Hawkins Genealogy Site
Courier, and Western Advertiser Wednesday 06 Feb 1884
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SOMERSET WINTER ASSIZES.
On Monday the winter assizes for the county of Somerset were opened at the Shire-hall, Taunton, Mr Justice CAVE presiding in the Crown Court.
THE GRAND JURY.
Was composed as follows: Hon, Maurice B. PORTMAN (foreman), Col. ADAIR, Col. RAWLINS, Major HELYAR, Major BARRETT, Capt. RABAN, Sir W. A. LETHBRIDGE, Mr. H. J. BADCOCK, Mr. R. A. KINGLAKE, Mr Cecil SMITH, Mr. W. H. FOWLER, Mr. G. A. TILNEY, Mr. C. E. J. ESDAILE, Mr. G. TROYTE-BULLOCK, Mr. T. P. BROADMEAD, Mr. J. SPEKE, jur., Mr J. T. NICHOLETTS, Mr. F. W. PINNEY, Mr. L. PATTON, Mr. J. W. SHEPHERD, Mr. H. P. Gore LANGTON and Mr B. E. SOMERS.
The usual proclamation against vice, profaneness and immorality having been read.
The learned Judge delivered his charge to the grand jury. He said that the number of cases which would have to come before them that day was, he had been assured, not in excess of the number usually to be met with at these assizes. The greater bulk of them were of an ordinary character, and would require no observations from him. There were, however, three cases which they would have to inquire into, the circumstances of two of which involved the death of a fellow creature. It was satisfactory to learn that they did not present any great legal difficulty. The first case he wished to direct attention to was that of Charles KITE, who was charged with the wilful murder of Albert MILES on the 2nd of January. It would appear that the two men were in a public-house together and that some words took place between them. They then went out for a short time, but subsequently returned and again had words. The deceased man offered to shake hands with the prisoner, and they did so, but almost immediately afterwards the prisoner pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed the deceased and wounded him mortally. If those circumstances were made out there was a prima facie case of murder. Under the circumstances there did not appear to be any such provocation as could reduce the charge to manslaughter, but he need hardly say that if that were so it would be a question to be left to the petty jury. He did not apprehend the case would give them any difficulty in dealing with. Another case he wished to refer to was that of Henry Locke UPHAM, who was indicted for wounding his father with intent to murder him, at Corston, on the 8th of January. There again the circumstances were very simple indeed. It appeared to be a very melancholy case, and there was very little doubt from what he could see from the depositions that at the time the act was committed prisoner was not in his right mind. That, however, he need hardly tell them was for the petty jury to enquire into, and if the grand jury was satisfied that there was a prima facie case made out of wounding with intent to murder, the question as to the state of the prisoner's mind was one for investigation on the trial. Then there was the case of four men charged with the manslaughter of Richard THOMAS. When he (the Judge) was at Winchester he had occasion to make some remarks to the grand jury upon the difficulty of deciphering the depositions. He was glad to say that he was able to state that bad handwriting here was the exception and not, as it was there, the rule. With reference to this particular case he should have been in the greatest difficulty and really unable to have said any thing to the jury upon the facts of the case by reason of being totally unable to make out the hieroglyphics used by the magistrates' clerk, but with the depositions there was fortunately included a newspaper report of the evidence given before the magistrates. Those gentlemen who reported for the newspapers in this part of the world, so far as his experience went, were extremely accurate, trustworthy, and thoroughly reliable, and he therefore had no doubt that the report he had read was a good and correct report, It would seem that the deceased man was making a disturbance at Banwell, having had more to drink than was good for him, when there was a cry raised of “Duck him,” which meant immersing him in the water. Accordingly he was taken by some men and dragged towards a pond. When they arrived there the deceased was thrown into the water. It did not appear that the water was deep – he thought the depth was about 3½ feet – and deceased struggled to a place in the centre where there was a fountain. He then apparently got out of the water and on to a heap of stones which constituted the base of the fountain. After remaining there for a short time, he either fell or threw himself into the water again and was drowned. The circumstances were of course rather peculiar, and there might be a discussion subsequently as to what extent the persons who threw him in were responsible for his death. He did not think it necessary that he should enter into the point with them, nor did he think it at all necessary that the grand jury should trouble themselves about that matter. He would, however, invite their attention to one point. If they thought a prima facie case was made out against each one of the prisoners that he did either actually assist in throwing the deceased into the water, or if they considered that he did not actually assist, but was there not merely by passive presence but for the purpose of encouraging those who did commit the offence, then they would return a true bill. If one of the prisoners was there taking no part in it – though it was a cowardly thing to see a fellow creature thrown into the water, while partially insensible from the effects of drink, by three or four men – he could hardly be guilty, because the law of England required that before a prima facie was made out against the prisoner it must be shown that he either actually took part in throwing the man into the pool or that, he touched him for the purpose of putting him into the water, or again that he encouraged those who committed the offence other than by mere passive presence. If they considered a prima facie case made out it would be the duty of the jury to find a true bill. There were, his lordship proceeded, thirty prisoners for trial altogether, but he believed that many of the cases were comparatively minor offences, most of which the jury themselves might have disposed of at the quarter sessions but for the fact that the assizes intervened.
The grand jury then retired, and shortly returned with a number of true bills, when the court commenced the
TRIALS OF PRISONERS.
THEFT AT CHARLINCH.
George BAKER (27), labourer, and Sarah Ann BAKER (40), his wife, and William CHIDGEY (34), labourer, all on bail, were indicted for stealing one box, one boa, one satinette dress, and other articles, of the value of £5, the property of John PALMER, at Charlinch, on the 15th December last.
Mr KINGLAKE held the brief for the prosecution, and Mr HAMILTON was for the defence.
The facts of the case, which we recently published, were briefly these: On the day named in the indictment the wife of the prosecutor travelled from Wembdon to Charlinch, in a carrier's cart, and on arriving at the latter place she left a box containing the articles mentioned in the porch of a friend's house. It was subsequently missed and found, minus its contents, in a field. Some of the articles were found in the possession of the male prisoner BAKER, who had been seen acting in a suspicious manner.
The Judge ruled that there was no evidence to connect the female prisoner with the actual theft, and receiving stolen goods from her husband would not be an offence.
The jury found the male prisoners guilty, the female being acquitted by the direction of the judge. CHIDGEY was sentenced to four and BAKER to two months' imprisonment with hard labour.
Edward HARVEY (17), labourer, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering the dwelling-houe <sic> of Samuel POPPLESTONE, and stealing a gun, of the value of £5, his property, at Nailsea, on the 12th of June.
Prisoner was sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour.
THEFT OF MEAT AT FROME.
Henry ELLIOTT (24), labourer, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with stealing 2¾ lbs of bacon, the property of Thomas TROLLOPE, at Frome, and also to a previous conviction on indictment.
The Judge sentenced the prisoner to nine months' hard labour, as he bore a bad character.
ALLEGED THEFT IN A PUBLIC-HOUSE AT TAUNTON.
John CALLAGHAN (22), and Edward HAYES (21), militia-men, until recently stationed at the regimental barracks, Taunton, were indicted for stealing from the person of Robert DIAMOND a silver watch and steal chain, of the value of £2, his property, at Taunton, on 29th December last.
Mr WARRY prosecuted, and the prisoners were undefended.
The case for the prosecution was that on the night named the parties were drinking at the Foresters' Arms, East-reach, Taunton, when one of the prisoners put his arms around the prosecutor's neck, and soon afterwards he missed his watch. Subsequently the prisoners left the house and were seen together at the corner of Union-street, near which spot a piece of the missing chain was found.
Prisoners denied the offence in toto.
The jury acquitted the prisoners, a decision that gave them the utmost satisfaction, judging from the manner in which HAYES rubbed his hands and many times thanked the jury.
ROBBERY WITH VIOLENCE AT PITMINSTER.
Albert GILLINGHAM (22), a haulier, pleaded not guilty to an indictment changing him with robbing James MARSHALL of a silver watch of the value of £2, and using personal violence, at Pitminster, on the 17th September.
Mr BROADMEAD prosecuted, prisoner being undefended.
It was alleged that the prisoner and two men named PERCY (who was tried at the recent Bristol assizes) after having partaken of drink with the prosecutor, assaulted him on the way home and stole his watch, GILLINGHAM kept out of the way until a short time ago when he was arrested.
Prisoner, who offered no defence, was found not guilty and accordingly discharged.
ALLEGED THEFT AT BATH.
John COTTLE (47), labourer, was indicted for stealing from a house, one half-crown and two one-shilling pieces, and a quantity of buttons, the property of Henry MANLEY, at Bath, on the 24th Nov.
Mr. B. WOOD prosecuted.
The trial was postponed from the Bath quarter sessions on account of the illness of the prisoner. The case against him was that he purloined the money and buttons, after having been given a night's lodging by the prosecutor.
Prisoner alleged that the prosecutor, when drunk gave him the buttons. He denied taking the money and said that prosecutor asked him to pawn his waistcoat to “raise the wind.” The buttons were found in the prisoner's room.
The jury returned a verdict of “not guilty,” and prisoner was discharged.
A BLUE RIBBONIST IN TROUBLE.
Thomas GREEDY (23), labourer, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with stealing a ferret, of the value of 5s, the property of Thos. V. PEARSE, at Wiveliscombe, on Dec. 21st. Prisoner, who wore the badge of blue, elected, when before the magistrates, to have his case tried by a jury. It was stated in evidence that the ferret was taken from prosecutor's outhouse, and subsequently sold by the prisoner for half-a-crown.
He was convicted, and sentenced to a month's imprisonment – Mr HANCOCK was for the prosecution.
Thomas STEVENS (26), labourer, pleaded guilty to stealing four fowls, of the value of 8s, the property of George CHAPPEL, at Chew Stoke, on the 12th of January.
His lordship said prisoner was convicted in 1874 of housebreaking, for which he received four months' imprisonment. He now sentenced him to six months' with hard labour.
THEFT FROM THE PERSON.
James CARPENTER (33), labourer, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with stealing from the person of James ROSSITER one cash bag, containing £2 4s, his property and moneys, at Wiveliscombe, on Dec. 21st.
Mr BROADMEAD was for the prosecution.
Prosecutor said he received two sovereigns from the landlord of the Bow inn, Golden-hill, Wiveliscombe, on the day named, in the presence of the prisoner. He put the money in a cash bag into his pocket, and partook of drink until he became partially intoxicated. Subsequently he missed the bag, which a witness names James CHIPLING said he saw the prisoner take. He left the public house soon after, and was seen to go down a court where the money bag was found.
The defence set up by the accused (who seemed to be in a weak state and was accommodated with a seat) was that instead of taking the cash bag out of prisoner's pocket, he took from his side a handkerchief which he had previously lent him. When the accusation was made several men, he said, left the room.
The jury found the prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour.
FRAUD UPON A TAUNTON TRADESMAN.
Walter OATEN (38), painter, and Henry GARLAND surrendered to their bail, and were indicted for obtaining by a false pretence from Alice MACDUFF, the wife of a draper in East-reach, Taunton, 2½ yards of black cloth, 2½ yards of trousering, 1½ yards of celicia, and ½ yard of jean, her property, with intent to defraud, on the 23rd of January.
Mr ODGERS conducted the case for the prosecution.
The circumstances of the case, which was only recently before the magistrates, will be fresh in the minds of our readers. The prisoners went to the house of the prosecutor and saw his wife, and OATEN told her that he wanted some cloth for a suit of clothes, which GARLAND was going to make. She asked him if he was a customer, and he replied in the affirmative. They went into the warehouse, and OATEN chose the articles mentioned in the indictment, on which he paid 5s. Witness in answer to GARLAND said that he did not represent himself as a customer. Prisoners were subsequently given into the custody of Acting Sergeant BROWN.
GARLAND for his defence said he simply went with OATEN in his capacity as tailor to pick out he lining and cloth. OATEN contended that he did not get the cloth by false pretences.
In summing up the case to the jury the learned judge said that with regard to GARLAND, if the jury thought that he honestly believed that OATEN was obtaining the cloth by a false pretence he was equally guilty.
The jury convicted both the prisoners, who were sentenced to four months' imprisonment.
THE BATH CASES.
During the afternoon the grand jury came into court with true bills against Chas. KITE, indicted for the wilful murder of Albert MILES, at Bath, and Henry Locke UPHAM, who stands indicted for an attempt to murder his father with a razor, at Corston, near Bath.
The Court adjourned at six o'clock until Tuesday morning.
NISI-PRIUS COURT. - MONDAY.
(Before Mr Justice LINDLEY)
The Court sat at 10.36, and the first case called was a
BREACH OF PROMISE.
LEE v. LOCKYER. - Mr COLLINS, Q.C., instructed by Mr CRAWSHAW, appeared for the plaintiff, a woman of 39, living at Staplegrove, and Mr POOLE, instructed by TREVOR and Son for the defendant, a farmer of Boroughbridge.
Mr COLLINS in opening, after stating the ages and addresses of the parties, said the action was brought for breach of promise and seduction. The plaintiff advertised in April, 1881, for a situation as housekeeper, and the defendant replied, and called at her aunt's, to whose address the advertisement referred to. Her father subsequently drove her over to Boroughbridge, and saw defendant. The result was she engaged to take the situation on the understanding that a servant was kept, and she went to defendant's house accordingly, and took the superintendence of his domestic affairs. At that time defendant had a sister in the house who left a few days after she went. Some time after that defendant one day caught hold of her, and said he hoped they would never part. She said he did not mean it, and he said he did. She was glad of such an eligible offer, and continued to live in his house, he promising to marry her. After a time he seduced her, and then promised to marry her again. The intercourse was renewed at other times. Her father came over to see her, and defendant told him that he was about to marry his daughter. While they were talking plaintiff came into the room, and defendant said to her, “Miss LEE, I have told your father it is all right.” Things went on in this way for some time, but he did not fulfil his promise. He afterwards became ill, and his sister came over and nursed him. In March, 1883, the plaintiff left the house and went back to her father. Subsequently he met her at Taunton, and arranged with her to go over to Torquay, but did not go. He also took her into St. Mary's church, and there said if there were a parson and clerk there he would be ready to marry her there and then. Some time after that defendant's manner to plaintiff entirely changed, and in the end she was compelled to consult her solicitor. Those were the facts which would be stated, and it would be for the jury, if they believed them, to consider what damages his client was entitled to, considering the age of the parties, and the defendant's pecuniary position, as a man of some wealth, and the owner of a farm.
Mary Ann LEE said she was the plaintiff. Her father, Mr LEE, was a retired farmer, living at Staplegrove. Till April, 1881, she was living at home. In that month put an advertisement in the Western Daily Times for a house-keeper's position, and a few days afterwards defendant called on her aunt about it, and on the following Monday his father drove her down to defendant's house, at Boroughbridge. When they arrived there she saw defendant, who told her what her duties would be. She told him she wanted to go out into a situation where a servant was kept. He said they should agree on that, she could come and try it. He said he wanted someone to see to the house when he was away, and keep things straight. She arranged to try it if he would keep a girl. She afterwards met the defendant at Taunton, and it was arranged that on the next Monday her father should drive her over, which he did, and she was then installed as housekeeper. She took her meals and usually sat with the defendant. After she had been there about a month, as she was sitting before the fireplace, he came to her, took hold of her hand, and said, “Miss LEE, if ever we part it will be your fault.” She told him to loose her, and said he did not meant it. He replied he did mean it. From that tie he went on in the same kind of way, and professed his intentions to marry her. In July of the same year, on a Sunday morning, he came into her room when she was making the bed. She went out of that room, and he pushed her into the servant's room and seduced her. He told her at the time he should marry her, and said his word was as good as his bond. After that they were intimate at different times. Defendant said one time he should like Mr GODSON, the clergyman of the parish, to marry them, and would rather have a quiet affair of it. She continued to live with him, but without being married. At Christmas he was taken very ill, and his two sisters came, when she gave up nursing him. He said she had quite deserted him. She was not very comfortable and talked of leaving. He paid her 5s in the £ on the butter made from the cows, and half the poultry money. She received altogether about £25 in the two years. When his sisters were there she paid a visit to her own home. When her father brought her back, defendant told her father what her intentions were, and acquainted him of his having done so. He did not, however, fulfil the engagement, and she went home. She saw him at Taunton, on Lady-day, 1883, and he asked her to come back again. He promised to take her to Torquay on the next Saturday, and she went to meet him, but he did not come. She afterwards asked him about his promise to marry her, and he denied it, and said he had always told her he should never marry. She told him she had quite enough to bring an action against him. He replied that money got that way was no good to anybody. After she had left she wrote a letter to him, asking him for a written character for another engagement. He did not answer that letter, but his sister did. The house he lived in was his own, and there was about 50 or 60 acres also of his own, besides what he rented. She had heard him talk about his money. He said he had money in the bank and in other places. He did not say how much.
Cross-examined by Mr POOLE: One of the sisters often came to see her. She did not think the sisters knew anything about it. No one was ever present when any offer of marriage was made, except her father. Had written one letter to him besides the one which had been read. She had no letter from him. He never used to write letters. Before she left he complained of her quarrelling with the servant. She had complained to him that he made the servant “cheeky” to her. The servant was saucy to her when he was ill. He did not give her notice to leave because of her quarrelling with the servant. He never gave her any notice, she gave him one. After she had been there a month they were engaged. She had mentioned it to none besides her father. When he wanted her to attend on him during his illness she told him he ought to have a wife to do for him. She did not suggest anyone, only herself. She remembered his driving her into Taunton one day. She did not say to him it was a shame she could not drive into Taunton with a man without it being said that they were going to be married. She had made no pressure upon him, till her solicitor wrote to him. It was no use speaking to him. Did not ask him one day at Taunton to go into the church. On one occasion in Taunton he asked her where they could go and have a glass of wine. They went to Mr DYER's. She had been there before with her brother. She did not take defendant there. There had been no improper intimacy between her and defendant till after his sister went away. She was not indecent in the first instance. She denied positively being ever the aggressor in such conduct. Swore positively that he repeatedly promised to marry her. She told him once it was not right to live in the way they were living, and he said that would not for long she never told defendant she was engaged to a man named MEAKIN. She had told him she had enough to bring an action against him, but did not say “If you won't give me some money for what you have done to me, my father will come and swear that you promised to marry me.” She had told him she had £15 in the bank, but did not ask him to make it up to £20.
John LEE examined: Was father of the plaintiff, and lived at Staplegrove. Was a retired farmer. Corroborated her evidence. Sitting alone with defendant in his house, his daughter, the plaintiff, came in and defendant said to her, “I told you, Miss LEE, I intended to tell your father.” He had previously told him he intended to marry her.
Cross-examined: It was in 1881, but he could not remember the day. Defendant always said he was very happy. Had never written defendant a letter. He always said he and plaintiff were getting on very well. Witness had never done anything in it.
Mr POOLE, for the defence, contended that the plaintiff had lost nothing material by defendant not marrying her. He was but a poor and small farmer, and she would gain very little by it. It was said that defendant had seduced and ruined plaintiff, but he submitted that none need have known anything about it but for herself, and, consequently so far as her social position was concerned she had sustained no injury. The plaintiff was ready and willing in all that had occurred, and had none but herself to blame, and it did not follow at all that because there had been immoral behaviour between them he had promised her marriage.
The defendant, Mr LOCKYER, was then called, and said he was a farmer at Boroughbridge, a bachelor, and 53 years of age. He had a little land of his own, and a little money in the bank, but not much. The plaintiff had been his housekeeper, and be admitted having had improper intercourse with her, the first time about a month after she came. He swore positively that she made the first overtures, and that he repeatedly found her in his bed. He entirely denied the conversation alleged to have passed, or that he ever made any promise to marry plaintiff. There had never been any conversation on the subject between him and his father. He once said to the father that if she wanted to get married he should not stand in her way. She had given him notice two or three times about leaving. It was in consequence of disagreements between her and the servant. The last time he saw plaintiff was in Taunton. He asked her how she was, and if she would like a glass of wine. She said she would, and she showed him the way into a little room up the passage at DYER's. They were not ten minutes in the little room. He did not promise her marriage then, nor allude to it in any way. When they came out he asked if there was a nearer way to the station, and she took round by St. Mary's church, and they looked in at it, and he said if there was a parson and clerk he would marry her at once. As regarded the seaside they had some talk, and he asked if she would mind going with him for a day. He fixed Thursday for the journey, but caught cold and had to be in bed on that day, and therefore did not meet her at the station as they had appointed. The next time he saw her she was very much excited, and said he had promised to marry her, and her father heard him. He afterwards got a lawyer's letter from Mr. CRAWSHAW, and took it to Mr TREVOR, as he did not understand it.
Cross-examined: He understood the seduction, but not the marriage. He did on various occasions kiss and embrace the plaintiff at her request.
Mr POOLE addressing the jury on the evidence at some length, maintaining that the whole action was an attempt to extort money, both on the part of the plaintiff and her father. He commented severely on the conduct of the plaintiff, and asserted that she was more to blame for the immoralities than defendant.
Mr COLLINS in reply, expressed great indignation at the attempt made by the defendant to impugn the character of the plaintiff, and suggested that if defendant never intended to marry her, his object must have been to seduce her under promise of doing so. He having seduced her got tired of her, and she left accordingly. The learned counsel commented on various points in the evidence, and concluded by urging upon the jury to find for his client. Before they could find a verdict for the defendant they must come to the conclusion that Miss LEE and her father had committed perjury for the sake of extorting money, and he denied that there was any reason whatever to take that view.
The learned Judge in summing up said the plaintiff was in this position, that she was not entitled to succeed unless she was corroborated as regarded the promise. Accordingly she relied upon her father for corroborative evidence. Without that she would not be able to get on, and he should have to withdraw the case. Her father's evidence, however, found her what she wanted in that particular. She said the promise of marriage was made or the first time about a month after she went to the defendant's house. Referring to the evidence of plaintiff's father, confirmed by herself, defendant told her father that he intended to marry her. It did not appear that beyond that anyone knew of the alleged promise. As to there being but one letter, he remarked that it was not likely that letters would pass between parties living together in the way they were. As to the visit to the public-house at Taunton, he did not think anything particular turned on that. The letter she wrote to the defendant asking for a character was a mere business one. If the jury did not believe that the promise was made out, they would give a verdict for the defendant. If they did think it was made out they would give such damages as they deemed the circumstances of the case and the pecuniary position of defendant justified.
The jury retired, and after half and hour's absence returned into court with a verdict for the plaintiff, damages £125.
ACTION FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT.
ENGLAND v. WHITE. - This was an action heard by a special jury. Mr POOLE and Mr CLARK, Q.C., appeared for the plaintiff, instructed by Messrs REED and COOK; and Mr. BULLEN, instructed by Mr CRAWSHAW, for the defence.
Mr POOLE having opened the pleading Mr CHARLES stated the case. The plaintiff resided at the time of the action complained of, at Roebuck farm, Crowcombe, he having married Mrs CHINN, the occupier of the farm; and defendant was a solicitor, and therefore should have known better. Mrs ENGLAND, before her second marriage Mrs CHINN, had bought a mare from Mr GIBBS which was valued at £50. In Nov., 1882, Mrs ENGLAND, then Mrs CHINN, being in want of money applied to Mr WHITE for a loan, and he agreed to advance her £55, and a document was drawn up between the parties, whereby the mare Nancy together with her foal was security, the loan to be paid off in November, 1883 and not earlier. The agreement was jointly and severally made between Mrs CHINN and Mr GIBBS. The loan was for £50, but the additional £5 was a bonus. Some deduction was made, which reduced the total amount payable to £49 9s 3d, to be paid on November 3rd, 1883. Subsequently Mrs CHINN married Mr Tom ENGLAND, but her husband did not derive 1s profit by it, he having no power to touch her money. The marriage took place in 1883, and they continued to carry on the farming business at Roebuck farm till the end of August, when they received notice to quit, which led to negotiations between the landlord's agent and Mr and Mrs ENGLAND, and ultimately an arrangement was made between them and the landlord to quit the farm. Defendant must have heard of this, for on October 10th he availed himself of his position as registrar of the Williton County Court to send the bailiff of that court to demand payment of the promissory note. This was not a right thing to do, for though Mr WHITE had a right to send his agent, he had no right to employ the County Court bailiff in the business. Mr ENGLAND pointed out to the bailiff that the note was not then due, and would not be due till November 3, but added that the mare was there and they could take her if they liked. The bailiff declined to take the mare, and insisted on payment being made in money. Mrs ENGLAND upon that called her husband, who had nothing to do with the matter, and was not liable for the debts which his wife had contracted before their marriage. He was, however, willing to have helped her, and he went at once to see Mr WHITE. When he called on Mr WHITE, MR WHITE was out, but on the following day he came in person over to Roebuck farm and saw Mrs ENGLAND, who again offered the mare as security. Mr WHITE said he did not like the mare, and did not think she was worth much to him. Mrs ENGLAND replied that she gave £55 for it, and showed Mr WHITE the receipt. Mr WHITE took the receipt away but brought it back again, and refused to have anything to do with the mare, but he said, “Mrs ENGLAND, there are two nice cows, I will take them instead of the mare.” Mrs ENGLAND refused to part with the cows. Mr ENGLAND was not liable, neither was Mrs ENGLAND till November 4. At the time Mr WHITE acted in this way neither of them really owned him a shilling. Mr WHITE then said unless he received the mare and further security by eleven o'clock the next morning he should take steps to have them arrested under the Absconding Debtors' Act, which was the only authority under which they could be arrested. On October 3rd Mrs ENGLAND went over to her brother at Spaxton, in a trap drawn by this mare, and on October 4th Mr ENGLAND rode the mare back to Roebuck farm, in order to make some arrangements between his wife and the landlord relative to the valuation. He then rode her back again to Spaxton, and the next morning went back with his wife to Roebuck farm. On Saturday, Oct. 6th, he started for Taunton with the intention of consulting Mr COOK with reference to his position. He got into the train at Crowcombe, when, with all the people standing about, it being the market train, two policemen stepped up and arrested him with a waerant?. Mr WHITE had previously applied to Mr PETERSDORFF, as judge of the complaint, for a warrant against the plaintiffs, which application was refused. Defendant not satisfied with this, then endeavoured to enforce the criminal law against the plaintiffs atending at the Williton petty sessions and laying an in, formation against Mr and Mrs ENGLAND, two respectable-people, one of whom had lived for sixteen years at Roebuck farm, charging them both not with stealing the mare, but with larceny by a bailee, which was an offence equally punishable. The magistrates' clerk granted the warrant, and upon that the police arrested Mr ENGLAND. Before being arrested Mr ENGLAND was taken back to Roebuck by a policeman, and on seeing this Mrs ENGLAND became very much excited, and went off to her brother-in-law's, at Spaxton, the policeman meantime keeping her husband in custody, and in the evening taking him to Stogumber station, where he was locked up, Mrs ENGLAND in the meantime had been at Spaxton where she remained until the next morning, when two policemen presented themselves there, and produced a warrant to take her also into custody as well as her husband. She was taken to Williton in a trap drawn by the very mare, and there incarcerated with her husband, They telegraphed over for Mr COOK, but Mr COOK was unable to attend at the magistrates' meeting on Monday, and telegraphed to remand the case till Tuesday, when the case was heard, and Mr WHITE, after the plaintiff had been locked up two days at the Williton station, withdrew the charge. Those were the facts upon which he contended the defendant was liable for damages for the wrongful arrest and false imprisonment which the plaintiffs had suffered. The learned counsel then called as the first witness Mrs ENGLAND, who corroborated her statement as to the load with the defendant, and the steps he had taken to enforce payment by the distress of the county court bailiffs, and the subsequent arrest of her and her husband.
Mr ENGLAND confirmed his wife's evidence, and added that when he and she were before the magistrates, Mr WHITE objected to the bail which they tendered, that of their brother-in-law, and then were consequently detained, though the mare, which was the security for the loan, was in a neighbouring stable the while. He complained further that they have been injured in reputation, and that in consequence of what had occurred he had been unable to obtain a fresh farm.
On cross examination plaintiff admitted that he was aware that there was a rumour about that they were about to leave the country. The poultry had been advertised for sale a week before this transaction. Mr CRAWSHAW Mr WHITE's solicitor, had got his wife's marriage settlement,
Mr JOYCE said he was clerk to the Williton magistrates. Mr WHITE applied for a warrant against the plaintiff for stealing a mare. He granted him the warrant on the information. The information was amended with one of being fradulent bailees. The two prisoners were brought up before the magistrates on the charge. A telegram was received applying for bail, and Mr WHITE said it must be substantial bail, and the prisoners had to be locked up till the next day, when they were discharged.
Cross-examined: Had information that Mr and Mrs ENGLAND had absconded with the mare and were on their way to America.
This closed the evidence, and Mr CHARLES then addressed the jury upon it, urging them to give his clients, if not vindictive, yet substantial damages.
Mr BULLEN, for the defence, ridiculed the vehemence of Mr CHARLES' statements, and said nothing could have been more honourable than the conduct to Mr WHITE, who when he made a mistake at once admitted it. He admitted that in point of law there was no justification for his proceeding, and he offered to pay the plaintiff the substantial sum of £70, which he contended was quite adequate confirmation, if they had chosen to accept. Mrs ENGLAND had been in an unfortunate position, and had borrowed money on a promissory note. That note specified that her bay mare, Nancy, should be the property of Mr WHITE, but at the time she gave the note she had not the mare in her possession. She had it some days after from Mr GIBBS, who went to America, and left the mare behind him. The plaintiffs had advertised their furniture and all they had, the sale to come off only a few days before the promissory note became due, and MR WHITE was therefore justified in his proceedings, there being rumours abroad that they were going to America. Mr WHITE, hearing these rumours, made enquiries, and from what he heard he applied for the warrants. Mr WHITE was too respectable a man to take a false oath for the purpose of detaining a mare, though he might have been wrong in his law. The Sunday on which the plaintiffs were in the station, Mr WHITE sent them their dinner, which did not look as though he were the vindictive person he had been represented. He contended that Mr WHITE had acted fairly, he having paid in £70, on finding that he was wrong in his law, and that there was no ground for giving the plaintiffs any further damages.
His Lordship in summing up said the charge against Mr WHITE was that he had maliciously put the criminal law in force against the plaintiffs, without any reasonable or probably cause, which was a serious thing to do. By the terms of the note the defendants could sue the plaintiffs, but there was an honourable rather than a legal understanding that payment should not be demanded except under unforeseen conditions. Mr WHITE had no security for the money except the mare, and hearing certain rumours in the neighbourhood, he went to Mr ENGLAND and saw Mrs ENGLAND. He asked for his money, and Mrs ENGLAND offered to let him have the mare, he declined and wanted some cows which refused. They had heard that Mr WHITE made an application before the county court judge, which was refused, and dropped through. Mr WHITE ought to have known the law, and the fact of his making this application was only important as showing the spirit by which he was moved. Referring to a letter which Mr WHITE wrote threatening to arrest the plaintiffs under the Absconding Bankruptcy Act, he said he ought not to have written it, and in conclusion he told the jury it rested with them to assess the damages.
The Jury found judgement for the plaintiffs, £150 to Mr ENGLAND and £85 to Mrs ENGLAND.
His Lordship intimated that he should be compelled to take notice of the conduct of the defendant as being an abuse of official power.
E. PAULL V. J. PAULL.
This was an action relative to some family settlements. The parties live at Ilminster. Mr POOLE appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr BULLER for the defendant. It was not tried by a jury. Some correspondence was put in, and some evidence given by Mrs PAULL, Mr Joseph PAULL, and Mr Henry PAULL.
Mr BULLER for the defence withdrew one item of the case, a claim of £400, from the contention.
His lordship reserved judgement.
The court rose at six o'clock.
FIRST COURT. - TUESDAY.
(Before Mr Justice CAVE.)
Francis James DUNN (16), labourer, found guilty of attempting an abominable offence, was sentenced to four months' imprisonment with hard labour.
Mr SPEKE prosecuted, and Mr Blake ODGERS defended.
CONCEALMENT OF BIRTH AT CRICKET ST. THOMAS.
Miriam WOOD (29), a servant, who appeared to be very weak and had to be seated, withdrew her plea of not guilty which she made when arraigned, and pleaded guilty, to the concealment of the birth of her female child, at Cricket St. Thomas, on the 25th of November.
Mr ODGERS prosecuted, and the Hon. Bernard COLERIDGE defended.
Learned counsel for the defence addressed the court in mitigation of sentence, and said that prisoner had for several years been in the service of Lord BRIDPORT as house-maid, and his lordship had testified to her good character. She became engaged to the gardener, which resulted in her confinement, which it was impossible to say she did not attempt to conceal. The doctor could not say that the child was born alive, but some bones in its head were broken, occasioned as prisoner said by her falling as she was going down stairs with it in her arms. The young man who had seduced her was quite willing to marry her as soon as she had expiated her offence.
The Judge, in consideration of the good character which prisoner had hitherto borne, passed sentence of one months' imprisonment without hard labour.
A DRUNKEN FREAK AT HUISH EPISCOPI.
John WOODBORNE, on bail, was indicted for shooting at himself with a loaded pistol, at Huish Episcopi, on January 3rd of the present year.
Mr KUGH held the brief for the prosecution, and MR BROADMEAD defended.
Prisoner was drinking with some other men on the day named, when he suddenly drew out of his pocket a revolver pointed it towards his head, and fired. The bullet lodged in the wall behind where he was sitting. The revolver was taken away from the accused, who went home, and was found in bed by P.S. SLADE in a semi-intoxicated condition.
For the defence Mr BROADMEAD asked the jury to look upon the matter as a drunken freak, and say that he discharged the pistol with no intention of killing himself.
The jury found a verdict of not guilty, and in discharging the prisoner his Lordship said he was a very foolish man, and ought to be ashamed to give three or four witnesses and twelve jurymen the trouble of dealing with the case. “Now,” added the judge, “go away, and don't do anything of the kind again.”
FELONY AT BATH.
Frederick WEIR (24), a painter, and Thomas George WHITE, brightsmith, were indicted for stealing a copper boiler fixed in a certain dwelling-house known as Wellington-house, Bath, belonging to Jno. BENCE, on the 21st Jan.
Mr ODGERS was for the prosecution, and Mr MURCH defended WHITE.
The boiler was seen safely in the house in question early in the afternoon of the day named, and subsequently it was missed and sold by WEIR to a marine store dealer for 17s. Both prisoners were seen in the neighbourhood of Wellington-house before the boiler was stolen.
The prisoner WEIR, who cross-examined the witnesses with some ability, made a specially prepared defence, in which he maintained that the case was one of mistaken identity.
Mr MURCH submitted there was no evidence against his client.
Mr ODGERS: It is very slight.
The Judge: So slight that I cannot see it at present.
Mr ODGERS: Quite so, my lord.
The jury accordingly returned a formal verdict of acquittal against WEIR, but WHITE was convicted.
They were next indicted for stealing a quantity of lead piping at No. 2, Priory-street, and with the theft of a copper boiler from Woodfield cottage, Bath.
Mr SIMMONS prosecuted, WHITE being defended by Mr MURCH.
The circumstances were similar to those related in the ast <sic> case.
Prisoners were both convicted, and Weir was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, and WHITE to four months' imprisonment, both with hard labour.
His Lordship said he thought the prisoner had been in the habit of stripping unoccupied houses and living on the proceeds.
ILLNESS OF A PRISONER.
The calendar contained the name of Olive?? POPHAM (37), poultry dealer, indicted for stealing a turkey, of the value of 10s, the property of Edwin FROST, at Mark, on the 17th of January, and further with the theft of four other turkeys, of the value of 30s, belonging to David BELL, at Dunwear, on the 21st of January.
Mr HENSMAN, the prison surgeon at Taunton, said that the accused was not in a fit state to appear in court, and the case was accordingly adjourned.
Joseph STEVENS (47), labourer, was charged with stealing a stone jar and five quarts of cider, of the value of 1s 6d, the property of William HOLBROOK, of Chewstoke, between the 1st of November and the 20th December.
Mr CLIFTON prosecuted, prisoner was undefended.
Owing to the prosecution being unable to identify either the jar or the cider, the judge directed a verdict of acquittal which was accordingly taken.
CHARGE OF STABBING AT NETHER STOWEY.
James HOBBS surrendered to his recognizance, and was indicted for wounding Henry SPARKS, at Nether Stowey, on the 26th of December.
Mr WARRY was counsel for the prosecution, and the prisoner was defended by the Hon. Bernard COLERIDGE,
Prisoner is prosecutor's father-in-law, and they live at Nether Stowey. There seems to have been a family feud between the parties, and on the day named they met at the George Inn and quarrelled. Prisoner's wife was there, and she also had some words with the prosecutor, and whilst they were talking the prisoner went up to SPARKS and said “If you curse my wife I'll curse you.” The parties went into the inn yard, and prisoner raised his right hand, when it was observed that he had something in it which glistened, and struck the prosecutor on the arm down which blood soon commenced to trickle. The wound was subsequently attended to by a surgeon, and SPARKS had to keep his bed for six days. The prisoner dealt in knives, and when he was apprehended the next day he had two of those instruments in his possession. A knife, upon which some blood stains were distinctly traceable, was found afterwards near the spot where the alleged occurrence took place.
Prosecutor in cross-examination said that he borrowed a knife on the day in question, but he did not remember from whom he had it or to whom he returned it.
The defence was that HOBBS was not the man who stabbed SPARKS, and witnesses were called who said that they were in the inn yard during the quarrel, but they did not see the prosecutor wounded.
Learned counsel for the prisoner urged the jury to remember that it was their duty to consider the case upon evidence only, and to dismiss from their minds all presumptions and opinions with reference to the case.
His Lordship summed up the case at considerable length, and the jury after a few minutes' consideration acquitted the prisoner.
The court adjourned at half-past four until this morning.
SECOND COURT. - TUESDAY.
(Before Lord Justice LINDLEY.)
PAULL v. PAULL. - In the case of PAULL v. PAULL, adjourned from the previous evening, his lordship gave judgment, at the opening of the court, in favour of plaintiff with costs.
Mr BULLEN applied on behalf of the defendant to stay judgment to give time to realise the estate, and said the solicitor would give an undertaking that the debt should be paid first, out of the realisation of the stock.
The court stayed execution till Thursday, and gave leave to make a further application on Wednesday.
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