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MR. SOLOMON ANDREWS AND THE…

t WELSH BREACH OF PROMISE…

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t WELSH BREACH OF PROMISE SUIT. GOVERNESS'S ACTION AGAINST AN INDIAN BANKER. Before Mr Justice Darling and a common jury, in the Queen's Bench Division on Thursday, the case of Owen v Moberley came on for hearing. This was an action by Kose Eleanor Marie Owen, Criccieth, Carnarvon, to recover damages for breach of promise of marriage. The defendant, Charles H P Moberley, was stated to be superintendent of the Loan Department of the Bank of Bengal at Calcutta. Mr Ellis Griffith, M.P., and Mr Davenport were counsel Rfor the plaintiff, and Mr B A Cohen appeared for the defendant. Mr Griffith, in opening the case to the jury, said the plaintiff was 28 years of age. She was a gov- erness, and in February, 1895, she went out to India, where a year later she was introduced to the defendant at a dinner given by a professor at Agra College. He seemed to be greatly attracted by her, and they met daily, the defendant taking her for drives. From him she received presents of a silver buckle and a gold brooch set with pearls, and he also promised her a eat's-eye ring. Many letters passed between them, the defendant addressing Miss Owen as My darling little girl," and signing himself Yours ever, Charlie." He sent her his photo. Mr Cohen These letters have not been produced. Mr Griffith said he would tell the jury why. On December 20th the plaintiff arrived at Cawnpore, where the defendant happened to be on the business of his bank, and he met her and took her to the Empress Hotel. She remained at the hotel a fortnight, the defendant writing her daily. In February he promised to marry her, repeating the promise on three occasions in that month. On one occasion he said there was a church near, where the ceremony could be performed quietly. In April the defendant took rooms for her at a Calcutta hotel, and told her to buy a wedding-ring, for which he gave her the money. Subsequently she passed at Mysore as Mrs Charles," at the defendant's request, and he paid all her expenses there. At Lucknow he noticed her wedding-ring, took it off and put it on again saying, You are mine now." She became very ill, and when about to go ;to a hospital the defendant came to see her and took away all the letters he had written to her, saying that letters were dangerous things to lie about; but despite his solemn promise to return them he had never done so. After the birth of a child the defendant seemed anxious only to get rid of her, and sent her to England in December, 1897, at his own expense. Her friends turned against her, and this poor, friendless girl was left in deep distress, a-1 one occasion being on the eve of going with her child to the Workhouse, but despite this the defen- dant took no notice of her repeated letters. The plaintiff went into the witness box, the child, a little boy, toddling after and refusing to leave her. She gave evidence in accordance with her counsel's statement. Mr Griffith I call for the letters. Mr Cohen said he had not got tiiem. Mr Griffith claimed that in those circumstances he was entitled to call secondary evidence. The plaintiff, further examined, said in three of the letters there were references to marriage. In answer to one letter, in whi-h she had asked him to save the child's name, he said that if he married it would only be to be married, and he would never live with her. Cross-examined by Mr Cohen From first to last she might have received about P,300 from Moberley. In one of her letters to him she wrote After all this I never expect you to like me. My one ambition is for you to like our boy. I have always told you I will go out of your way if you will stand by our child. I never forget you told me that you could marry me. I will respect your honour, but I expect you to do your duty." Mr Cohen After that, do you still wish the jury to believe that Moberley promised to marry you ? Yes, because he said he would marry me, though he would not live with me. ° Has not Moberley always denied that the child was his ?—No, never before the birth though he has denied it since. Mr Cohen read a letter sent by the defendant's solicitor, saying that Moberley declined to help her so long as she persisted in molesting him with cor- respondence, and giving out that the child was his, but that he was willing to help her with a final present of £ 20 to clear off some debts, provided she wrote and said she would nob molest him further. The plaintiff: I replied that I could not accept the bribe. Mr Cohen You wrote to the defendant's sister I could have shown you letters to prove that Mob- erley liked me once, but he took them away from me before I was ill, at my request." Is not that the fact? No; I remember that he suggested taking them himself. In further cross-examination the witness said that a packet of letters which the defendant took away with his letters from her box, and which counsel called Algy's letters," were from a friend in India. She denied any aspersions made on her character by the defendant. Her uncle, a Church of England clergyman, had assisted her, but he was now dead. She was introduced by two lady friends to Professor Douglas of Agra College, at a tennis party, and he invited her to the dinner at Agra, at which she first met the defendant- Mr Justice Darling: Were you not in a different position-a nursery governess and a Professor of Agra College?—The witness said she had been introduced to him by lady friends. Mr Justice Darling You were the only woman present at the dinner ?—Yes. Questioned further, the witness said it was false to say that at the dinner she kissed Moberley or anyone else, or that she permitted them to kiss her. After dinner Moberley and another man drove her to her hotel, and the former asked if he might take her for a drive next morning. Mr Cohen That was the first time you had seen him ?—Yes. You say that at Cawnpore he came to see you every day as a friend foi the next fortnight. Why did you allow him to do that ?—Because I bad known him a year previously, had given him my full confidence, and trusted him to behave as a gentleman. Re-examined by Mr GrifEtb When the defend- ant said he would marry you, but could not live with you, did he give any reason ?—Yes, but I pro- mised him on my honour that I would not disclose that reason. Mr Griffith said that was the plaintiff's case. Mr Cohen submitted that no case had been made out. Assuming that the letters which the plaintiff had stated had been written to her contained what she said it only amounted to another statement by her that the defendant verbally promised to marry her, and there was no corroboration. Mr Griffith argued that if the letters had been produced they would have been corroborative evidence, and that in their absence he was entitled to put in secondary evidence of their contents. Was it to be said that a defendant could avail him- self of his own fraud—for that was what it amounted to—in not producing the letters which contained the promise of marriage. If the defend- ant's contention was good a man had only to get possession of his letters containing his promise to marry, by fraud, to steal them, to suppress them, and there was an end of all corroborative evidence. Mr Justice Darling said that he had formed a de- cided opinion on the case. The statute 32 and 33 Victoria decided that a plaintiff's evidence in a breach of promise action did not suffice unless his or her testimony shall be corroborated by some other material evidence in support of such promise." Here the plaintiff had given evidence, and she had said that certain letters were written to her by de. fendant, which were not produced; there was no testimony but the plaintiff's testimony, and it was irnposible to hold that to be other material evi- dence." Consequently there was no corroboration and on that ground he felt bound to withdraw the case from the jury. Mr Cohen We do not ask for costs. Accordingly judgment was entered for the defen- dant.

. UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF NORTH…

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