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COUNTY COURT, TUESDAY, before…

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COUNTY COURT, TUESDAY, before Judge HERBERT. The only case ot public interest was the following VIOLENT ASSAULT CASH. Wm. Parkhouse v. Wm. Williams, and wife. Plaintiff sought to recover £50, as damages for injuries sustained by an assault. I Mr. Simons, of Merthyr, appeared for plaintiff, and Mr. Cathcart, Newport, for defendant. We have not space for the evidence in the case, which was of a very lengthy nature, but the facts will be gathered from the addresses of the attorneys, given below. In opening the case, Mr. Simons said—I am in this case for the plaintiff, who is a shoemaker living in this town. The defendant is also a shoemaker, and I believe the truth to be, that the violent assault of which I complain, had arisen in consequence of some rivalry in trade between these parties. Now, the circumstances of the assault are shortly these: The plaintiff, on the night of Friday, tho 21st of August last, had to take some work to a man's house-a shoemaker's—to be done for himself. The man keeps a kind of beer-house, and the defendant happened to be there at the time. Both plaintiff and defendant stayed there some time, the defendant leaving first. After the defendant had left time enough to reach his house, the plaintiff left. On his way home, near to a place called the Mason's Arms, he found the defendant waiting for him. The defendant met him on the road, and immediately addressed some exceedingly provoking words to him. The plaintiff desired to be left alone, upon which the defendant seized him by the collar, and hit him. Plaintiff endea- voured to secure the defendant, to wrestle with him, and get out of his grasp, but the defendant struck him to the ground and beat him. This was near the defendant's house, and he called out to a son of his to come to his assistance, upon which the son and the mother—the defendant's wife-rushed out of the house, the mother having a boot in her hand, and they and another son immediately made an attack upon the plaintiff, who, by this time, had been raised from the ground by a witness who came up. His Honor—The wife acted under her husband's insti- gation, and would, therefore, not be liable, and her name should be struck out. Mr. Simons—J think she is liable under the Act. How" ever, it does not matter much. His Honor—The wife acted in the presence of her hus- band, and at his command. Mr. Simoos-She did not act only by his instigation. His Honor—There's no difference about that. Mr. Simons—No. However, the man had been raised from the ground. The defendant, his two sons, and wife immediately attacked him, got him on the ground, and again injured him. From the interference of people, the plaintiff was got from their grasp and I think that if he had not been, it is probable they would have done him such injury as would have rendered them liable to a very serious criminal charge. Plaintiff was got up and re- moved into a house, and he was covered with blood, which was flowing copiously from his nose, mouth, and finger, the latter of which had been severely bitten and he was so injured that he was incompetent to follow his occupation for several days. Well, your Honor, we ask in this case for the full measure of damages which the County Court has jurisdiction to assess, and we think we are entitled to them—especially when defendant's previous conduct to- wards plaintiff is taken into consideration—conduct which shews the object and guide of the defendant in committing this assault. Of course, evidence of a previous assault is not, in this action, evidence at all, but it will shew the motive-that which moves the man-that led to the com- mission of the outrage of which we complain. We will shew that on a previous occasion he assaulted the plaintiff, who left him untouched and took no proceedings; and he then (shewing the bitterness that moved him) used malignant observations to the plaintiff. Now, I may mention that upon the occasion of the assault—on the occasion of the 21st of August-the defendant did that which appears to me an exceedingly base and outrageous thing to have done towards the plaintiff—considering the position of plaintiff in this town. He referred to a circumstance in the plaintiffs history-a painful one—and one which should not have been adverted to indiscriminately. He referred to the fact, which I will not with-hold from this Court, that some years ago plaintiff was charged and convicted of an offence, and on the night in question the defendant began his out- rage upon the plaintiff by adverting to that circumstance in his history. But, although convicted of the offence, and punished for it, I may say that he has since been sup- ported by gentlemen of position in this neighbourhood,who evidently consider him to be so little culpable, although he was, perhaps, legally culpable, that they have unhesita- tingly taken their work to him. Plaintiff is really a respectable tradesman, and is respected in the town, and there had not ever been an imputation made against him before the period referred to. Adverting to that cir- cumstance shewed the ill mind of the defendant, and the bad spirit that influenced him, and shows that he, being influenced by that spirit, was under no disposition to control his vituperation by either words or actions. If I prove these facts, I have no doubt but you will deciae in my favor. Looking at the circumstances, I think the full measure of damages should be awarded;—for unless such violence be restrained by the infliction of heavy dama- ges, the consequence will be that people will be in- duced to take the law into their own hands, and there is no knowing what the result would be since aggressions of this kind would become more numerous. Mr. Simons then called the following witnesses in sup- port of his statements, viz.: the plaintiff, Ebenezer Sumner, Frederick Probyn, Thomas Smith, Edward Croom, and Mr. Cuthbertson. After the evidence of these witnesses had been taken, Mr. Cathcart said: There is a great conflict of testimony in this case. CHis Honor Very strange if there was not J. Yes. It is true, I believe, that these parties are living in the same tdwn, and are in the same trade, and it is also true, as suggested by my learned friend, that there is some rivalry in trade between them; but I am told, and Mr. Williams is here to speak for himself, that the state of his trade is not such as to cause him to be uneasy about Mr. Parkhouse, who, he believed, could do him no Injury, not- withstanding he occasionally works for two officers of a rifle corps, in which he is a member It seems very strange that my learned friend should have brought up a cir- cumstance that occurred at so remote a period as 16 months ago, for the purpose of influencing your Honor's mind in the matter of damages, and I think it very strange for him to blazon to the world plaintiff's unfortunate de- linquency. I did not intend to speak of it. However, I think that had there been any animus on the part of the defendant, he would have had many opportunities to display it since the affair 18 months ago. I think there was no harm for the defendant to say to plaintiff, If you get,my men away from me, I will see which is the best man of the two that being sufficient cause. Now, these parties meet at the public house, where nothing occurs to create any animus on the part of my client. I ask, therefore, why he should have committed this assault. He leaves the house first; there is nothing proved to have taken place between them, no communication with the workman which was in Williams' employ, and nothing occurred to exeite my client; and yet he is said to be the man who committed the assault. Now, I will prove that plaintiff committed it, and led to all subsequent circumstances of which I bave to complain. Mr. Cathcart then went on to argue that the observation attributed to defendant, was not the commencement of the quarrel, but was in reply to a very insulting observation made by the plaintiff towards defendant, and which was accompanied by the shaking of money by the plaintiff as he was passing the defendant, and that after much abusive language on both sides, plaintiff made the first assault by shoving defendant with his elbow; the fight then ensued, in which it was evident his client had not the advantage as the plaintiff wished to make believe, from the fact of his calling for assistance, which brought his wife, who received a violent blow from the defendant, resulting in her having a black eye the next day. In referring to the matter of the finger, the speaker remarked: I am told by my client that it is a practice, but one, I hope, that is more honored in the breach than the observance, when a person is fighting, and gets savage, he tries to get a finger in his antagonist's mouth. [His Honor-I hope that's not after the manner of Gwentj, Well, I am told that that was the practice attempted tin the present occasion, that plaintiff got his finger in the defendant's mouth, to tear it from the inside. This caused considerable pain, and Mr. Williams says he did his best to get rid of the finger, and consequently bit it. With. regard to motive, Mr. Cathcart submitted that there was no malignity on the part of his client, but that the part he had taken in the affair arose on the spur of the moment. Witnesses were then called on defendant's behalf, and His Honor, in summing up, said—I sball say only a few words on this painful case. It is one of a common class, and in most of such cases I experience a difficulty to determine who commences the assault, but in the present case, I am disposed to think that it was defendant; the plaintiff states that he was taunted with his conviction at Usk. Now, I don't it is at all probable that he should have concocted that, since it would bring his delinquency to the public eye I believe that that was the commenllement of the quarrel. There is no doubt that the defendant had a bad feeling towards the plaintiff, by his saying that if he interfered with his men and trade he would punish him, and he does not deny that; nor does he deny that on one occasion he offered plaintiff a sovereign to strike him. I put the question to him, and he said that he did not remember saying anything of the kind. Now, if a man had not said so, he would give his denial in very strong language. After a recapitulation of defendant's state- ment, His Honor proceeded Looking at all the circum- stances of the case, I come to the conclusion, though I do so with some doubt, and am very sorry that I have not a jury to share the responsibility, and to assist me in assessing the damages, that the plaintiff is entitled to be recompensed for the actual injury sustained, and the expense he has been put to for a medical man; for the loss he has sustained by not being enabled to follow his trade, and be paid something for the suffering he has experienced, and for the ignominy he has sustained by the attack upon him. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, I think the justice of the case will be met by defendant paying 95 as damages. I shall also allow witnesses and attorney.

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