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BLENHEIM. LIBEL CASES.

THIRD DAY. ] "from our own correspondent, 1 j Wellington. Jan. 2.1. The trial of the libc'. action ■to recover ■ £1,000 damages, brought by James Sinclair against Richard nbruby, ex-pro-prietor of the Mprlborough Time?, was resumed on Satvnlay moirning, before the , ' Chief Justice and a special jury. Mr McNab said that, by permission of the Court, he wished to recall Mr Henry Dodson, who had informed him he had made a mistake m the datea giveu m hia evidenoe. Henry Dodsorr, re-called : It was the 25th and not the 21at on which I had an interview with Mr Hodaou, who told me of Hie aHerat'on m the sites. Mr McNab said that one alteration m the evidence opened up others. Mr Dodson had sworn that it was at the meeting cf the 2lst that the Committee discussed the alteration m the site. Now Mr Dodson was not at that meeting, nor m Blenheim at that time. Mr Dodson— l find I wa3 away from the district until the 24th. It must have been discussed at the next meeting. Hia Honor— At the raee-fiug of the 4th April? Mr Dodson— Probably so. His Honor— But what about the plan which Mr Dodson aaid Mr Hodson shewed him. Mr Dodson — Certainly Mr Hodson shewed me a plan at th it interview, and he has since told rae it was giveu him by Mr Clprk. Mr McNab pointed out that the great point was whether thp Committee were aware af the alteration m sites before (he interview with Mr James Sinclair on the 23rdMa-ch. Mr McNab put m a letter from the Colonial Treasurer to, the Hospital Committee dated 25th August, agreeing with the resolution of the Committee not to accept the altered site, and instructing them to call for tenders for fresh sites a 1 together. This closed the defendant's, case. For the plaintiff the following rebutting evidence was called :■— A'fred Dobson, Civil Engineer and Surveyor : The plan attached to the report of j the Commissioner of Crown Lands, dated 2nd September, 1884, is a copy of a plan made by me on the 15th August. The oopy was made abont the 29th or the .10th of August. I made ou the lutu August two copies of tho plan, which now showa i a road colored yellow. I made another > plan on the 20th (the double one), ip which the road ia not shewn. I cannot I say how tbat is. I do not recollect whether it was an omission of my own or whether I had instructions to omit it. It I might he an error occurring m my office. My first plan had no road shewn on it. j The road marked yellow on the other plans |is not m my writing. X do not kiosv whose it is. j His Honor soid that it might be a natural thing for Mr Sinclair, having made up hia mind op the Kith April to I give back the original aite, to havo the [ road marked on the plans he had previously got from Mr Dobson. Mr Conolly said he was meeting the chargo of underhind conduct. He wanted to show that Mr Dohson ha I no instructions to prepare two different kinds of plan. Mr McNab— I ara quite sure Mr Dobson would not have done it, had he been instructed. Examination continued— On the 24th March I first became aware of the substitution of sites. I always understood that the origiurl offer was of 50 acres somewhere iv Amcrsfoort, and that when I was instructed to prepare a plan I was defining it for the first time. When I went to Mr Hodson for instructions he did not dispute that the Committee had fixed upon a site, but he said it was rll wrong. I think he said it waa a swinPe of Mr SinoHr's. I formerly lived on the Amersfoort block I had 25 acres, part of which is now taken m by the Hospital hlock. I produce a plan prepared by me, shewing my former holdmg, the original site, substituted site, and clump of trees. It o'.so showa the sites for the building chosen by tho Committee, and also the site where it is now being erected. Tn some places of the block the shingle, whicli is the only detriment to the land, comes to the surface, and m others there is IS indies of soi 1 . As far as the land goes, the western piece is better thau the nprthern pieoe which waa cut' off, Throughout tho business I was aware that Mr Sinclair waa interested. My instructions were to prapare a plan showing not only the Hospital site, bnt how the whole block was to be dealt with. A good many people knew that Mr Sinclair was interested. Cross-examined : My first plan was really a plan of the substituted block, I received my instructions about the 15th Aug. I knew nothing whatever about ita being a substitution unlil the 24th March 1835. I was never asked to aupply tho Committee with plans, and never did so. -I oannot explain why the road is omitted from the double plan supplied. by the Government. In reply to His Honor the witness said that the dotted line on thc plan referred to an alteration m the title, aud not to a road. But it was always understood there was to be a road. Cross-examined continued : —I lived on the block no irly 7 yoara. I sold either tn Mrs Williams or Mr Litchfield m 1387. . I got £100 for 25 acras. My 25 acres was as good as any of the hlos'c. I partially tried au irrigation scheme, which was necessary to make the laud grow much, i never triod to grow cabbages. No cabbages were grown than except on. the Boulder Bank. I do not think it is so difficult to grow cabbages at Amersfoort now. Re-examined:— Land m the neighbourhood of Iflenheim is ten times as valuable as il was 20 yearij ago. Atnerafoort ia not auitable for farming purposes, hut is fir3t rate for a residence or a public school. Mra Mary Ann Williams deposed: — On tlie ;'» lat July 1331 I wrote a letter to Hospital Committee, having on the same afternoon aold the block to Mr Jamea ,f. S'uolair conditionally on the exchange being effected. The correapondenoe waa carried oa m my name, but upon the conditions arranged with Mr Sinclair. I asked him not to mention the price, hut I never asked him nor did he ask rae to keep hia interest concealed. Wheu tha Committee cama up the first time 1 shewed them the boundaries of the whole estate, but no hite was pegged off. I shewed them no boundaries on the northern side, bnt I told them there was a road leading into the Taylor Piss road. ' The intention than was to make a road to tho blook and not through it. The firat j I knew of a road through it wa3 when, at ' the end of Aug. or the beginning of Sept. ' Mr Douglas Dobson pegged out the road, aa it was now formed. 1 asked Mr Jamea Sinclair if ho meant to give the road. He slid ho did, as it would be a great benefit * to the block, and he asked me to show it to auyone who came up to look at it. No one came up on purpoae t > see it. Dr ' Grabham and Dr Cleghorn went up ' abont the Now Ydar of I.S.Ti. They wont ■ to the cottage and naked me to show thorn the block. , Mr M'Nah asked lnw thi^oould he cvi- ' denee against the defendant.' ( Hia Honor did not see how it could ' he. 1 Mr Conolly said that he wished to show that ao early as the Ist Jan. ISSS the ' Hospital .Surgeon kaew about the snbstitu- ' tiou.

His Honor— lhey aay you <:'fered the bounda es at a ne when the legal ti l 'e was being obte ; ed, snd Hat you were r?et >g benefic..'. '.terest *._' doing so. I do not 3eo how i'is e» .dence Ite-va Upon the matter. Mr Conolly— We shew 'hat the Hospital Surgeon knew abont it r .*.& could have commnn'.cated it to the Committee. His Honor— These r*e very nice questions of evidence M • M'Nab,. and though I do not see how th's kind of c 'dence be?"s on the matter at issu 1 ?, it is for you to consider whether it i? of srTicient importance to object . to. The reYl question ia— how d.d the subs* ituted ste get into the Specia. Powers aid Contracts Act. It seems to me that the ar'icle compla'aed of refers to sieged underhand conduct ii connection with that. Mr McNab offered no objecL'on to the cv dence going m. Examination continued : I went outaide ray house snd pointed to the block, saying, " That's where it 'ies." 1 kicked a peg ; n the ground and ap. : d, " here's tho road." It was one of the pegs pub m by Mr Dougl s Dobson. Dr Cleghorn asked me to show him the well, but as ha waa iv a hurry fco get b:. :sk.they didn't stop to see it. Dr Grabham a'*ked me about the nature of the hnd. I hrl everything to do w.th the transactors with Mra Church. I waa corresponding j with her ia a private matter, and I told her we were leaving Araersfoorte ; tbifc the Hospital was to be built on it, and a road ms le through; ?nd that a strip would be left between the road and her land. She wrote back asking what I would aell the strip for. I rep".cd ifc was not mmy hands. She r»ked me to speak to Mr Sinclair for her, and I did so. I went several times to h'ui Before he would make her an offer. He .!<».ughed at me, and said Mra Church would not be a purchaser, and he might aave htmse'f the trouble. He said he was m treaty with Attwood for the whole lot. Subsequently Mr Sinclair made her an offer. I have hail £ mersfoorte for 16 yeprs. I bought part of it from Mr Litchfield who .bought from Mr Dobson. The remainder. 1 bought from Dr Mu n ei nd the Government. The value of property ia very much greater now. I gave £250 to Litchfield and Muller for 73 acres. Cross-examined : For the 6 acres I bought from Government I gave £26 to £27. Ido not know whether there ia a large quantity of unsold Government Und cloae to the block I did not go round any boundaries with Drs Grabham and Cleghoru. No road waa then formed. There were only the pegß. In my original oiler I aaid the terma wera to be that I waa to remove the houae from tho block. Ou the substituted block the houae only projects a few inches. There are more mimosa trees left than wore cut off. I liave counted them. Ido not' remember where or when I signed the letter of the 2 lat April, refusing to go hack to the original site. It did not aeem etrango to me to ait,a auch a letter, although five daya previously I had w-'itten agreeing to give whichever site the Committee preferred. I forget what was iv each letter. 1 would not have signed anything I thought strange. Of course I signed aftor consultation with Mr Sinclair, hut uaing my own seuse as we". When I wrote on the 2lsb we could not get the matter settled anyhow. William Douhlui : In August, 1834, I valued the old hoßpitp'. aita and 50 aore3 at Amersfoort. I valned for the Government. I waa not then aware which particular 50 acres the Hospital waa to have out of the whole 70. I took them a", at the same average value. There ia no material difference. There ia no difference m vahie between tbe pietn cut off and the piece snbatitutod. I was on the ground m March, 1535, with the Hoapital Committee, tho Meaara S'nelaiv, Dr Cleghorn aid other ptnons. Mr Ward and I walked down to the eastern boundary, and ao.ne time afterwards we came to the spot where one corner of the bnild'ng was fixed, 303 feet from tho trees. At that spot the trees were neither good nor harm to the building. The spot waa selected by the Hospital Committee, who deliberated together for nearly an hour, tiis Honor : The effect of Mr H-laon's evidence on my mind wn that ac that visit to the ground Mr Sinclair endeavored to pursuade the Committee that a particn'ar spot was the he9t sito, but that the Committee came to no conclusion. Mr M 'Nab: I do not th ; -k Mr Hodnon went aa far as that. He aaid he didn't select it himself. Mr Henderson, the wiiter of the article, instructs tne to aay that the Committee did select the site of the building. Examination continued : A f ter wards I selected another site, acting on bebulf of tbe Government. His Honor aaked Mr Douslin to aay expressly whother the Committee selected another aite on the 23rd March. Examination continued : I cpnnot aay that all tho Committee agreed to the sito on that ocopsion, hut I am not aware of any disagreement. At tho aame time the Committee decided that the front of tho Hoapitf' shonl I be parallel with the aoction, aud I took on myself accordingly. It waa on the 2.lrd March, but before the site waa fixed upon, that I discovered tha boundaries had been alter* d. Mr Hodson told mo' on tho ground. He seemed excited and surprised. Plana 'and specifications wero prepared, and Mr Wemyss tender waa accepted. The contract wps accepted on the 2fifch May. I acceptc I it on behalf of the Committee, ond by authority from them. 1 valued Amorbfoort at £7 ItH an acre. I knew iv August IBS-t that Mr Sinclair waa interested. f n roply to His Honor, the v tnera said ho got hia instructions from WVlington, through Mr Dodson, to mako tho valuation Cross-examined : When I got inatruotiona to accept the tender, no condition whs attached to the contraut with Mr Wemvs, that tho hoapital waa to be erected on a site to be fixed. No such arrangement waa made with Mr Wemysa. The Committee subsequently pegged out another aite under the ahßle of the trees. [Letter read from Mv Hodsou to Mra Williams ou 26th March requiring, explanation why the boundaries had beßn changed.] I cannot aay why m three days aftor fixing the aite, the Committee ahould write to Mra Williama for an explanation. I cauuot say much about the Committee's views ou the ground because they discussed it among themselves. Hia Hduor : But you have already said that the Committee deliberated for nearly an hour and agreed to fix the aite. It appears tv me that all Mr Doualin'a evidence cornea to ta that the Committee fixed a aite aubjeet to the boundaries question being settled. Croaa-examination continued : I have alwaya uuderatood the Committe were the proper persons at tbat time to fis the aite, Mr M'Nab was about to aak whether Mr Douslia did not afterwarda write to the Committee asking them to meet bim and peg off tha site. Mr Couolly objected. . His Honor pointed nut that directly after the 23rd March Mr Hodson positively refused to give any instructions about laying off the ground. John Allen, senior : —I was one of the Commissioners who reported on the 15th Sept upon the sites. The Commissioners lid not go into the question of the exact site of the build'ng. It was no part of their duty. Mr M'Nab : I have no wish to stop my friend, but 'what has this to do with the action ? Examination continued : It was the

unanimous opinion of the Commissionor* that thc hospital was rtot injured by the change of gite; As fat its 1 itm Boilcohn-d IthHk tlie qitds'idii oi liiinioaa tr<?es jt complete farde. Cross-examined : I have lived m Blenhoim 18 months. Before that I lived. irt I Picton, t have been m several hospitals m England and New laland: 1 hav-d been m the present Blonheim Hospital once or tv 'cc. I don't pretend to have any special knowledge on the nubjcct of I hospitals. I know something of the value fof land. Amersfoort is poor and stony. Mr Conolly put m the affidavit of Mr Hornby, defendant, and the evidence of Mrs Church, taken oh ' Commission. Mrs Church's evidence was read by Mr D. G. A. Cooper, Deputy 11 igistrari 'It Was taken at South Yarra, near Melbourne She admitted negotiating for the purchase of the strip of land cut off from the original site, and sending the letter she received from Mr Sinclair to Mr Henderson. She had previously sent a copy of it to the Hospital Commfttee. Mr Henderson wrote for the original, but did not offer her any money, and no promise of money or other consideration had been made to her for 'giving up' the original. She resented the imputation.:. No such proposal was ever made by or to her. Mr Hen-derson's-letter asking for the or'ginal offer from Mr- Sinclair to Mrs Church was dated 3rd Sept., 1885.. He wrote as Mayor of Blenheim and- a member of the Hospital Committee, stating that Mr Sinclair liad begun a libel action against him, and asking that, as he wished to be armed at all points, he would like to have the original letter, on the understanding it (mould be returned after the trial. Mr Henderson added that she would confer a great favor on him by sending it, and she might do so either tc himself, Mr Hodson, or Mr Barleyman. This concluded the plaintiff's case. Mr M'Nab then read a i affidavit made by Mr Hornby, on the application for a change of venue, m reply to the Affidavits^ filed by pl*>:Vff. Mr Hornby's affidavit' detailed the history of bis connection with the Timea, m reply to the accusation that he was not the proprietor, and act out a letter from Mr James J. S:ncla>r from Mr John Hornby (father of defendant) complaining of hia son having attacked his (Mr Sinclair's) character m the newßpaper, and cftMing upon Mr John Hornby to settle up accounts, as he (Mv James Sin* cla«r) cou'd not be expeoted to support the connections of those who attacked him. Defendant then stated m his affidavit that tb's letter was written by Mr James Sinclair to Mr John. Hornby, |n consequence of a belief that the latter waa helping hia son ii thc Times. The affidavit slso act out a letter from Mr John Hornoy to hia .., son, urging hi*n to apologise to Mr James '' Sinclair for the attacks made npon him m the Times, and pointing out the great obligations he (air Jobn Hornby) waa under to the SiacLiirs. Mr John Hornby's letter also informed hia aon that if he did not apologise to Mr Sinclair, he (Mr John Hornby shouhi withdraw his promise to baok a bill for £103 for his aon. The affidavit a 1 so act out a letter from defendant to plaintiff, strongly accusing the latter of dishonorable conduct, and commenting m severe terms upon the letter whiuh plaintiff had written to Mr John Hornby. Mr M'Nab then summed up the defendant's oase to the ju-y. aud caUed their special attention to the steps taken by the plaintiff to induce defendant to apologise hy bringing pressure to bear on the defeq^ daut's father, pnd to the accusation that had evidently been made against Mr 3 Church, that she— the wife of a barrister m Melbourne— had been bribed to give up to Mr Henderson the origioal letter to her from Mr Sinclir'r. Mr M'Nab contended that the chorgcs of underhand and secret conduct had been proved ; and that the Hospital Committee— including Mr Dodson—were unanimous m saying that until the 23rd March last the substitution of tbe sites had never been made known to thera. He asked the jury to dismiss from their minds, the evidence as to the Commission, and as to the comparative values of the sites, which had nothing to do with the questions at issue.. Hg contended that the secret aud underhand letter sent to the Government on the 21st April, refusing to go back to the original r.ito after having agreed to do so five da.vs previously, justified the article m the Times, and he commented severely upon the conduct of the Colonial Secretary m not communicating that lett.r to* the Committee until months afterwards when . Mr Henderson asked for it, Mr M'Nab also dwelt upon the refusal of Mr James Sinclair to endorse Mrs Williams' letter of the 16th April, and pointed out the importance of tbat refusal m connection with the secret letter which, he waa, writing to the Government on the 21st April. With regard to the pecuniary benefit derived by the plaintiff, Mr M'Nab urged that that must be so, as he had offered to sell five acres to Mrs Church at £30 per acre, having alraedy agreed to soil it to the Hospital Committee at £7 lOs. kft conclusion Mr M'Nab contended that ifis jury could not fail to come to the conclusion either that the statements m the alleged libel were strictly truo, or that, taking into account all the circumstances, thoy amounted to fair comment upon matters of public interest. The Court then adjourned for lunch. On resuming Mr Conolly replied up n the whole case on behalf of the plaintiff. He contended that the plaintiff had failed to prove the defence he set np. Plaintiff had disproved the plea that defendant did not publish the libel. The second plea was that it was not libellous, but the jury would come to the conclusion that, if untrue, tho article was libellous. The third plea was that the article was fair comment, and the fourth that the statements mit were true. Ho contended that the last plea was not supported by facts, ancl that the article had gone very far beyond fair comment. The statement m the article that the Committee were not aware nntil Mr. James Sinclair's letter to tho Borough Council on the 3rd of July, of his interest m the land, was false within the writer's knowledge. Defendant's own witnesses had proved that all the members of the {Hospital Committee know of it from the first. And as. to Mr Henderson himself— the writer of the article— it was no news to him on the 3rd July, the date of Mr Sinclair's ;letter, as he had sworn that he knew it on the 23rd March. As to the public being unaware o^jv, the article contained falsehood, beoause dedefendant's own w T tneaaea described it aa a matter of public notoriety. Defendant did not dispute that at fiiMt it was not iotended to t<-ke a road through the property ; but, when he came to consider tha matter, it seemed better for tho property that the road should ba mad?. Ai early as tlie 15:h Auguat he instructed Mr Dobson to lay it out, and told Mr* Williama to ahow it to people. Hu omitt^l to communicate with the Committee, though he aent a plan shewing tba alteration to Mr Clark, the proper publio officer. Had he told the Committee, the present tronble might not, perhaps, havo happened. Mr Clark'a report of the 2nd Saptember, favorablo to the laud, referred t.i wha: hrn besn o.lled thd sulntituted s.V. Uis Houor— But i do not ccc that Mr Clark said or knew anything about ita being a substituted site. Mr Conolly admitted tint wai so ; but urged that, although he was bound to take the ( .'j<miiiite«'a word that tfcey did uot know ..f it till the 23rd Murjh, ie was exceedingly strange. Plaintiff did nat expliia the substitution ou taa 23rd March, because ha had every right to assume that, if not the Committee, at any »ato tha Government knew all abont it. By making the road Mr Sinolair gave up en acre and a half of land, aud that , was sufficient answer to the ohaj-ge that

9***z*mmm**a*fmM*mm*amaauu*mmi*m*inmi**&iic^jaMxt2 he h»d been actuated by sordid motives, an.l had :te. bed man nudeihind inannir. 'l'he jut'v! must, not hold tint, simply hetjutse certain fd'ts did not rionie to the ku it* I'd ire of the (jonimitfcee, there wa-t a wilful concealment. Theie was conflict of testimony ad to whether tho Committee, at th ir -malting on ' the dath March, agreed to the second aite, Mr Dodson thought they did— simply because thoy thought they couldn't get ont of it. Tbia wag uot inconsistent with tbe Committee's letter of the 2(jth March, calling on Mt-j Williama for an explanation of the alteration m boundaries'. Between the 2oth March and 4tf* April they found the property had not beeu conveyed, and that accounted for their declining to accept the aubsti- ated site. Ou the 16th April Mr Sinclair or Mi's Williams offered the Committee which aite they liked, and expressed surprise that the Coma~:ittee had uot objected at an earlier date. Aa to.the letter of the 2 1st April, Mr Siuclair'a reference to a "faction of the Committee" waa injudicious; but that did not. justify false charges being m ude against bim. His Honor— l understand the allegation to be that Mr Sinclair referred to the faction m order to mislead the Government. Mr M'Nab— That is so your Honor. Mr Conolly said there were'some circumstances ia coive»pondence with Hospital Committee on subject of interest which . justified M* Sinclair m thinking there was a faction m the Committee, It was olear for instance, that the Secretary received instructions to write a letter to Mrs Williams on one day and on another received instructions from the Chairman not to write a letter on the 2 lat. Mr Sinclair again offered to refer the matter to the arbitration of Mr Clark, and although it did not seen necessary to have written that letter at p'l,' it was clear the charge of underhand conduct could not be supported, and bad broken down e)together. It was in<3 : rec^ly chnrged that Mr Sinclair was mpk-ne a profit out of the alteration. Mr M'Nab blew hot and cold, 'because m one breath ha agreed that the land was nearly valueless, and m a-iplTier that Mr Sinclair was getting £30 an mte for it from Mrs Church. The evidence showed that, taking the land at the'piice for it, and allowing for the land given up for the road, and the fencing done by Mr Sinclair; he had loat £17.j by tbe transaction. M|f Conolly said ho did not complain of corarasnt upon the afftir, but of the offensive 'langnage m whioh the artiole was coucjjed. With jegard to Mr Sinclair's refusal to endorse Mrs Williams' letter of the lfith April, hii reason was perhaps an absurd one, for he was willing to give hia word though not his signature ; but there was no intention of snfiling out of the respopsibility. Uh Honor : The point is this. It was on the sth May that Mr Sinclair decliupd to endorse the letter. Yet on the'JJst April he had written a letter to the Colonial Seoretary declining tp carry out the very letter he was asked to endorse. The point sought to be established.is that, as a honorable man Mr Sinclair should bave taid Mv -Hodson about thia when ha took the letter to ba endorsed. Ido not aay that this was so, but this ia how I must put the point to the jury. Mr Conolly then commented upon the accusations thrown out against Mr Sinclair for having made certain misrepresentations to Mr Buckley, and upon the fact that defendant had not oalled Mr Buckley as a witness, although that gentleman had been m attendance iv Court. Mr Siuolair acted m a manly way m refuaiug to carry out the original offer after political opponents had abused him ih the paper, and branded him aa a swindler. Tha offor of the original aite was still kept open by Mr Sinclair until after publication of the letter signed " Omaka," though the Colonial Secretary had written ou the 20th May, stating that the terms of the Act must be adhered to. y His Houor : We have plaintiff's word for that, no doubt ; but Ido not find any corroborative testimony. • Mr Conolly admitted there waa none. He then referred to the admission of the authorship, and eaid it should not divert their attention from the proceedinga against the publisher, Considering that Mr Henderson had had his fling m the Borongh Council, he might- have been satisfied without driving the nail home, coolly and deliberately some days afterwards, iv a leading article. What might have been excused from a man m the warmth of the, debate could not be excused m a newspaper, and he urged the jury not to regard this as a trumpery matter, but to give exemplary without exorbitant damages. The. at tide wa3 not to be regarded as an ordinary newspaper criticism, hut the outcome of political and parly feeling against the plaintiff. Allot tho Committeemen called aa witnesses, except Mr Dodson, w«*re strongly actuated by feeling against Mr Sindiir, aud had Bimply made defendant a tool m the matter. Mr Ward'a behaviour m the box, when, instead of giving evidence and answering questions, he made a apeech on behalf of the defendant. ■He -(Mr Cjnolly) had heard Mr SVard a good mauy timeß, aud a more ready speaker or harder hitter it would be difficult to find. In the witneßß hox Mr Ward was airing hia oratorical efforts on behalf of the defendant. It was a ourious thing tbat Mr Henderson, who had auch an objection to underhand proceedings, fihoald have got evidence from Mra Church iv a private way, ioatead of by Commission aa tbe plaintiff had done. •Why ttien should Mr Henderson pot the worst construction on Mr Sinclair's dealings with the Chief Commissioner of Crown Landa ? There waa aa much ground for charges of uudei hand conduct m tho one caae aa the other. Mr Conolly then • weut on to complain of the political feeling imported into the case by tbe defendant, ahd referred to the extraordinary affidavit of defendant upon tbe application to change the venue. The only object nf tbe affidavit waa to blacken the character of the plaintiff. Mr M'Nab aaid it waa a reply to an affidavit put m by the plaintiff. Mr Couolly thought both affidavits ought to have boen rejected by the gentleman before whom the matter waa brought. All Mr Sinclair's .letter came to waa a request to Mr John Hornby to square up aocouuts as, he being directly interested m the Times, Mr Sinclair could not afford to supply him with money to be expended m newßpaper libels. The letter to Mr John Hornby waa marked "private," and waa not an. attempt to bring pressure to bear upon young Hornby, the proprietor of the paper. The father unwisely sent on the letter tv the aon. „,,,., ,-, , His Honor : The letter would have remained private, so far aa the public' •were concerned, until you read ifc m theae proceedings. Mr Conolly said he had known defendant bince he was 'a boy, and he regretted that he should have written the abusive letter to Mr Sinclair which was set out m the affidavit. Iv that letter the defendant admitted that a certain number of people were determined to see him through the action, so that the jury wonld understand that the libel waa really the production of a political party although defendant muat not ho allowed to escape the reaponaibility of it on that account. He urged the jury to award not vindictive damagea, but substantial damages as would teach defendant that a person m the position nf. the plaintiff was not to be libelled wUh impunity. . Hia Honor m aumnung up the case for the iury said that, even if it had not been admitted, he should rule that this latter was one upon which newspapers Sere entitled to comment ; but, upon The .question whether it was fair com-

meut, the jury must n > meni , »«r who wan ' the writer of th« article. Hk u':im nit the ordinary occupier of tk-> editorial chair, hiit a pnyon involved iv a c.mtrn-. voray outside the paper. To prov?. that the commbnt vsms fair it naist be (.bown tbat the wilter liad <<v honest belief that the criticism waa correct, arid that; however attond the lancuaye might ho, tho writer, had. m ths exercise of a ri = ht to mitic se otber men, not yone l.c-yond what w.is justifuble, even though ho could not substantiate hie charges. Hia Poncrthen went through all the fads, ancl destfrihrtd tbe circumstance? under wbich the attidte tfa-3 written, and the position which defendant heid m the controversy about the hospital site. The a'ficle might be treated, not Bimply as orta commenting npon plaintiff's conducts but also as a reply to a letter whioh plaintiff published ftt the Borongh Gouncil.in which he coinplained of being calumniated, and claimed that he was making a gift of tiie site. Since Mr William" Sinclair and hi.s brother might be regarded throughont this bi\?h »es3 aa identified, the article might be regarded as a reply to certain statements by the former gentleman at tha Borough Council meeting. It was f..r the jury to aay whether the statements were defamatory, the bulk of the facts being admitted, and whether plaintiff's explanation of certain matters was satisfactory. The article controverted plaintiff's assertion that he was a donor of the ai-ie, and His Honor did not see any defamation m that, for it was evident that plaintiff had intended to make the exchange as a matter of business. Hia Honor went through the evidence and correspondence at great length, and pointed ont. that the two main statements m the article which the jury mi^ht hold to he defamatory were (1) underhand and discreditable conduct m Mr Sinclair concealing his interest m the she, and (2) that ho had heen guilty of sharp practice and secret and underhand conduct m altering the h tuiulaiins. ■ The question was whether, assuming the Committee had takon reasonable care to acquaint themselves with the circumstances, tho plaintiff's conduct had been calculated to mislead, and had displayed a want of candour and openness throughout. It was for the jury to say whethor this was so ; and, if they fonnd that it was not so, whether the article had exceeded the hounds of fair comment. The jury retired at 5-18 o'clock to consider the verdict. Tn an hour's time the foreman and six jurymen returned and said there was very little chance of the jury agreeing, or even of the requisite majority of three fourths being obtained. If tho parties would accept the verdict of an absolute majority the jury were prepared with a verdict. His Honor askod the parties to confer privately, and he would communithe result' to the jury. The foreman and jurors then retired again. After about ten minutes conference Mr Conolly said that the parties could not accept the verdict, at any rate until the jury had been away longer to consider the matter. The Foreman was sent for and informed of this. He asked for refreshments for t.ie jury, and Hi 3 Honor directed the Sheriff to supply them. The Court adjourned till 8 o'clock. On the Court resuming at 8 o'clock the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, with one farthing danaaes. Hi 3 Honor . refused to certify for costs. Mr Conolly said that, as at present advised, the plaintiff would go on with the trial of the action, Sinclair v. Henderaon on Monday morning. Mr MctTab aaid he intended to move for a neiv trial, on the ground that the verdict was against the weight nf evidence. He asknd for a stay of judgment, although the damages were only a farthing. When he moved for the new trial he should ask for a change of venue to Nelson or Christchurch, unless the plaintiff was content to try the case at Blenheim. He should ba9ehismotionfora new trial on the ground that the verdict is against the weight of evidence, and, on the authority of the Walter case, that the ;<Tndge ought to have directed the Jury that there must be evidence of express malice. Judgment was then entered for the plaintiff without costs. His Honor said tiiere was no necessity to apply for a s>t-iy of proceedings. The Court then adjourned till 10 o'clock on Monday morning. That Husband of Mine is three times the man he was efore he began using "Wells Health Ttenewer." Druggists. N.Z. Drug Company, General Agenta. " Buoeu-PAißi".— Quick, complete cure, all annoying Kidney, Bladder and Urinary Diseases. Druggists. N.Z. Drug Company, Qeneral Agents. " Rou an on Rats" clears out rata, mice roaches, flies, anta, bed-bugs, beetles, insectp, skunk?, jick-rabbite, gophers. Droggists. N.Z. Drug Company, General Agents. A Fact Worth Ivnowwg.— Are you suffeiiQ h ' with consumption, cough?, sevur« colds settled on Ihehreas!-, pheumouia, or any disease of the throat and lungs ? If so. go to your Druggists aud get a bottle of Boschee's German Syrup. The people are going wild over its miceeap, and druggists all over our couutrv are writing to ua of its wonderful cures among their customers. It has by far the largest salo of any remedy, simply because it is of ao much value m all affections of this kind. Qhronic cases quickly yield to it. Drug- . gists recommend it, and physicians pre- | scribe it. If you wish to try its supt rior virtue, get a sample bottle for 6d. Large size bottle 3s 6d. Three do:es will relieve auy case. Try ifc. Remember This.— lf you ava sick Hop Bitterd will surely aid nature m making you well whfln all else fails. If you are costive or dyspeptic or are suffering from any other of the numerous diabases of the stomach or bowels, it is j'onr own fault if yon remain ill, for Hop Bitters is a sovereign remedy m all Buch complairta.. If you are wasting away with .any form of kidney disease," stop tempting death thia moment, and turn for a cure to Hop Bitters. If you are nervous use Hop Bitters. If you are a frequenter, or a resident of a misaßtnatic district, barricade your system against the scourge of all counti ies— malarial, epidemic, bilious, and intermittent fevers— l>y the use of American Go's. Hop Bitters. If you have rough, pimply, or sallow skin, bad breath, pains and aches, and feel miserable generally, Hop Bitters will give you fair akin, rich blood', and sweetest breath, and health. That poor, hedridden, invalid wife, sister, mother, or daughter, can be pade the picture of health, by American Cos. Hop Bitters, coating but a triile. Will you let them Buffer ? In short they cure all diseases of the stomach, bowels, blood, liver, nerves, kidntyp, Bights disease. £?00 will bo paid for a case they will not euro or help. Druggists and Chemists keep. None Genuine without a bunch of green Hops on white label and Dr Soule's name m bottle. Shun all othera as vile, poisououa stuff.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MEX18860125.2.7

Bibliographic details

BLENHEIM. LIBEL CASES., Marlborough Express, Volume XXII, Issue 20, 25 January 1886

Word Count
6,578

BLENHEIM. LIBEL CASES. Marlborough Express, Volume XXII, Issue 20, 25 January 1886

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