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A SINGULAR. TRIAL AND AN EX- TRAORDINARY VERDICT. The extraordinary trial of Hill v. Finney," in the Nisi Prius Court, London Guildhall, came to a singular conclusion on Monday evening. We need not alludo to the details of the case further than to say that the plaintiff wished to disprove the charges made against him in the Divorce Court, that he had been guilty of revolting cruelty to his wife. It was not disguised by the plaintiff's counsel that the future of their client depended upon the verdict of the jury. The trial began several days before Christmas, and was resumed again on Friday, continuing over Saturday and Mon- day. The cause of complaint was thus steted:-That Captain Hill's wife had filed a petition against him in the Divorce Court for a judicial separation on the ground of cruelty; that he had employed the de. fendant Finney as his attorney in the suit, and that he had a good defence in it; but that the defendant advised him to consent to a decree for a judicial separation, ignorantly or negligently as. suring him that if he did so, evidence upon the charges contained in the petition would not be taken that upon this assurance the plaintiff did give such consent, but that evidence was taken whereby, it being un- answered, his character had been greatly injured. The defendant, by pleading Not Guilty," denied the alleged negligence, and he likewise pleaded denying that the plaintiff, his client, had a good defence in the suit. Mr. Coleridge, Dr. Tristram, and Mr. J. B. Maule (who has gone to Jamaica), were for the plaintiff Mr. Karslake and Mr. Watkin Williams were for the de- fendant. The evidence was concluded at the last sittings. The final addresses of counsel on each side occupied Friday and Saturday, and nearly the whole of Mon- day was occupied in summing up, which was so humorous and eloquent that it was listened to by a large audience, notwithstanding its length, with the most marked interest and attention, but of which space will only permit us to give the substance. The Lord Chief Justice, in a most elaborate sum- ming up, which lasted over five hours, left the impres- sion upon those present that he was in favour of a verdict for the plaintiff as to part of the issue relating to the defence in the former suit-viz., that there was a defence on the charge of cruelty, but that there was no defence on the ground of adultery; and for the 11 vI defendant upon the issue as to the negligent adviee alleged. The jury, who retired about a quarter to four to consider of their verdict, were absent for a long time. There were certain indications while they were in the jury-box of a division of opinion, and when two hours had passed away without their returning into court, it was doubted whether they would agree into court, it was doubted whether they would agree to a verdict. Three hours had more than elapsed before they came back to their box, and the foreman read from a paper the following ifadings:- "1. That there was a defence as to the charges of cruelty. "2. That there was not a defence on the ground of the recriminatory charge of adaltery. 3. That the plaintiff did not lose the benefit of his defence through the advice of the defendant, as alleged by the plaintiff." This, it will: be seen, was in accordance with the view understood to be conveyed by the summing up; and, of course, virtually it amounted, and was under- stood by all who heard it, to be meant, however, as a verdict for the defendant. The foreman was going on to state a finding as to damages, when The Lord Chief Justice interposed, and pointed out that their findings amounted to a verdict for the de- fendant, so that no damages could be given. The foreman said. it was not so understood. The Lord Chief Justice: Why you see, gentlemen, the plaintiff must have a cause of, action in order to recover damages, and, as I told you, he could only recover on the ground that the defendant gave him the alleged advice, which you have negatived, so that he cannot upon those findings be entitled to recover damages. The foreman said he believed his brethren had agreed to their findings on the supposition that they would be enabled to award damages. The Lord Chief Justice: That would not be so. The plaintiff's case consisted of two parts-that he had a defence, and that he lost it by the defendant's advice. You have negatived the latter, so that he cannot recover. The jary thereupon desired to retire, and did so. Daring their absence, Mr. W. Williams, one of the defendant's counsel, rose, and submitted that the findings of the jury amounted in law to a verdict for the defendant, and that therefore there was nothing further for them to consider. The Lord Chief Justice said certainly they ought not to alter their findings in order to give the plaintiff damages, and assuming those findings, of course the effect was a verdict for the defendant, and he had already sent for the jury to tell them so. The jury, having been sent for, returned into court, and The Lord Chief Justice addressed them in these terms: Gentlemen, it has occurred to me that I should not be discharging my duty either to the parties or to you if I allowed you to retire to reconsider your verdict without giving you a word of warning. You have, after several hours' consideration, solemnly recorded your deliberate verdict, that in your judg. ment the defendant did not give the advice complained of, and which forms the ground of the action. It seems, however, that some of you, having found the other issue in favour of the plaintiff, desire to give him damages; but that you cannot do. You cannot give damages against the defendant when you have ac. quitted' him of that which was the ground of action. You have come to a conclusion in favour of the defendant. You cannot, because you are disappointed in your intention of giving damages to the plaintiff, swerve from the verdict you have already deliberately adopted and deliberately returned. The jury, the majority of whom appeared by their gestures to assent to what was thus said, consulted among themselves, and then one of them said some- thing about an inconsistency between their findings. The Lord Chief Justice said: There is no incon- sistency at all, gentlemen. Your findings are perfectly clear and consistent. You have found that the plaintiff had a defence, but that he did not lose it by the defendant's fault. But the ground of action against the defendant rests partly upon the latter part of the case, which you have negatived; and, as you have negatived an essential part of his case, you cannot give him damages. One of the jury (the one who had put the point about the absence of Mr. Wood, and had put another point in the course of the summing up in favour of the plaintiff) desired again to retire, and accordingly the jury once more retired. After half an hour's absence they came back, and The foreman said: My lord, we return a simple verdict for the plaintiff-damages, one farthing. This seemed to surprise every one, and The Lord Chief Justioe, after a silence of several moments, said: I am afraid that will be an abortive result. You find for the plantiff, and you give a farth- ing damages. The foreman said that was so—that was their verdict. The Lord Chief Justice (after another pause): Then do I understand that you now find the defendant did give the advice alleged ? The Foreman: We do. We find that it was given. The Lord Chief Justice (in a tone somewhat con- temptuous) Why that is inoonsistent with your former finding! The foreman said that was their finding. The Lord Chief Juato?6: You think that the plain- tiff is entitled to a verdict, but not to damages; that he has lost his defence through the defendant's fault, but that he has suffered no loss ? The Foreman: Yes; but we desire to give him another start in life; a new trial in the world, so to speak. The Lord Chief Justice: I understand you. It is evidently the result of a compromise, and may make worthless this ten dar' trial. Your former findings satisfied, I think, the justice of the case. However, such is your verdict Dr. Tristam, one of the plaiatiffs counsel, said that was all he wantad. The Lord CMef Justice:. What a, farthing damages, (a laugh) ? Dr. Tristam: No; a new start in life. Ihe Lord Chief Justice: Well, there is the verdict. Verdict for the plaintiff—Damages, one farthing. It was now just upon eight o'clook, and the audience, amid audible laughter and murmurs, dispersed.




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