AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
PUBLICATION OF BETTING NEWS. • The judgment of Mr Justice Sim m the appeal case, Matthew Frank Barnett, appellant, and Frank Bjshop respondent, briefly outlined the circumstances of the case, which were that the proprietor and publisher' of the weekly newspaper Daylight, published certain information with regard to the betting on certain horse races to be run m New Zealand, and was convicted m the Magistrate's Court of a breach of subsection 1- of section 30 of the Gaming Act, 1908. . The sub-section m question set fdrth the liability of every person who printed, published, sold, or publicly exhibited any newspaper or document containing "any advertisement or notification by or on' behalf of any pprson, club,' or association as to betting on any horse race to be run, whether m or out of New Zealand," to a fins nor exceeding £20. It had been contended on behalf of the appellant that the publication of the information m Daylight was not an advertisement or notification. by or 1 cm behalf of any person, -clubi '•; oV association, within the meaning of the sub-section, while for the respondent it was contended that ifc must 'be treated as a notification .t sto bettfhg on a horse 1 race made by or on behalf of the proprietor of the newspaper or his' correspondents. Mr Justice Sim held that the notification could not be treated' m the way suggested by the on behalf of the respondent, .and stated that ho thought the effect of sub-section 1 of section 50 was not to prohibit the publication o' information .such as that m question, b,ut to prohibit the advertising .of any person, club or association m. connection with the business of betting on any horse race, or m connection with th<? business: oi? betting on any horse race, or m connection with milking investments on the totalisator m respect of any such race. That this was the meaning of the section, he considered, «was made clear by the language used m connection: with investments on the totalisutor. Totalisator investments could be made only on the day a race was run, and it was practically impossible to publish m any newspaper, beforo a race was run, any information .-regarding such investments. It could' not be supposed the Legislature was seeking, to prohibit a practical impossibility. The 5 only reasonable, meaning to give to', that part oof tlio section dealing; .with 1 - totalisator investments was that it -Referred to advertisements ox. notifications' -that some • person, clubo>association,- named or indicated therein, was willing to undertake the business of investing money for others on the totalisator. -H that construction was placed on that jjatrt of the section it followed that tho words used m connection with betting should bo similarly construed Had the Legislature desired' to explicitly prohibit the publication i>f any information with regard to betting on a horse race to be run, it might have done so by tho use of a few simple words, and where the intention was to prohibit the publication of inforinatioif with- regard to any matter the intention was clearly expressed. Mr Harper, m his .argument, had referred to the provisions of the Victorian statute of 1906 (6, Edward VII., No. 2055) on the same subject, section 22 of- which made it penal to le the publisher of any newspaper where by information was given or -reported to bo given relating to betting on a horso race. If these or similar words hiid been used m tho New Zealand statute, tho conviction would have been clearly dight. Such words had not been used, and the. words u&ed did not, m his judgment, create any offence iin the present case. Th appeal would therefore be allowed and the . conviction set aside. As the prosecution an this case was by a police officer, and there was a genuine point of law to argued, costs would not bo" allowed tho appellant.'
The. Christchurch Press stattes :— Mr Justice Denniston has pointed out the importance of certain qualifying words, the significance of which' had previously been overlooked. To be illegal, the publication must be "on behalf of some person, club, or • association. " For example, it is against the law to publish an advertisement by or on behalf of a bookmaker as to the odds he is prepared to give or. take m regard to any uarticular horse race. It is equally illegal to publish an advertisement or other notification to the effect that the (secretary of a racing club will undertake to put -money on the totalisator for those who aro unable, to -attend the races m order to mako their investments m person. But, as we understand the judgment, it is not against the law for any newspaper to publish ay a matter of public information tho dividends, actually paid oh any race, or the state of the' betting market.. His Honor, indeed, held, m the particular case he tried, that it is not unlawful to publish the betting odds from, day >to day, even before the race takes pjace, always, provided that the notification is not couched m such a way an to show that any person, club, or association named or indicated therein is ready to make bets on any horse race, or to act as< agent for any person m making such bets, or to act m any other way m connection with betting on a horse race."
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