[Before His Honor Mr Justice Richmond.]
ifacJiay r. Macliaij and Colin Campbell.
Mr Pitt appeared for the petitioner and Mr Bunny for the respondent and co-respon-dent. The following were sworn on the jury:— Messrs M. Andrews (foreman). Black, Raikes, Madden. Bayfeild. Garsia, Rochforb, S. B. White, ,T. Oldham, Cawthron, Young, and Stednian. The damages claimed were £1000.
Mr Pifcfc in opening- said that the petitioner and respondent were married in 1866 and had had six children, four of whom were still living 1 . Some sheep -were settled on Mrs Mackay at marriage, and subsequently the property known as Ellengrove at Richmond. They lived in the country for some time and then moved into a cottage on the Waimea Roadg where Mrs Mackay lived, while her husband managed a farm at Wakapuaka. generally coming into town on the Saturday and remaining until Monday. In the course of two or three years Mrs Mackay wished to remove to Belmont House and take in lodgers, to which the petitioner objected, but ultimately consented. Financial difficulties arose in consequence and led to frequent disagreements between husband and wife. In August, 1881, Colin Campbell, the co-respondent, appeared on the scene, \he being agent for Lotti Wilmot, together witk whom he went to lodge at Belmonfc House. He became very intimate with Mrs Mackay, and on the 24th October, several quarrels having occurred in the meantime between husband.- and wife, she wrote to the petioner asked Him to agree to execute a deed of separation. To this- he) sLrongly objected bbt. ultimately agrejed/j executed the deed whicb; provided thai he' was to take the two eldest and she the two youngest children, and paid the first quarter's allowance. The respondent shortly afterwards removed with the co-respondent to a house in Selwyn. Place, and a little later Mrs Mackay wished to have Colin Campbell appointed as trustee for the Ellengrove property in room of one of the original trustees. The two then removed into Rose. Lodge, in Nile shy; ■!.. ;,;.i subsequently 'to Mount Pleasant, where they wera now living together, and on the 29th September last she gave birth to a female child of which the petitioner denied that he was the father. .
Several letters were put in, in one of which, addressed to her husband, the respondent asked him whether, if ,she gave him sufficient evidence, he would ipue for a divorce. The petitioner further <state?d that when remonstrating with his wife on account of her wishing to effect ,a change of the trusteeship of the Ellengrove property at Richmond with a view to substituting the name of the co-respondent for that of ter father, and asking her why she. wished to do this, she replied that she had long ceased to care for anyone else than Colin Campbell who was now all in all to her. On one occasion when visiting his wife at Rose Lodge, Colin Campbell followed ■ her into the room and told her to order her husband out of the house which she did. He had not returned to it since or spoken to her from that day. He dad not lived with her since October 1881. In the course of his evidence the petitioner stated that Colin Campbell had once told him that he had £17,000, of which £5000 were with Mr Leonard Harper, of Christchurch, and £12.000 in the Indian Bank.
_ His Honor said thab this was the first divorce case he had tried — he believed it was the first in New Zealand — in which damages had been claimed against the co-respondent. He must tell the jury that in arriving at the amount of damages, what they had to do was to assess the value of the wife of whom the petitioner had been deprived without regard to the means of the co-. respondent or to the question whether or not he was able to pay the damages. How pecuniary expression was to be given to a wife's value it was not easy to ' say, but. English juries did it, and; they would h aye to do so too, though by what process they were to arrive at the proper amount Heaven only knew. • ■ - : '■.'.:.■
The line adopted by the defence' was to cast discredit on all the petitioner's state,, ments, to endeavor to show that ever since their marriage the respondent ' had' had to work to maintain himself ■, that husband and wife had never been happy together bufc'that there had always been some dark unexplainable shadow between them, and that even if the respondent had been guilty of that with which she was charged, there was no evidence to justify Colin Campbell being coupled with her as co-respondent. ■ Counsel having addressed the jury, his Honor briefly summed up, and after retiring for a few minutes the jury returned with a verdict for the petitioner on all the issues, and giving £300 damages. The following is a summary of the issues and the findings thereon :— Whether Elizabeth Martha Wright Mackay. the respondent/ committed adultery with the co-respondent ? Yes.— Whether Elizabeth Mackay, on or about the 29th September las'-, gave birth to a female child, of which the petitioner is not the father? Yes. Whether the petitioner, on the 25th October, 1881, and before the alleged act of adultery, deserted, the respondent without reasonable cause ? No. Whether the petitioner and respondent executed a deed of separation aboub the 12th November, 1881, and whether they have lived apart from each other pursuant to the terms of the deed ? Yes. — What amount of damag-e (if any) should be paid by Colin Campbell, the co-respondent ? . £300. ; Mr Pitt then moved for a decree nisi for a dissolution of the marriage. This was granted, to be made absolute within five months.
This concluded the business of the Court,
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SUPREME COURT., Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XVII, Issue 293, 26 December 1882
SUPREME COURT. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XVII, Issue 293, 26 December 1882
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