At the Police Court this morning, before* Mr E. H. Carew', S.M., Robert RwtherJordJand William M‘Oonnell were charged with> selling cayenne pepper - adulterated - withim the meaning of the Adulteration Act. -■ Mr Haggitt appeared for the prosecution* and Mr Sim for the defendants, both of whom pleaded guilty. ’ . - : - Mr Haggitt seated that these prosecutions were similar to several cases that bad been before the Court wherein persona were charged with - adulterating pepper, mustard, and cream of tartar.’ .There was comparatively no pepper at all in the article sold in this case. It contained about 75 per cent.; of cocoanat shell, and was colored with aniline dyes. Counsel did not think that - the defendants were much .to blame ;in the matter, but he thought that they should have known that the article they were selling was not cayenne pepper, because one only needed to look at it to see that it waa not.
. Mr M ‘Connell s It was not handled by the at all. It was made up in,: bottles, and sold in that way. ' Mr Haggitt said that the analysis. revealed the fact that the quantity of cayenne pepper was very small, and the quantity of adulteration enormous—about 7& per. cent, and 88 per cent, of other ingredients out of 100. There. was reason to believe that neither of the defendants was aware .of that.
Mr Sim said that both the defendants bought the pepper in question believing fc to be perfectly genuine. They paid the ordinary price for it, and they had no reason to believe that it was not genuine. Unfortunately they did not take the precaution to obtain a written warranty under the Act of 1896, which would have enabled them to have pleaded not gufhyThere was no doubt that they honestly believed that the pepper was genuine. They bought it from merchants in Dunedin, who sold it to them in the ordinary way. The pepper was bought from Messrs Gregg a&d Co., who imported it from Sydney and bottled it. When Messrs Gregg and Co> bought it they paid the ordinary price for it, and obtained a written warranty* with it: so that Messrs Gregg and Co. had every reason to believe that the pepper was genuine. As soon as they beard that some question had been raised about the genuineness of the pepper they took steps to have the qnanlity they had in stock analysed, and when they heard that it was adulterated they stopped the sale of it. Hia Worship would therefore see that no fraud had been perpetrated by anyone in this colony, but that if there was'fcaud it waa committed by someone outside the colony. Under those circumstances counsel suggested that a nominal penalty would meet the ease. His Worship; They have suffered from their negligence.
, Mr Sim : The defendants did not analyse the pepper. They bad no reason to think that it was not genuine. His Worship : They could have tasted it and seen whether it was genuine. Mr Sim said they had no ohanoe of tasting it. It was sold to them in bottles, which were corked.
His Worship * I am not suggesting that there is anything to connect the defendants* with fraud.
Mr Sim; Nor negligence either. His Worship fined each defendant 10s and costs.
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ADULTERATED PEPPER., Evening Star, Issue 10433, 30 September 1897