she saw the latter in the bath. She could not remember the exact date of that incident, but it must have been some time in 1877. When witness saw Miss Matthews then she ordered her out of the house, but her husband would not let her go. Subsequent to that witness spoke to Miss Matthews on friendly termß, but did not address her as "My dear." Witness had to get another servant girl and engage the room before she could get rid of Miss Matthews. Subsequently witness had written to Miss Matthews as to her conduct with Mr D'Albedyhll, and had also written in a more friendly way, under pressure from Mr D'Albedyhll, for peace -'sake. [Mr Chapman here read the letters dated 18th February and 18th March, 1878. One of these concluded : " Mr D'Albedyhll unites with me in love to you and dear Orlando " Orlando being Miss Matthews's brother. The other letter concluded : " With love, I remain yours truly."] To the best of witness's recollection, Mr D'Albedyhll dictated those letters. Miss Matthews and Mr D'Albedyhll had joint transactions in shares, but witness would say that the correspondence between was not confined to the share business. [Counsel also read a letter of the 2nd April, 1878, commencing "My dear Miss Matthews," and ending " With love, I remain yours very truly."] Witness wrote the letter, which was a business letter, because she did not wish her husband and Miss Matthews to correspond. Witness supposed she must have forgotten the incident of the bath when Bhe wrote that letter. Witness was jealous of Miss Matthews, but not without a cause. It was in 1876 that she was first jealous. Witness might have said in answer to Mr Haggitt in a previous case "I was not jealous of Miss Matthews." She might, when pressed by Mr Haggitt, have denied that she was jealous. Witness did not say that Mr D'Albedyhll was always cruel, but the specific charges made were true. What took place made her at one time frightened for her life. The stories of adultery and cruelty were equally true. On the 28th April, 1879, witness had written to Miss Matthews a letter in which she said " I should like to pay you a visit with our darling baby boy, but before I can do so I must ask that you will promise me that you will have no more correspondence with Mr D'Albedyhll unknown to me. I do not wish to imply that any improper correspondence has passed between you." Witness also recommended Miss Matthews to lay the case before a Christian man or woman, with the view of obtaining an opinion. Another letter, written on the 2nd August, 1879, contained an offer to keep up the subscription on Miss Matthews's shares. Witness did not know that her statement as to these letters being dictated by her husband had been disproved. As to the charges of cruelty, Mr D'Albedyhll on several occasions dragged her about by the ear. She could not Bay how many times. It was in January, 1878, that he tried to strangle her. His reason for this act was that witness had given Miss Matthews warning. He had also put his hand on her throat on the 18tb December, 1884. Witness was quite serious in saying that her husband expressed a desire that she and her child wonld die together. They bad only one or two unpleasantnesses on the passage Home. She could not say that she was actually frightened to live with him when they went Home, nor when they came out up to 1881, for they lived together till that year, when they separated, tmt were partially reconciled in 1883. On the way out from England witness and her husband parted at Ceylon, so that he could visit his friends in India, and she wrote to him, from Melbourne, a in which she addressed him as " my own loving hubby." She was at that time willing to forgive him. She supposed that she was privileged to write loving letters to her husband, although he was grossly cruel to her —he could not be cruel to her when he was away. Maggie May gave her the pieces of paper with respondent's writing on them on or about the day Maggie got them from him. Maggie is now dead, and Lizzie Sim is in Melbourne. At the New Year of 1876, a photograph was
taken of the family group, with Miss Matthews included, respondent insisting on her being taken with the family, as otherwise he would not have the photograph taken. On one occasion of respondent's trying to strangle witness she hit him with a boot that she had in her hand. She could not say that Bhe was as good at fighting as respondent was, but if she was struck she used to defend herself. Counsel read a quantity of correspondence between the parties to the action, and between them and other persons, extending over a succession of years ; and the petitioner's crossexamination concluded at 3 p.m. The petitioner was briefly re-examined by Dr Fitchett. Elizabeth Campbell stated that she had known the D'Albedyhila for about ten years. She remembered calling at their residence in December, ISS4, and finding petitioner in a very bad state her face, neck, and hands being very much torn. The house Was not a very nice one, and witness knew that petitioner did not want to live in it. Witness used to notice that there was unpleasantness between the husband and Wife.
To Mr Chapman: Witness remembered respondent's speaking to her very angrily one day, but he never accused her of talking scandal.
Margaret May stated that she was the mother of the Maggie May mentioned in the case. She remembered going in ISSI to see respondent, and telling him that Bhe had come for an explanation of his conduct towards her daughter. He said there was a lady inside who would tell her all about it. Witness said that she did not want to see a lady, but to see him. He went away, and she went across to the cottage to which her daughter had fled. Mr Chapman objected to this statement as not being evidence, and His Honor ruled that it should go down as that witness went to a cottage to which she believed her daughter had gone. Witness continued that she subsequently went to the bank to see respondent, and called hj in a villain and threatened him with the police. He begged her to go to Mrs Murley and hush the thing up. He was trembling all over. Witness did not see petitioner. His Honor: Did Mrs D'Albedyhll tell yju about your daughter ? Witness : No, your Honor ; my daughter told me herself, and not Mrs D'Albedyhll. Mrs D'Albedyhll never spoke to me about the matter.
John May, husband of the last witness, gave evidence of a similar nature. Sarah Yates, a young woman, who when a little girl lived ■ for a time with the D'Albedyhlls, 'gave evidence as to there beiDg at the time a great deal of unpleasant* ness between them.
This closed the petitionee's case, and Mr Chapman briefly addressed the jury, saying that respondent's answer would be a complete denial of the petitioner's statsments. John Lethbridge D'Aibedyhll, respondent, stated that petitioner never told him before their marriage that she had been married before. Just before their marriage she told him, by letter, that she had been previously Beduced, and his letter fragments of which had been produced in Court —was in reply to jhers, and referred to that matter. There was not one atom of truth in the statement that he had committed adultery with Victoria Grant; it was wholly false. He knew that there was such a person living with them as a servant, but that was all. He had made endeavors to find tho woman or her parents, but without success. There was not one atom of truth about thepetitioner'shaving committed adultery with Eliza Jane Matthows, nor was there a shade of truth about the assertion that he had washed the girl while she was having a bath. He had never behaved in an improper manner towards her. She lived in the hause for eight years, and was on intimate terms with petitioner. She was included in -the group without any opposition from petitioner. Witness would absolutely deny ever having dragged his wifo about by her hair, or having ever been cruel to her in any manner. There was no truth in the statement that he nsed to pinch her—it was a funny thing, if he did, that she did not sing out. When petitioner struck witness with tho boot, as described, he had simply put bia hand on her shoulder. She struck him such a blow with the iron heel that he had the mark now, and would carry it to the grave. [Left sitting.]
RESIDENT MAGISTRATE'S COURT.
(Before E. H. Carew, Esq., R.M.)
Charles Stephen Reeves v. Alfred Boot.— Claim, L 52 103, for services rendered in connection with the floating of a company called the Sandhills Gold Mining Company. In this case His Worship gave judgment as follows :—" The facts, as I gather from the whole of the evidence, are something like these: Mr Boot issued a prospectus, and with Mr Foord's help attempted to float a company to take over and work a claim at the Upper Shotover. Mr Foord found he wanted the assistance of someone better known in town, and got Mr Boot's consent to Beek to associate Mr Reeves with himself to get the company off. He then saw Mr P„eeves, who agreed to act. Subsequently Mr Boot called upon Mr Reeves and bad a Bhort interview with him, and it seems to have been then agreed that Mr Reeves was to give his assistance in some way in floating the company. What he was to do does not seem to have been particularly defined at the time, nor was anything said as to remuneration. Mr Reevta gave some time and attention to the matter that day, and appears to have done something towards mfluencing certain gentleman favorably towards tho company. The parties met that night, and Mr Reeves suggested the advisability of Mr Boot placing 1,000 sharesin his hands as a bonus to obtain thb services of persons to secure the floating of the company. The evidence at this point is conflicting. Mr Reeves says that Mr Boot first hesitated, but subsequently consented to do bo. Mr Boot, on the other hand, says he did not consent, but expressed himself as being against it, and at tho close of the interview said that he would think over it and they would meet in the morning. Mr Foord, who was with the parties at the time, says he heard Mr Boot say he thought it quite good enough to float without promoters' shares, but neither heard him expressly consent to give promoters' shares nor refuse to do bo. The next morning Mr Reeves was at Mr Boot's office by appointment, and Mr Boot then told him he had thought over the matter of promoters' shares, and as he thought he must have promoters he had gone back to Mr Holmes, who first proposed it to him, and had placed the whole matter in hia hands. The position then seems to be that after it was arranged between Mr Boot and Mr Reeves that the latter should give his services in floating the company—and that some arrangement was made is not disputed by Mr Boot's evidence—and Mr Reeves had actually given his thought and attention to the matter, he advised Mr Boot to secure further assistance by giving promoters' shares. Mr Boot, on consideration, resolved to do so; but took the matter out of Mr Reeves's hands and placed it with Mr Holmes, because ho had been the first to advise him to the same effect. That is, he would have left the arrangement for Mr Holmes to have carried out ia the first instance, but did not do so because he wanted to do without outside promoters. He tried to do this—success was doubtful—and when Mr Reeves advised him in the same direction he gave way, but instead of leaving it with Mr Reeves he broke off his arrangement with him and went to Mr Holmes. I think there is clearly a cause of action for some remuneration for such services as Mr Reeves gave in the matter, but I think that L 5 5s is sufficient, with costs."
CITY POLICE COURT,
(Before Messrs J. Elmer and J. Scoular, J.P.s.) Drunkenness.—For this offence Richard Daniels (twenty-one previous convictions) was fined 10s, in default forty-eight hours'; while Isabella Johnson _ (eleven previous convictions) was dealt with in a similar manner. Walter Jamieson (one previous conviction) was fined ss, with the usual alternative in case of default. Vageancy. —Margaret Sequ.ee (three previous convictions) was charged with having no visible means of support, and was de-
fended by Mr Meatyard.—Evidence was given by Constables Matheson, Gray, and Kamsay, who gave accused a very bad character. She had been about the town for two years, it was stated, and during that time had been constantly in the company of prostitutes, thieves, and vagrants. She was in the habit of going to the houses of Chinamen, and frequently endeavored to entice girls of tender years into public - houses and get them drunk. — For the defence Mr Meatyard called William Townseud, who said he had known accused for a month, and had been giving her LI per week during that time.—To Sergeant-major Bevin : He allowed accused to live at a house of ill-fame.—Witness, continuing, said that if the Bench gave accused another chance ho would send her homo to her parents at Lawrence at once ; but the Bench said they thought accused would perhaps learn a lesson in gaol, where she would be imprisoned for three months. Bylaw Case.— Charks liayky was charged by Inspector Hargrcaves with unlawlully digging up Jthe asphalt and kerbstone of a street wituout first obtaining the permission of the South Dunedin Borough Council. Evidence having been given by the Inspector, defendant produced a permit which had been granted to his father. Upon the permit being handed to the Bench it was found to be six years and a half old. Defendant's father, who was in .Court,submitted that the Act specified no time during which the license held good.—Defendant was fined ss.
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THE COURTS-TODAY., Evening Star, Issue 8021, 25 September 1889
THE COURTS-TODAY. Evening Star, Issue 8021, 25 September 1889
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