DISTRICT COURT, GREYMOUTH.
Tuesday, July 21. (Before His Honor Judge Clarke.) The* Court sat this morning at eleven o'clock, for the disposal of civil cases. FALSE IMPRISONMENT. Louis Martin v. Jules Gnerin, — This was an action for the recovery of LIOO, as damages for false imprisonment. Mr Perkins for the plaintiff, and Mr Guinness for defendant. The case as stated by the plaintiff was as follows : — I have been in the defendant's employ for several weeks. On the 25th May, defendant asked me to sell tickets for him for a ball to be given that night at his hotel. I sold twelve tickets when I came in and offered the defendant the money, but he said I was to keep it in the meantime. Then I sold another ticket, and the - doors- were opened, and I went into the bar. During the evening a few words ensued with the defendant about some drinks, when I went home. 1 had been in bed a few hours when a policeman came in and said he would have to arrest me on a- charge of stealing from Mr Guerin. I refused to go at first, and I was handcuffed. I was first taken to the defendant's house, and afterwards to tho camp, when the money was laid on tho table, found to be all correct, and I said it waa Guerin's money, and I was immediately discharged by the Sergeant. I was not quite sober that night, as I had boen behind the bar during the evening. I was searched and the money taken from me at the house. By the Bench : I was in tho Station about twenty minutes ; but I was not incarcerated in any way. Mr Guerin was present at the Station when the money. I was calculated and found to be correct. Win. Thompson, in whose house the plaintiff was apprehended, stated that on the night in question he offered to guarantee the safety of the money, but the defendant said he had spoken to the police, and they were to take Martin into custody whenever they could find him. He went to the Station with the partie3, aud was present when the money was counted and the plaintiff discharged. Both plaintiff and defendant were under the influence of liquor at the time. Constable Maguire stated that on the morning of the 25th, defendant told him to arrest the plaintiff for leaving his house with his money. When he found the plaintiff in bed, ho got all the missing money in his pocket, and, under Gnerin's distinct orders he took plaintiff in charge. Guerin accompanied them to tho Station, where he accepted tho money, and the plaintiff was discharged. He did not think there Avas sufficient cause to take the plaintiff, and told Guerin so ; but he said that if he did not take plaintiff he would report him to the Sergeant, so he took him to the Station. — The defence was that on the night in question the plaintiff was a hired servant of tho defendant, and the arrangement was that he was to han.d,.over all monies drawn^ befojse he left the house. H,e had' occasion to talk to the plaintiff during the night about giving wrong change, when he left the house, taking the money with Mm. He asked the constable to look after him, as he was afraid plaintiff Avas on the- spree, and would spend the money. When plaintiff was brought by the constable to his house, the constable said he would now have to go to the Station and sign the oharge-book. They went, and when all the money was accounted for the plaintiff was discharged. He stated positively ho did not tell the constable to tako the plaintiff in charge whenever he found him. He did not ask the plaintiff for the money before ho left, as ho did not expect him to leave so suddenly. The money was not tendered to him during the night. Charles Harling was called, but gave no material evidence. Tho plaintiff was recalled, aud stated that about an hour before he left he laid the money down on the counter before tho defendant, who told him to keep it, aud give it by-and-bye. Counsel having addressed the Court j his Honor said tho defendant was rather hasty, but the damages laid were ridiculously large. The verdict would be for .£lO. Wm. Wright v. Stephen Egan, —This was a claim of £L 99 lGs 3d, for goods sold and delivered. No defence had been lodged. Judgment for the amount claimed. Martin Thomas v. Patrick Crogan. — Claim of L2OO, as damages for false imprisonment, arising out of a case recently heard in the Resident Magistrate's Court. Mr Guinness appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr South for the defence. The facts of the case are shortly these, as stated by the plaintiff. He was a butcher, residing at the Greenstone Greek. In May last John Mitchell was a partner of his, and they had a horse between them. It was i brought to town by Mitchell, and placed in Crogan's stable. He (plaintiff) came to town, and took the horse out of the | stable at night. On the following day, Constable Mueller came to his place at tho Greenstone, and arrested him on a charge of stealing a horse from Crogan. He was brought to town, locked up for a night and part of tha following day, when he was brought up before the Magistrate, at Cobden, and remanded, but was afterwards brought up and discharged. In Court, Crogan stated that Mitchell had told him that the horse belonged as much to him (plaintiff) as to Mitchell, and that he knew this before ho laid the information. He .was kept from his business for a week through being apprehended. In cross-examination, plaintiff said it was j eleven o'clock when he took the horse out of the defendant's stable. The stable was shut ; he put his hand through a hole in , the door and put back a bar, which | allowed him to open half of the door, and i took the horse away. Up to this time he did not know Mr Crogan, and had not seen him. He rode the horse that night to tho Teremakau, where he turned it out. He did not stable the horse with Crogan, but his partner did. It was in the stable for three or four days. Constable Mueller stated that when Crogan gave him information that ft horse had been stolen out of his stable, he said he had not tho slightest idea who had takon it. He said the horse had been stabled by Jack Mitchell, and it was suggested that his partner had taken it. Crogan and Mitchell then rode to tho Greenstone,, and defendant afterwards laid the information, upon which a warrant was issued and the plaintiff was arrested. Harry Kenrick, Clork to the Resident Magistrate's Court, produced the information sworn by the defendant, and upon which the proceedings in the Resident Magistrate's Court j were taken. Mr South moved for a nonsuit, because the charge alleged in tho de^ duration was not borne out by the,
information produced in the case. No charge of felony had bepn laid against the plaintiff : it was only stated in the warrant that he was suspected of having in his possession a stolen horse, whereas he had himself admitted in the box that he was guilty of . a double larceny. Mr Guinness replied, and his Honor said the case would have to go on. The defendant, a livery-stable keeper in Greymouth, said — On the 13th. May, two horses were deposited with him to keep at livery by John Mitchell. On the following night he-went to bed at ten o'clock, after feeding these two horses. They were to be ready to start at six o'clock next morning. Tho doors were both fastened ; the front with a bar across and a lock and key, and the lock with a leather strap and button inside. He had not been long in bed when he heard a person open the stable, and strike a match. He got a light, but it was blown out by the wind, and before he had it lit again the man and horse were gone out at the back-door. Half of tho front-door was open, and also the backdoor, the strap of- which had been torn off. The person went away with the horse very fast. He ran round down by the tramway, and into the bush, searching for the horse, but could not find, a trace of it. He then told Constable Mueller that a horse had been stolen out of the stable, but he had not the slightest idea who had taken it. He had never seen the plaintiff, or spoken to him previously. Mitchell compelled him to find him another horse to take him home, and said he would compel him to find the other one. Mitchell said he suspected tho horse was taken by "that fellow Thomas," and if he did it belonged as much to the one as the other, as they were partners. The first time he saw the plaintiff was when he was brought into Court, but he did not know who he was. John Mitchell gave evidence as to leaving the two horses in Crogan's charge, to keep for him at livery until he wanted them at six o'clock in the morning. Mr South argued that this case never should have been brought into Court, as the facts did not substantiate the charge. The horse was deposited with the defendant for hire and reward, and the plaintiffhad no right to take away the horse as he had done, even although it was his own property. It was the bounden duty of the defendant to do what he had done, and in doing so he had shown no animus against the plaintiff. Mr Guinness replied for the plaintiff, and his Honor was of opinion that the charge was not substantiated, and the verdict would be for the defendant with costs. The Court adjourned to Wednesday morning at eleven o'clock.
Wednesday, July 22. - In the Court to-day the case of Nelson Coal Co. (Limited) v. D. Girdwood and Co., was only partially gone into, and an appeal against the decision of Mr Warden Keogh was disposed of. Owing to a pressure of other matter we are compelled to hold over our report till our next.