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CO-RE. MOSSMAN'S MOVE, NZ Truth, Issue 1112, 24 March 1927
CO-RE. MOSSMAN'S MOVE
Moneylender Seeks Fresh Trial of Sensational Divorce Case
THRASHED BY. IRATE FARMER
flllllllll!llllll!lllllllllll!!!Jllllll!ll!ll!ll!lll!l!lllll]||||l!lll!l!li . g" . (From "N.Z. Truth's" Special Wellington Representative.) g 1 TOWARDS the latter part of last year, a struggling- young I m Hawkes Bay farmer, sued an ■ elderly and influential | 1 sheep farmer and moneylender under circumstances which | g created a sensation m the northern province. : - 1 1 Henry Albert Mossman was cited as co-respondent m a 1 . | petition for divorce on^which a claim for £2000, made by | 1 "Walter Austin Orbell, was f oun ded and which resulted m | | Orbell being awarded £1250 damages. v . 1 liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiijiiiiiiii
N the Appeal Court at Wellington this week, before Chief Just ie c Skerrett and Judges Herdman, Reed arid Adams, Mossman v .applied for a new trial on the grounds of; fresh evidence having been secured. The case, as heard m
the Napier Supreme Court- last year, embodied some extraordinary 'features. It appears that Mossman held a lien over the land farmed by Orbell and that, from time to time, Mossman was m the habit of -paying repeated and regular visits to the farms m which he retained a monetary interest. When the evidence was recited m the Napier Supreme Court last November the petitioner subpoenaed his -wife, Mary Orbell, as principal witness, and she it was t who proved such a strong factor m supporting petitioner's claim. She frankly admitted that she had committed misconduct with Mossman during four of his visits to the Orbell dwelling. At first there had been, she said, nothing of a familiar nature m his attitude /towards >her, but on a subsequent occasion the co-respondent had kissed her. - v -_ She told the Court that she protested, saying that it was not fair to her husband. Mossman, however, merely laughed, she- said, remarking that she was too innocent. , Mary's husband found that Mossman had been kissing .-the respondent and so she urged her clandestine lover io desist. The practice, she declared, thereupon ceased, buY she still continued to receive presents of underclothing, chinaware, etc. Orbell himself, said that m April, 1926, his wife became ill and that during her illness . she was visited by Mossman. ' '■ ■ . ' Certain incidents aroused his suspi- ! cions and he confronted the corespondent/ with: "What's your game with my, wife?" CO-RE. THRASHED '; "Nothing, Wattle," said Moasman.. The soft answer,: however, did .not suffice; for • Orbell said he ,"l?new all about -it and wanted the whole truth." If he didn't get it he threatened to hammer Mossman. i« ; /\ The third man m the eternal triangle, who denied anything .of an- untoward nature, received lashes, from Orbell r s whip. . \ ■ • ■ "■ The. -wife intervened and Mossman then told, the angry husband that "it was a kiss; nothing more." .> Orbell,' despite Mossman's entreaties that nothing should come of the affair, said he told the co-respondent that it was too late, as his life and the happiness of his children had been ruined.. Olga Richards, a neighbor, testified to having seen Mossman kiss the respondent during her illness. Mossman, however, during his evidence, denied intimacy with Mrs. O" bell,, nor. had he kigsed her save on one ofension, when : both, Orbell and his wife were low m spirits. ; "Orbell accused me of being the father of the youngest child," declared Mossman. ■'. "He threatened to thrash hell out , of 'his :Wife if she did not confess." .He was convinced, he said, that all v' nesses for the petitioner had consvi"'i*d against him for the purpose of bl." ckmaiL " . ■ "They sought to share, the spoils^" Mossman concluded. ; J.. B. Atkinson, assistant stationmanager m Mossman's- employ, declared that Orbell said he was awaiting his chance and would kill Mossman after "bleeding him for every penny" he possessed. After a three hours' retirement the jury m the- Napier Supreme Court found m favor of Orbell. • NEW EVIDENCE , The afresh evidence brought by the co-respondent before the Appeal Court was of a sensational nature. . " Counsel A. Gray, K.C., of; Wellington,,.. and- Lawyer E. H. Williams, of Hastings, appeared on behalf of Mossr man, who sought a new -trial oh the grounds of fresh evidence being adduced. - ' ; . .; . The cause of- petitioner was pleaded by Lawyers Von Haast, of Wellington, and Cecil Duff, of Hastings, who opposed the "application for a, fresh trial. Louis Newman, a bush contractor, attested m his affidavit that on January 18, 1926, he worked at Te Putere, where lived Orbell and his Wife. He became acquainted with both the petitioner and respondent, saw them on ■ many occasions and had several meals' with them between January and June. •' v He- mentioned that towards the end of January he had a conversation with Orbell regarding his indebtedness to Mossman. x Orbell said he owed £3000, to which Newman replied that Orbell . had/- no '," hope of paying such an amount, as expenses were heavy arid the quantity of sheep was insufficient. Newman stated that Orbell replied to th^by saying that "if he could not get, it'.. back one way he would get it back^another." , . ; . The following conversation is* then rtated. to have taken place between Newman and Orbell: ; ' . Newman: How are you going to get it ba^k? Cleverer men than you/haye har! n so: at Mossman and never .got anything." . •,;, .'■-. Orbell: "Through^ the wife. She -is on .the: farm as much as I; and I'll frame up a charge against Mossman of .nis>.onduct with my wife.". "Well, Wattie," Newman said; he remarked, "it^s. a! rotten trick to play on anybody, and you will only degra!de yomv -wife and. children. . ' "I woujdn't bring your wife into . H if I were you." Newman then deposed m his affidavit that the conversation concluded
with Orbell saying: "I don't care. You seg, I'll catch Mossman and catch him ' good." v He made similar threats: on' various other occasions, said witness." . . Newman also stated that when he i mentioned he contemplated contracting with Mossman for'p'bsts and firei wood, Orbell the co-respon-dent would "have" Newman. ; Petitioner was then 'said to have asked Newman to work for him, as he needed a reliable witness. " Newman said . he>>fbld Orbell that petitioner could not, afford anyone to work for him and that— at any rate : — he (Newman) did not \yish to be mixed up m anything. , '.':•■ ' He added that he made no men-
David Amos McAllister, a young man, frankly admitted that he had spent Christmas Eve- m a dressing-shed on a public reserve with a girl under the age of 16 years, the jury which tried his case at Gisborne' found him not guilty of the serious offence with which he was charged,.' giving its verdict Without leaving the box. . , • ■ The girl's story was that Me-. Allister had detained her m the, shed and during the night com- , mitted the offence against her. . The accused, on the other hand, maintained that— far from .detain - ing the girl — -she had refused to go home. He denied that any offence had been committed. •■. . Mr. Justice Ostler said he had looked m vain for corroboration 0f;.... the girl's evidence, and he could only follow the practice of judges and warn the jury that it was. dangerous to convict without such corroboration. v miniimmiiiiiinmiM mimimmmiiiiiiimim mimiiimimiiiiiiinii mmuimimiK
tion to anybody of the conversation recorded above until he read the newspaper report of the action m November last. , .Three days later he interviewed the co-respondent, m/ order to settle an account and, incidentally, ,to retaiLthe facts set forth m the affidavit. On the same day, he- asserted, as he saw Mossman, he met petitioner, who said: "You see, I got Mossman; I fold you I would." Newman states that he replied: "Yes, and you got him. a rotten way and I don't want to have anything to, <Ip with you." The second affidavit was produced by William Berry, a builder N who stated that he knew Mrs. Orbell before. she marrifed. , ■ ,• :' He said "that about October, 1923, he took out a contract for additions to. the cottage belonging to respondent at Whakatu, where she "and^petitioner then lived. . -'■:■ During the- four weeks he. was working there the, petitioner was always away during the daytime} working at the Whakatu freezing .works. - '■ "'■,!; r 'r''[ ■'•' : '!:- ■'■ ■'■■'■■ Berry declared that Mrs. Orbell frequently talked .to " him" m a very familiar and improper manner, and — on one occasion—suggested that, acts of impropriety-should be consummated. "THE UNLUCKY MAN" ■/Her conversation with him. and. behavior towards him "were such, he suggested, as to lead him towards . the belief that slie was a woman of loose character and morals. Berry then said that m October, 1926, he met petitioner at the A. and P. show at Hastings, and was informed that Orbell was taking proceedings for divorce pn; the grounds of his wife's immoral conduct with Mpssman. Orbell is stated to have said that he suspected several persons of misconduct with his wife, and that the first one of whom he had entertained any suspicions was Berry himself, during the time he :was at the house. Berry added that he told Orbell there were other men besides the co-respondent who had committed misconduct with M^fs. Orbell, to which the petitioner replied: "Yes, but Mossman was the unlucky man who got caught."- --■ In the testimony given by Berry it is said that on the night of November 12, 1926, which, was the first day of the trial, Berry discussed the case with a man named Rutherford, telling h^m that "he (Berry) was m possession of information relating to the. character and reputation of tfie respondent. Some eleven days later the corespondent interviewed Berry, asking him the nature of the details he had referred to m his talk with Rutherford. ■■■■.'; . "HOT STUFF" With Berry worked Leslie William Coombe, who assisted m the rehabilitation of Mrs. Orbell's house at,Whakatu. . . . Coombe. declared that a day or two after she commenced work on the house , Mrs. Orbell sat on his knee ajid kissed: him. ! On several other occasions, according to Coombe, the respondent "made immoral suggestions , to him, but was refused.. . She .then told- him * that he was "pretty slow," as she did not' have to ask others twice. " ' ■ z To- this, he says, he replied: "You are pretty hot stuff," which elicited the retort: "There is nothing like a change/ . ..... •■ • ' . Orbell's depositions were a positive rebuttal of. all that ! the three new. witnesses for Mossman had adduced. In support of his contentions, his counsel produced' statements which testified to Mrs. Orbell's moral integrity before and during her marriage. Considerable legal argument was heard when the case was laid before the Court of Appeal, and counsel for both, parties quoted voluminously from various authorities. . ■ : Judgment was reserved.
CO-RE. MOSSMAN'S MOVE, NZ Truth, Issue 1112, 24 March 1927
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