Court Case 1885

Maidment v A Williams 1885 - Local Court, Strathalbyn

Transcribed from photocopy of Newspaper cutting sent to Robyn Fisher by Bill Howlett c 1994. The year 1885 handwritten on cutting.

Law Courts

(Before Messrs. W. G. McCullagh, SM, W. D. Stephenson and S. Stanton JP’s)

Josephine Maidment v A. Williams - Action for stretment to respect of part section 1789 Hundred of Strathalbyn.  New Trial, by order of the Supreme Court.

Mr. von Doussa for plaintiff; Mr. H. J. Gordon for defendant.

Josephine Maidment, widow, of Woodchester – I am the owner of Section 1789, Hundred of Strathalbyn, for which I produce registered title certificate.  A small portion of the section is fenced off, with a cottage thereon.  This was in the occupation of the defendant at the time of the announcement of the action, and it is this piece of land I claim in this action as my property, as described in plaint.  Its value is about twenty ponds.  I claim five pounds also for profits.  Since the last trial the defendant has abandoned the place, after damaging the property as much as he could be cutting down fruit trees, &c.  He had a sale of his effects and left the premises.

By Mr. Gordon – Know that the land in question is part of section 1789.  I did not measure it, but my husband did.  My husband told me that it was on section 1789.  Of my own knowledge I can swear that the land is on 1789.  I judge by map and shape of the land.  I will sear that the land set out in the plaint is that occupied by Alf Williams.  I did not see a copy of the plaint drawn by Mr. von Doussa, but I heard it read.  I can not give exact measurement from memory, but will swear that those given to the declaration are correct as to the land occupied by Williams.  I swear this because I have been told so.  Of my own knowledge I know nothing of the measurements.  I was married to Mr. Maidment thirteen years ago.  Howlett was in possession of the land at the time I was married to Mr. Maidment.

Herman Applekamp, of Woodchester, son of plaintiff – Know section 1789, Hundred of Strathalbyn, which belongs to my mother.  A part of it is fenced off, and this was on the occupation of A. Williams in August last.  He is not occupying the land now, having left some time this month, about the 4th.  He sold a lot of his effects by auction took others away.  My mother has sold a lot of his effects by auction took others away.  My mother has three sections.  Know them all.  The portion of 1789 occupied by Williams faces a District Council road.

By Mr. Gordon – I measured the land, but have not got the measurement with me.  Have not the declaration, and don’t know the measurement hereto stated and therefore cannot state that they are the measurement of the land occupied by Williams.  Live with my mother.  Howlett has been in occupation of the land ever since I have known it, about eleven year, till lately, when A. Williams lived there.

This closes the plaintiff’s case.

Mr Gordon said that he would take the point he took at the first trial, there was no evidence of a locus in quo, there being no evidence whatever before the court to identify the land plainted, with the piece mentioned in the declaration.

For the defence – Alfred Possingham, of Wistow; gardener – I know piece of land lately occupied by Alfred Williams.  The house was occupied by Williams and his wife and children.  Knew a man called Howlett who lived in the house for many years.  Howlett build it, and lived there for 31 or 32 years to my knowledge.  He died two years ago on the premises.  After he died Mrs. Howlett lived there.  On the evening of Howlett’s funeral day Mrs. Maidment said to Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Howlett, “It is not worth while to keep on the two houses, come over and all live together, and you can have our cart and horse to fetch our furniture".  This was said in Howlett’s house.  Mrs. Williams was Mrs. Howlett’s daughter.  Williams was on the premises when this was said.  I am no relation to any of the parties, and am not interested in the case either way.  I knew the late Mr. Maidment for over 30 years.  Had two or three conversations with Mr. Maidment, deceased, relative to this particular property.

Mr. von Doussa objected to this evidence.  Objection not upheld.

I remember one of our election times.  I voted at Woodchester at this time, and overtook Maidment and Howlett going there.  I asked Maidment what gave Howlett a title to vote in the Upper House, and he said he has a house and garden which he valued at sixty pounds.  On a subsequent occasion Maidment said he had given Howlett the piece of land because he could not do without help, and Mrs. Maidment could not do without Mrs. Howlett.  Howlett built the house himself and lived there over 30 years.  Williams came to live with Mrs. Howlett for about six weeks before she went away.

By Mr. von Doussa – it was in the beginning of 1884 that I heard Mrs. Maidment ask Mrs. William to come and live with Mrs. Howlett.  Mrs. William, Mr. Maidment, Mrs Howlett, Mrs. A Rogers and one other female were present at the time.  Not time was mentioned during which they should live together.  Mrs. Howlett soon after that left the colony.  When Maidment told me that the house was worth sixty pounds I knew that Howlett had no title.  Maidment did not say that Howlett was only to live there during his life.  Maidment said the wives could not do without each other; that was the reason he gave Howlett the piece of land.

George Owen, public school teacher Woodchester – Knew Maidment slightly.  He is now dead.  I had a conversation with him in the latter part of April or early in May 1883, relative to the property.  (Mr. von Doussa objected again).  I was then a stranger in Woodchester, and wanting to know about the various families and, pointing to a certain cottage, asked “Who lives there?”  He said “William Howlett.”  He told me Howlett was an old man who had been living there for 30 years, and that his family had all grown up.  I made some casual remark that the land seemed to abut on his (Maidment’s) section and seemed to be part of it, when he replied emphatically “No that’s William Howlett’s own property.”  That was the land and cottage lately occupied by Williams.

By Mr. von Doussa – Have not any animosity against the plaintiff nor have I had any personal litigation with any of the family.  I repeated Maidments remarks in my family the same day it was made after this action commenced.  I expressed surprise at it and communicated my surprise to Mrs. Williams, repeating the conversation.  I was not a witness in the last trial.

Henry Smith, Clerk of the Onaunga District Council – Knew Howlett, deceased and knew the property the subject of this action occupied by Howlett for over 30 years.  He paid rates on the property since 1858.

Mr. Gordon then proceeded to address the court on the point taken earlier in the case, and further pleaded that the law was not the property of Mrs. Maidment grounding his claims on the Limitations of Suites and Actions Act, 1856-7, clauses 4, 5, and 6.  The third point Mr. Gordon took was that Mrs. Maidment herself sanctioned the possession by Williams.

Mr. von Doussa replied at some length to the various points and argued that the protection of the plaintiff of the registered certificate of title was conclusive evidence in her favor there being no evidence of this certificate being obtained by means of fraud or false declaration.

The court made an order for the ejectment with five pounds meshliu prudis, each part to pay their own costs.

Unsatisfied Judgement.

Order made for payment of 10s per week, first payment to be made on the 21st inst.