Servant’s bad driving led to death of dog

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1913 court

At the Scarborough Police County Court today, before his Honour Judge Fossett Lock – Edwin Josiah Wilson, clerk, 4, Harcourt Avenue, Scarborough, sued J Robinson and Sons, jobmasters, Westmount Mews for £10, damages for alleged negligence. The sum of £2 10s had been paid into court.

The plaintiff’s claims was for damage alleged to have been suffered by the plaintiff through the negligent driving by the defendant’s servant on June 15th, of a motor-car in Seamer Road, which resulted in the killing of plaintiff’s pedigree brindle bulldog.

Mr C Royle, solicitor, 
appeared for plaintiff, and Mr J Whitfield, solicitor, was for the defendants.

Mr Royle said that Mr Whitfield admitted the claim to the extent of £2 10s, and the only question for the Judge was one as to the value of the dog. John Collingwood who sold the dog to Wilson would tell the Judge of his experience on that question, and his evidence would be very material as to the market value of the dog when it was killed. Mr Hayes would speak as to an 
offer he made for the dog which Wilson declined.

Wilson, in the box, said he was a clerk with Mr Arthur Bailey. He had had the dog 
little over twelve months, and it was sound, and had got well over the distemper. He gave Mr Collingwood four guineas for it when it was about two months old.

The Judge: What was it worth at the time it was killed?

Witness: £10.

Proceeding, witness said that the dog cost him about 5s a month to keep.

Mr Whitfield: You were not feeding this up for a butcher - you don’t suggest the value of the dog is in its keep? - I don’t.

Will you agree that the value of the dog is what it will fetch in the market? - Yes.

And another test might be as to what the owner was prepared to take for the dog.

Witness said that might be so in many cases.

Mr Whitfield: I put it to you that about a fortnight before the dog was killed you had a conversation with PC Stansfeld at the North-Eastern Railway Station, at Scarborough? - I had a conversation certainly, but not a fortnight ago.

Well, was it three weeks? - Very likely three months.

I put it to you that it was at the end of May? - I took no notice of the date.

Proceeding, in answer to Mr Whitfield, witness said he had told PC Stansfeld that he wished to sell the dog, as he was going abroad, and that was his sole reason for selling it. Stansfeld said he thought he knew a probable purchaser.

Before he spoke of a probable purchaser did you not offer to sell it to him for £3? - I couldn’t really say whether I offered to sell it to him for £3. I said that provided I could find the dog a real good home I would take £3 for it.

Did you say to him: If you can get £3 for it you shall have 10s for yourself? - I couldn’t swear to it. I probably should offer to give him something, but I couldn’t swear to the amount.

Do you think it was a reasonable thing to instruct your solicitors to ask for £10 - were you not trying to make money out of the bargain, trying to take advantage of their ignorance? - No, I wouldn’t have taken £25 to have had it killed.

Mr Whitfield: Oh, that is so. You are sentimental.

Mr Royle: You are not.

By Mr Royle: It was solely because he was going abroad that he offered to sell the dog, because he wanted to get it a comfortable place.

The Judge said he thought plaintiff had put the price too high. He had offered to take £2 10s, but he had given a reason for that. A little while before he had refused £5. The great fact was that he gave four guineas for it when it was two months old.

He thought if he put the figure at six guineas, it would be a fair value and he gave a verdict for that amount with costs.