25th June 1925 – Most Trivial and Trumpery Claim
Mr H G Lemmon, solicitor, Abergavenny, appeared for the plaintiff.
Plaintiff said he was the owner of Brook Cottage which he had let to the defendant under an agreement, [produced] in which the defendant agreed to pay the cost 14s 6d but had not done so.
Defendant was in occupation a year, until 20th March 1915, but he was permitted to leave without notice, but witness did not receive the keys until the 30th.
In consequence he lost a weeks rent [7s 8d] which he now claimed.
Other items in the particulars included 5s damage to a door frame; 5s for cracking rendering by driving two nails to which to fix a hay rack in the stables; 7s for manure taken away; 2s for a slide which was missing from an oven; £1 for stakes and hedging material destroyed; 1s for a latch and key; and 5s damage done to a meadow by unringed pigs rooting.
Cross-examined, plaintiff said the key of the house was sent by registered letter addressed to Monkswood instead of Goytrey, which caused the delay.
Defendant, in cross-examination elicited that the delay in the delivery of the key was caused by the registered letter being addressed to Monkswood instead of Goytrey.
He admitted that he had signed to pay for the agreement and that there was a slight injury to the door post; alleged that if the oven slide is missing, it was not there when he took the house. And the hedging material was used on the place to enable him to do his gardening, otherwise he would have to do away with his chickens.
His honour said this was the most trivial and trumpery claim he had had to deal with for some time and ultimately gave judgement for the claimant for 25s.
The Even Scales
Edwin Edgar also sued Joseph B. Greening of Helmaen Cottage, Llanbadoc, for £5 damages to meadow at Llanbadoc, caused by trespassing fowls for 3 years.
Defendant counter-claimed £8 15s for 3 laying hens [killed] value £4 each, injury to 11 other fowls, 2s each by plaintiff’s dog, and damages to vegetable garden and apple trees by cattle trespassing.
Mr Lemmon was for the plaintiff and Mr E Waddington, solicitor, Usk for the defendant.
Plaintiff said he was the tenant of three meadows at Llanbadoc, which adjoined defendant’s garden from 2nd February 1913 when he began to complain. The fowls ate off about 20 perches just as if there had been 4,000 rabbits there. He complained to Mrs Greening who told him she had an agreement with the owner of the meadows to run the fowls there, but he never saw the agreement.
He went down to the meadows twice a day from May to October and every time he went, the fowls were there.
He saw Mr Greening put 150 out there on the second Sunday in May 1913, through a hole in the fence. Witness did not say a word to the defendant, but went to Mr Williams, his [plaintiff’s] landlord.
In 1914 the fowls were continuously on the ground. He had complained to the defendant one or twice and also to his wife. Defendant said he could not help the fowls going out. In 1915 he believed the trespass was worse than in 1914.
The meadows were 27 acres and the rent was £80 per year. The fowls put the grass into such a condition that the cattle would not eat it. Repeated complaints were made about the trespass, but no effort was made to stop until he sent in his present claim.
With regard to the counter-claim witness said he had never seen his dog after the fowls. As to the damage done to the garden by 20 cattle trespassing, it was impossible for them to trespass as the fence was a very good one, with barbed wire round the garden about four foot off the ground.
Cross-examined – defendant deliberately turned the fowls out onto the meadow on the Sunday, he counted them. There were over 150. He had complained to Mr Greening scores of times. He had never heard any complaints about his sheep dogs. He had not said he would put his dog in to kill every chicken on his meadow, his dogs had not killed or injured a fowl. The dogs had always been with him and lay down by the shed when he went to milk.
The dog he had in 1913 died in his trap, poisoned, going home. It was given to killing chickens. There had always been a good fence between his meadow and the garden, and he denied that the cattle were in the garden on two occasions. He had received no complaints with regard to such trespass.
Re-examined; he had one of the dogs now; he had seen no slat in the hedge.
Joseph Edwin Edgar, plaintiff’s son gave corroborative evidence, as did Mrs Edgar.
His Honour said evidence in regard to the complaints were very satisfactory.
Defendant stated he had lived at Helmaen Cottage for 17 years, and during the last two or three he had kept 30 chickens at the most, he had never had 100 since he had been there. One or two fowls at a time had been in the grass. In August 1913 he saw plaintiff’s dog kill three laying hens at different times, and he had buried eight others. Early one September morning about 4.30 in the morning, he heard defendant’s cattle in his garden and got up and drove them out. They numbered from 18 to 20. They had done a lot of damage to the garden and apple trees. They stripped one side of a row of scarlet runners, and did 1s 6d worth to apple trees. Last year the cattle were in again. He said nothing to Mr Edgar about it.
His Honour “why not”
Defendant I did not want to make a bother”
Re-examined; his garden was about a quarter of an acre in extent, and the fowls were in a little orchard which was about half that size. It was a great and wilful lie for plaintiff to say that he ever counted 150 fowls there. It was plaintiff’s dog that killed the chickens. He went down the field to get five out.
Mr Lemmon “you had no right to do that
His Honour “that is rather a strict enforcement of the law”
Mr Lemmon “ it is hardly a neighbourly action”
His Honour “we must try and preserve our good sense if they do not”
Mrs Greening gave corroborative evidence; Edgar insulted her every time he saw her. She never made any complaint to the Edgar’s as her husband had told her never to have anything to do with them.
His Honour said he had no sympathy and very little patience with a claim of that kind, for two years, according to the plaintiff, this trouble had been going on, and instead of doing what he ought to have done – make a formal complaint to the man responsible – he seemed to have complained by word of mouth, and not in the most desirable manner, to the wife.
However, there did appear to have been some amount of trespass on the part of the defendant’s chickens, and it was as much the duty of Mr Greening to keep his chickens in, as it was of Mr Edgar to keep his cattle in.
Justice for the plaintiff 20s. Defendant was in very much the same position with regard to the cattle trespassing. It was not only very unwise for the purpose of his own case on the part of the defendant not to make a formal complaint to the plaintiff, but it was very unfair to the plaintiff. He might have told the plaintiff – not in a quarrelsome way – of the trespass, and have asked him to repair the fence so that it might not occur again.
His Honour thought some damage was done and gave defendant judgement for 20s on the counter-claim.
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