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Colonial Cases

Bennett v. Gunn, 1874

[mining law, claim jumping]


Bennett v. Gunn

Warden's Court, Shackle
Frampton, 23 June 1874
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 3 July 1874, pp 2-3




Tuesday, June 23.

(Before Warden Frampton.)

Bennett v. Gunn.-This was a jumping case. Gunn, the defendant, had a claim on the flat at Sandy Creek, which his party had tried to work, but were unable to keep the water down, so they had the claim suspended for 14 days, and made arrangements to get a pump put down.

The plaintiff, Bennett, did not consider there was sufficient cause for suspension, and applied to the Warden to be put in possession of the claim; hence this action.

Peter Bennett, the complainant, pleaded that he sought to be put in possession of the ground because it was suspended on account of excess of water, whereas he considered it workable. He called Patrick Hogan, who said he had a claim two claims distant from the one in dispute, and he had been constantly working for five weeks.

By defendant-Had been to the disputed claim, and saw that there was a great deal of water, and do not think on that account it was workable. Michael Butler said he had been working the second claim from the disputed one for the last three weeks.

By defendant-Was working a dry shaft. The water did not trouble him much. They bailed it out in the morning and it did not trouble again during the day.

Alexander Reynolds said he was working on the claim adjoing [sic] Gunn's. The water was hard to keep down, but could work constantly.

By defendant-Had a pump working on our claim. Couldn't have worked it without. Knew that your party had made arrangements for a pump, and that the material was being forwarded for the purpose.

This was the evidence for the prosecution.

John Gunn, the defendant, stated that he had bailed 400 gallons of water to five buckets of dirt, and finding it impossible to work the claim without bester appliances, he had it suspended in order to procure material for the more efficient working of it. He called William Griffiths, who said he worked on the claim adjoining the one in dispute. He did not think the claim could be worked to any advantage with present appliances on account of the excess of water.

Daniel Cuddy said he worked on the adjoining claim, where the water was hard to keep under; but they had a pump, which was a great assistance to them. Worked one afternoon on the claim in dispute, and found the water so excessive that they could not work it to any advantage without a pump.

By complainant-Considered it useless to try to work our claim without a pump, so waited till we got one.

Charles Fisher said he knew the claim in dispute, and remarked the excessive quantity of water. Considered it the wettest of the claims in the flat. Had worked a good deal in wet claims and considered it was really unworkable with present appliances.

Verdict for defendant, with witnesses' costs, 30.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School