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Colonial Cases

Mallon v. Taylor, 1874

[negligence by bailee]

Mallon v. Taylor

Local Court, Palmerston
Price SM, 5 August 1874
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 8 August 1874, p 3


(Before Mr. Price, S.M., Hon. Thos. Reynolds, and Mr. Gardiner, J.P.'s.)
Mallon v. Taylor-Claim for £50 on account of a horse lent by plaintiff and injured by defendant.
Mr. Rudall for the plaintiff, and Mr. Smith for the defendant.
The evidence on behalf of the plaintiff was to the effect that he lent a horse to the defendant, Mr. Taylor, on the 17th July, for a few hours, as he wanted the horse to try with another one. Defendant drove the horse with another in a carriage, on the day he borrowed it, but did not return it until some days afterwards.
When the horse was lent it was in good condition, and said to be worth £50. But after defendant had driven it the horse was so bad as to be unable to move, and plaintiff would not then "give twopence for the horse." He saw the animal repeatedly in defendant's stable during the few days after he had lent it to defendant, and the latter then explained that the horse had been overworked and would be all right in a few days. He therefore lent plaintiff a horse for him to work instead of the one that was knocked up, but afterwards sent the same day and fetched the horse away. Plaintiff considered that his horse was ruined and made worthless by the way in which defendant had driven it, as the animal could not lift its feet properly. The horse was in good condition when lent to the defendant, but was useless. On this point a witness (C. Fry) said the horse was worth £40 or £45 before it was lent to defendant, who drove it fast, but was not worth having as a gift since that time; and another witness (W. Nation) said he saw defendant driving the horse with another, and both were in a foam of sweat. The next day the horse (which was worth £50) was in a state of inflammation, and the legs were injured. Would not give 15s. for the animal then. Another witness (W. E. Sayers) said he examined the horse, and found it was sprained in the shoulder.
Mr. Smith asked for a nonsuit on the ground that there was no evidence of negligence on the part of the defendant.
The Court directed that the case should be proceeded with.
Witnesses were then called for the defence to show that the horse was hired by Mr. Finniss, and not by defendant; that the defendant whilst driving the horse did not drive at an excessive rate; and that there was no negligence to account for the injury to the horse, which it was supposed must have originated from some other cause; besides which, it was stated that the horse, which was turned out, was now in good condition. On the question of ill-treatment, Mr. Taylor said he never drove the horse fast, or flogged him. He was well fed until he was returned, and then the Malay boy took him back, but not by defendant's orders, as it was not he who borrowed it. Never met with any accident; and only drove the horse a short distance.
Messrs. Finniss, Stevens, Smith, and a Malay were also called as witnesses on the same side.
Verdict for the defendant.
[Remainder of cases held over till next week.]

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