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fGoodwick and its Common.

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f Goodwick and its Common. SUMMONS FOR DAMAGES. A full Bench of Magistrates, together with the learned clerk (Mr R T P Williams, on Friday last, heard the first summons for an alleged criminal act, that has ever been brought in respect to the Goodwick common. The Pembroke Estates Co., Ltd. (represented by Mr V J G Johns) summoned John Miles, mason, Penrhiw Hill, Goodwick, for that lie on the May 4th last did unlawfully and maliciously damage, injure, and spoil certain earth property of the Pem. Estate Co. by then and there digging. The damage being estimated at Ci.-Alr J Howard Davies, solicitor, Goodwick appeared for the defend- ant, who was also present. Mr. Johns detailed the circumstances of the Company having acquired the manorial rights from the Eclesiastical Commissioners who surrendered all their rights to the Com- pany. He went on to state two cases of a similar nature in which the proprietors had sustained convictions against tresspassers on common land. He also referred to the county court case brought successfully by the Estate Company. Mr Howard Davies took objection to the references made to other cases. It was for the Justices to determine from all the circum- stances whether the estates have a claim or right. The assertion of a right was in- sufficient to bring about that which was sought. He also took objection to the form of the summons, contending that the section did not apply, and that the summons was taken out under section 52 of the Malicious Damages Act, 1861, but the words in the section had been varied in the summons. The words were "shall wilfully or maliciously commit damage." It appeared to him that the summons had been taken out under 51 which referred to cases of damages exceeding £ 5. Further, he contended that the case was one which did not come within the juris- distion of the court. It was one for a civil court. Replying to the Clerk Mr. Davies said lie wished notice to be taken of the point raised. Another reference to the County Court action by Mr. Johns brought the question by the Clerk if he intended calling any witnesses, the reply was in the negative. Mr R T Williams in regard to the wording of the summons referred to the authorities on the matter showing that the wording was quite in legal order. Mr Davies in his address said he would confine his remarks to jurisdiction and con- tended that the onuwas upon the Pem. Estates Co to prove their claim to show that the commoner's rights, especially those of his client, had been extinguished. Defendant had occupied the plot which was pegged out, for nine years, during which time he had enjoyed undisputed possession, The defen- dant had acted on his bona-fide right in digging. Surely, added Mr Davies, if he had occupied the plot all that time he acted per- fectly within his rights by doing what lie had done. If the learned Clerk and Bench hap- pened to be against him on the question of jurisdiction he should on the advice of Mr S Bowen -Rowlaiids-to whom he was greatly indebted for legal assistance—have to ask the Magistrates to state a special case for the High Court. Referring again to the wording of the summons he quoted Counsel's opinion thereon, and said that as applying to the present case it was absolutely worthless. The Clerk Would Mr Davies please give the opinions as his own without reference to any other authority. Mr Davies said he was contending that the prosecutors had only the commoner's rights with his client, and that the only way such rights,which are sacred, could be extinguished is by a special Act of Parliament. It had been stated by Mr J Wynford Philipps, M.P.— Clerk: Unless you intend calling Mr Philipps I fear we cannot admt that. Mr. G D Harries: I don't see the reason for his name being brought into the case at all.—The chairman concurred. Mr Davies then proceeded to state that lie would ask the Magistrates to exercise their jurisdiction in so far as to say that only by Act of Parliament commoner's rights can be done away with. The Pem. Estate Co. had tried to obtain that act of parliament and had failed. He claimed having won his case that day with costs against the prosecution. That Court had no jurisdiction to decide the case and the summons was not in order. Tlie Clerk With respect to the summons I shall advise the Magistrates that it is in order. Mr. Davies proceeding further said that on the question of costs, before he called his client, he would draw attention to the fact that the summons bore date 8th May, and he believed was returnable for June 7th, yet the prosecutors meanwhile invaded the defen- dant's plot and kicked everything down. On that, if on no other ground he was entitled to costs, the case being sub-judice." Mr Johns rose to say that Mr Davies had made a great point in the defence of com- moner's rights, when the Clerk asked that one should address the Court at a time. The summons was exactly in accord with the legal form laid down in the recognised legal authority. John Miles, the defendant, was called and in reply to Mr Davies said he put down the pegs nine or ten year's ago. Clerk What sort of pegs were they ? Defendant: Four wooden pegs, nine inches above the ground and nine inches below. He was there a fortnight ago. He had replaced the pegs about five times in the period of possession. Mr Davies Can you recollect the 14th of May last ? Defendant: Yes. Mr Johns came up and saw me digging out foundations. What did he say ? Good morning, Mi!es, how are you getting on ? I said, slowly. (Laughter). Cross-Examined by Mr Johns: I am a tenant ofCapt. Williams,Sanremo, Goodwick. Do you own any property in the parish besides this plot you claim ? No. Do you know that rights of common are attached to property and not to person ? Miles I do not know what you mean. The Clerk Just to help him I will ask Mr Davies a question. You put two points for- ward, one was that he had commoner's rights. Mr Davies I don't claim that at all. It is on the prosecutors to show.their rights and how the commoner's rights are extinguished. Mr Miles I have followed the example of my co-parishioners, who have pegged out plots and built on the common. Mr Johns On what property is it that you claim. Mr Miles I am living under Capt Williams at Goodwick, my native place. The Clerk This is waste land ? Miles, yes. Clerk: Is there furze growing on the land you have shut in ? Yes. Clerk: No one by passing could see the pegs ? No, unless lie went to look for then. 6 Clerk: I don't quite understand what is it he claims. What have you done with the plot during the nine years of occupation ? Miles: 1 have been to look at it; but I have done nothing to the plot besides putting down Df'Ø"< until about six months ago when o "7 1 commenced digging. Mr Johns: You said you were digging out a foundation what were you going to do w ith the ground ? Miles: Build a house. Mr Johns: If you built a house there would be less open grourid. left. ? Miles: It is getting less and less all the time.. Mr Johns: You were going to dig this out for your own private use ? Miles: Yes. Clerk (to Mr. Davies): You are not going to call any more witnesses ? Mr Davies: No. Clerk: W hat do you suggest is his legal right ? Do you suggest he is a commoner ? Mr Davies He always has been. But I claim also that the Estates Co.'s remedy is not in this court, but in a civil court. It lies entire- ly with the prosecutorsto shew their bone fides before they can sustain a prosecution. Clerk: Have the Pembroke Estates Co. no title? Mr Davies: I submit that the Estates Co's. title is subject to common rights which are sacred, and that the property they have de- scribed is not theirs. If the onus is upon them to prove their claim, and they have not done so, then I am entitled to costs. They have come to the wrong court. Clerk: I am really at a loss, and don't know what your client claims. Mr Johns: If there are rights of common, I submit that defendant is not a commoner. Mr Davies: I am asked by counsel to say the case is not for this court. I am not going ito the question now whether the defendant is a commoner or not. I submitt that the Estates Co. have absoluiely no right to sum- mon defendant without first showing that de-

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fGoodwick and its Common.