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MARLBOBOUGH DIVORCE CASE.

The subjoined case was heard at the Supreme Court sittings at Picton, last week. The hearing; lasted three days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; and the following account is a condensation of what appear* in the local journal, the Press: —

Eleahob Eyes, Petitioner; W. H. Ith, Respondent.

Petitioner sued for judicial separation and mam* tenance, on the ground of adultery by RMpondwml. Mr Conollt, with Mr. Rogbbs, for petitioner ; Mr. Tbavehs for respondent. '

The following Jury were sworn:—N. T. Prichari (foreman), 3fl. Carvel, A. Cameron, M. Horigan, O. Norgrove, T. Looms, G. Markmann, S. Droden, D. Wells, T. Hatton, T. Leary, and W. Oullen.

The following were the three material allegations contained in the petition :—

"3. That in and during the months of August, September, Ootober, and November, in the year 1871, at the City of Wellington, in the Province of Welling* ton, the said William Henry Eyes co-habited with one Charlotte Johnson, now of Blenheim afore* s»id, and committed adultery with the said Charlotte Johnson.

" 4. That between the 6th and 13th days of March, 1872, the said William Henry Eyes frequently visited the said Charlotte Johnson at Picton, in the Province of Marlborough, and on divers of such occasions committed adultery with the said Charlotte Johnson.

2" 5. That between the 20th day of October, 1872, and the 6th day of December, 1872, the said William Henry Eyei frequently visited the laid Charlotte Johnson, at Blenheim aforesaid, and on divers of suck occasions committed adultery with the said Charlotte Johnson." To which the-following answer wai made by the respondent :—v "1. That he denies that he committed adultery with Charlotte Johnson ai set forth in the said petition. " 2. Respondent further says that the petitioner condoned the acts of adultery (if any) alleged in the said petition." To this the petitioner replied:— " 1. That she denies that she condoned the acts of adultery alleged in her petition filed herein." Mr. Tbavjsiis said, before Mr. Conolly opened hit case, he would admit the third and fourth paragraphs in the petition, and acknowledge that adultery had been committed in Wellington and Picton, but denied the truth of the other paragraphs alleging adultery in Blenheim. ; Mr. Conolly said it would be unfair to present the case to the jury in the form,mentioned by hit learned friend, as the jury would not be able to judge the whole case from eridenco gathered from only a ■ portion of the facts. . His Honoe agreed with Mr. Conolly's argument, and said he would be guarded in preventing him from calling any evidence he pleased unless he (the Judge) deemed it to be irrelevant. The Counsel then asked that all witnesses on both sides should be ordered out of Court. EVIDENCE FOB THE PETITIONBB. . Margaret Edmonds, aged 14 years, and Julia Chance, aged 16 years/both of whom had been living, at different times, as servant to Mils Charlotte Johnson, a half-ca9te, residing at Wellington, swore to Mr. Eyes visiting that female, and sleeping in the same bed-room with her.— Thomas Moityn Humffrey, of Blenheim, used frequently to visit Mr. Eyes' family. He stated:—"l knew Mrs. Eyes well and saw the terms on which she and her husband lived. I have frequently had conversations about this affar with Mrs. Eyes lately. The conversations commenced to take place shortly after the Picton affair. They wece commenced by her. I never told her what I " came to Picton for. T. had many conversations about it. She expressed much indignation, bat sometime! h fancied the intercourse had ' been done with, and she had overlooked the affair. I am certain of that opinion. I was afterwards at parties at the house when both were present. At times she spoke about it, and I isked her what was the uae of recurring to the affair, as it was done with. I believe that Mrs. Eyes had overlooked the offence between the Picton affair I and that in Blenheim from the conversations I had with her. * * • ;• I was frequently present when Miss Johnson's name was brought up, sometimes by Mrs. and sometimes by Mr. Eyes. When the name was mentioned he used sometimes in anger to say he would renew the intimaoy; bat it was said in such a manner as not to be credited, for both said the most angry things to each other, and hie | mention of the name was in provocation. Invariably the quarrels were in referenoe to this woman. There were differences besides this, but something trifling often led to her being alluded to, and on these occasions Mr. Eyes' manner would lead one to inter that the acquaintance would be renewed. Her name ?■ was brought up very often when I visited the house. I heard Mrs. Eyes say that Mr. Eyes had threatened her that Charlotte Johnson was coming."— David Watson, was a baker, now living at Patea, but in 1872 resided at Pioton. ,He helped Charlotte Johnson to remove her things from Clark'* Hotel: " I put the things into the house, where she was. Mr. Eyes was there. I was not surprised to find him there. I left them together. I went again next day (Sunday). Mr. Eyes was there then, in the day time; both were there together. Charlotte Johnson afterwards came to lodge in my house. I removed her goods on Monday, I think. He visited! her at my house twice while she was there, the first time coming on a Saturday, and leaving on Monday. He slept in the same room as Charlotte Johnson; there was only one bed in the room. I remember when there was a bonfire in the square. I saw some effigies burn. One was that of a stout man; the other, of a good looking half-caste. There was a good deal of disturbance that night addressed to me and my nous*. Mr. Eyes was in the house at the time, and Charlotte Johnson also. She remained until the following Saturday. I remember she had a horse to ride; it came from Blenheim. I heard Charlotte Johnson and Mr. Eyes speaking about it; she said sbe wanted a horse to ride, and a horse came. lam dear that Mr. Eyes promised to send her a horse. Afterwards I heard her ask him to buy it for her. I don't remember the name of the horse."—.Harriet Register, who had lived in Mr. Eyes' service, stated:—"l frequently heard conversations between Mr. and Mrs. Eyes. I remember particularly that the talk was often about Miss Johnson during the whole time I was there. Mr. Eyes used to bring the subject up moat frequently. He used to tell Mrs. Eyes she was coming here, to Blenheim. I heard him say it one Sunday after coming from Pioton. He said she would be there in two or three days' time. The Sunday before she actually came I heard Mr. Eyes say she was coming. When Mr. Eyes said she was coming, he told Mrs. Eyes she need not be jealous as she was coming, and caid he would walk through Blenheim arm-in-arm with her. This conversation took place in the kitohen, where I was with them both. Mrs. Eyes was not at home the following Sunday, the 20th, until the evening. This was the day Charlotte Johnson arrived." Cross-examined: " Mr. Eyes did not sleep at home on the 20th, and during the week he was absent several times;' When Mr. Ejes told Mrs. Byes that Charlotte Johnson was coming, she told him to hold his tongue and not let everybody in the house hear what he had to say ; she was very angry. I remember the girl coming on the 20th. There were frequent disputes during the week. Mrs. Eyas wu yery angry about it, and frequently expressed it. X

petition.

never saw her strike him or pull his hair, or throw anything at him. They appeared to live very unhappily at the time, and the house was very unpleasant." Re-examined by Mr. Conolly: "When he said Mrs. Eyes need not be jealom was when In said he would walk arm-in-arm with Charlotte Johnson t'.irough Blenheim. When I was in tin kitchen with Mrs. Eyes, lie said something about the cooking first; that was tho way the thing came v I saw Mr. Eyes hold his fist up t' her j I never saw her use any violence to him."— Mary Ann Prichard John Smith, and Agnes Warner, «aye testimony to to seeing Mr. Eyes leaving Mr. Lawrence's house, ut Blenheim when Charlotte Johnson was staying there. EVIDENCE FOB BKSPONDBNT. Philip Lawrence, auctioneer, of Blenheim, Lydia Mora Watson, his wife, and Saul Zawnsnce, his-eon, swore that Mr. Eves never visited their house whilst Charlotte Johnson was there ; and that he never stayed in their houee at night. They were positive there waa do intercourse between Miss Johnson (when •he wag at Blenheim) and Mr. Eyes.— John TucJcer Mobinson, ironmonger, of Blenheim, after Btatiog ttat Mr. Eyes slept at his house during the time tut disturbances were taking place at Blenheim, about the half-caste, Miss Johnson, deposed: "I imajinei I was invited to interfere in the matter between Mr. and Mrs. Eyes by Mr. Conolly. He spoke to a c about the matter in the Council Chamber, saying I had Borne influence with Eyes. He then referred to some overture Eyes had made to Mrs. Eyes through some other person. He implied that I should speak to Eyes, and he Baid no reconciliation could take place unless the other actions were dropped, as they would be pitted against each other in a month hence, when the trials came on. I assumed I was to impress upon Eyes that, unless he dropped the actions againßt Henderson and Dodson, this one must go on. I communicated this to Eyes. My store is nearly opposite to Lawrence's. lam constantly in my store, and can see persons enter and leave Lawrence's store. I did not see Eyes enter while Charlotte Johnson was there."— Cyrus Govlter deposed : "I am Sheriff for the Marlborough District. I had an interview with Mrs. Eyes this month or last, at the request of Mr. Eyes ; he gave me a written document. I did not tell her anything about it, but communicated part of the contents to her. I had a conversation with her, saying Eyes had requested me to see her with a desire of a reconciliation taking place. I had refused to have anything to do with matters relating to law, but would assist him to get reconciled. Mrs. Eyes referred to a previous occasion when she expressed a wish to be reconciled if he did, 1 told her he had now expressed his willingness to be reconciled. She asked me how it would be about the pending eases. I understood that Eyes was desirous tfr's case should be suspended until the others were disposed of. I told her my motive in seeing her was with a view to her meeting Mr. Eyes to arrange for a reconciliation. She would give me no answer that day, and asked would I call again. Next day she told me she could give no definite answer until she had seen another person, but •would not see Eyes unless in the presence of a third person. I asked —any person in particular, or her eolicitor ? She said she meant her solicitor. Mrs. Eyes said the matter had gone too far, and had in a measure passed out of her hands; she declined to suspend her proceedings. She said nothing about the position she occupied to the third persons. Nothing'was said about money. She declined to meet Eyes except in the presence of her solicitor, aud refused to suspend action.—Mr. Conoixy objected to Mr. Eyes being examined as a witness, and the Judge ruled that the objection was good, and he was not examined. TOT JTJD&B'S ADDBES3. His Honor, in addressing the jury in summing up, said there were two questions to be decided. Adultery at Wellington and Picton being admitted, was it condoned ? And the question of condonation had better be treated as the firat. Upon this question the onus of proof was on the respondent, and it was for him to ihow that he had been pardoned. There was some evidence to establish the proof of condonation. That of Mr. Humffrey went to show that his impression was that Mr. Eyes bad be»n pardoned ; and the evidence of the witness Harriet Register was also valuable on that point, but the parties .occupied separate bedrooms. This, though not common, was not unusual in the higher ranks of society, and in oases where separate rooms were occupied they mostly communicated by a door. In this case there was no such means of communication, and the »ervants' room was between those occupied by the parties. If Mr. Travers could have shown that they lived together as husband and wife, it should have been good' proof of condonation. As it was, it was a matter for the consideration of the jury. The taunts used by the respondent, in alluding to the girl Charlotte Johnson before his wife, were in the worst possible taste; but they were not to be made too much of, as it appeared there were frequent disagreements, and husband and wife used this as a weapon ogttinst each other. In favor of condonation, Mrs. Eyes appeared to have acted as mistress of the house ; but, on the other hand, ehe did not permit him to share the nuptial bod; this might have been explained, but as it was not, the jury had to take the fact as it stood. About the adultery at Blenheim, the evidence was circumstantial; and if no stronger evidence had been given than that alone, and it had been Bought to show that Mr. Eyes had committed adultery with a stranger, it would be no good. He could not give the jury directions as to what would afford full proof of adultery; but they had to look at the former connection and relations of the parties, and to judge all points and incidental circumstances collectively, so that they might arrive at a just conclusion, . and judge whether there was sufficient evidence to lead them to believe that adultery had been committed in Blenheim. Three witnesses bad Bworn that visits bad been made to Lawrence's house. One swore she saw respondent go there the very day the girl came, and he was seen to come out by the back way on the following moaning. The next time was on October 28, after the half-caste had been some little time in Blenheim. A witness swore she saw Lawrence come out and look about, and shortly after Eyes came out. Between these visits a disturbance had taken place, so that the intercourse was rendered somewhat uncomfortable. A bonfire had been made, effigies burnt, and other things done that might have deterred him from repeating his visits for a time, and some time elapsed before he was (een again. On the 18th November he was seen in the neighborhood, and is said to have been seen to enter Lawrence's bouse, and to come out next morning. On the 19th he is said to have gone in again ; this was the time John Tucker Robinson is said to have left him. These are the principal visits said to have been made to the house; and if the witnesses were to be believed, the jury would be justified in finding that adultery had been committei in Blenheim. Taking all prior matters into consideration, there was sufficient evidence to justify thnm in finding that adultery had been committed ; and as it was a question of fact, he would let it go to them. On the other hand, there was the testimony of two witnesses, that went diiectly against this evidence. He could sot direct them in the matter, and would leave it to the jury to judg» for themselves which set of witnesses they would believe, and many things would assist them to form an opinion. The advocates had urged why the jury should and should not believe the Lawrences. As far as he could see, he could not understand the motive of Lwrence, and had tried to find out what the connection between Lawrence and Charlotte Jonnson was. Lawrence said he did not like to Bee her turned out after the demonstration bad been made against her. His moral judgment might have been sound, but perverted, ond he might have wished to shield her from the stone?, as it appeared there were reasons for stone-throwing. Tho people might have resented the apparent outrage against social decency, and wanted her to leave, but Mr. Lawrence's moral nature did not eecm to be inflamed, from the answers he gave to the questions put to him. It had been said that Mr. Eyes did not ■wish tho half-cnste to go to Blenheim, and ho believed tbis had been the caie. It was put on the other sido that Mr. Eyes invited her; but it was most likely »he had invited herself, as he would know that her presence would call up an expression of public feeling. She is said to lmve followed him for a debt. It need not be assumed that Mr. Eyes wanted her to go to Blenheim, although thit did not dispon of the

question ol adultery; and was it not possible that he yielded when she went to Blenheim ? His Honor was anxious not to create an unfavorable idea about the respondent, but suggested this for the consideralion of the jury. The evidence was reviewed by his Honor, and that of Harriet Register and Mr. tlumffrey commented on at some Jength, as to ita j bearing on tho subject of condouation, and less remotely on that of adultery, saying Mr. Humffrey »viis possibly ri<bt in supposing respondent would iot be siioh tin idiot us to -nke the girl to Blenheiti. ! Che chief thing in Harriet Register's evidence was to show the wuy the parties lived, an I. there was this about it, that (hey did not . cohabit. Tho evidence given by other witnesses from Blonheiro was then noticod. It had been asserted that Mr. Eyes was seeu going into Mr. Lawrence's, and if thin was believed, the evidence given by the Lawrences must be entirely discredited, as this evidence was not rwonoilable with that given by them. It appeared .hat Mrs. Warner's evidence* and Smith's were perfectly consistent, and their dates were in perfect iicoord. Robinson's evidence was consistent with Mrs. Warner's, but the iury would have to lorm their own conclusions. There was no necessity to co into the details of Lawrence's evidence, for to all appearance the half-caste was well guarded while with them, if bolts, bars, and dogs could do it. If the Lawrences were believed, there waa no intercourse between the girl and Mr. Eyes ; their evidence was quite exhaustive, and it quite negatived any idea of adultery if they were believed. It was simply a question of credibility, for Mrs. Lawrence confirmed her husband's testimony, and the matter was a» between witnesses. It appeared that the son, as well as the father and mother, had committed perjury, should their evidence not hate been correct. About the horse it was difficult to aosount, as Mr. Lawrence could not give a very definite explanation, but denied that Mr. Eyes had any connection with the horse or that he bargained for it. His Honor had given the jury all the aid he could, but it was very little assistance he could afford in such cases. The burden of proof of condonation lay with the respondent, while the proof of adultery lay wilh the petitioner. Th jury then retired, and were absent about an hour and a-ha!f. Upon their return into Court, they gave answers to the following amended issues : — 1. Whether Eleanor Eye 3, the petitioner, has condoned the adultery committed by the respondent with Charlotte Johnson at Wellington and Picton. at the dates in the petition mentioned ?—No. 2. Whether William Henry Eyes, the respondent, committed adultery with Charlotte Johnsan between the 20th day of October, 1872, and the 6th day of December in the same year-?— Yes. j This amounted to a verdict on both questions in favor of the petitioner.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TC18730617.2.18

Bibliographic details

MARLBOBOUGH DIVORCE CASE., The Colonist, Volume XVI, Issue 1643, 17 June 1873

Word Count
3,388

MARLBOBOUGH DIVORCE CASE. The Colonist, Volume XVI, Issue 1643, 17 June 1873

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