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AN IMPORTANT JUDGMENT. The Chief Justice delivered his reserved judgment at Wellington yesterday in the case of the Crown v. William Incledon. This was an appeal against a decision in the Magistrate’s Court, and the question in dispute was a point of law in the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1908. In the lower court the defendant was charged with selling milk containing water and aunato. The latter substance gives milk a rich and creamy appearance, and is prohibited by regulation under the Act. The defence was that there should be no conviction unless a sample of milk on which the prosecution was bhsed was divided into three parts and one was handed to the vender. The Magistrate upheld this point, which was raised by Air Myers, who appeared for Incledon, notwithstanding the contention of Mr P. S. K. Macassey (for the Health Department) that the condition applied only when milk was taken for analysis, and not when it was purchased for human consumption. At the appeal Mr Myers also submitted that the information should be laid bv tho purchaser, and not by an officer under the Act. Mr Macassey contended that the information could be laid by a common informer, and, a fortiori, by an officer under the Act.

In his decision His Honor upheld both of Mr Macassey’s points, and allowed the appeal. Ho said that the appellants had not proceeded under sections 4, 6, 7, and 8 of the Act. By these sections an officer had authority to seize unwholesome or deleterious food, or to purchase food for analysis. The appellants hod purchased a sample of milk, mull proceeded as the Act provided. His Honor was of opinion that any person could lay an information, and that in cases whore an officer or other person was not proceeding under a special section of tho Act it was not necessary to comply with the provisions of these sections. It would, he contended, impede tho usefulness of the Act if no prosecution could be successful unless the S revisions of section 7 (concerning tho ivision of a sample into three parts) were followed. Adulterated food could bo sold wholesale if the contentions of the respondent were correct, and the conviction of the seller would become impossible. The case was accordingly sent back to tho Magistrate's Court with the Supremo Court’s decision. Owing to its novelty no coats were allowed.

Tho judgment is likely to have farreaching effects in cases of prosecution for milk adulteration.

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THE MILK SUPPLY, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914

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THE MILK SUPPLY Issue 15684, 24 December 1914

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