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Colonial Cases

R. v. Caldwell, 1874

[contaminated meat]


R. v. Caldwell

Caldwell v. Badman

Police Court, Palmerston
Price SM, 14 July 1874
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 17 July 1874, p 3





Tuesday, July 14.

(Before Mr. E. W, Price, S.M.)

Robert Caldwell appeared to the information of Sergeant Badman, charged with selling unwholesome meat, at Palmerston, on the 13th July.

The defendant, who was represented by Mr. Rudall, pleaded not guilty.

Robert Henry, who was called by Sergeant Badman, said he was in Mr. Caldwells employ. Was acting as shepherd on the 12th, when he took out a number of sheep-about 150. He took them out from the town, and he left some behind because they were too weak to travel. Left them at various places; and returned to the yard with the flock. Before leaving the weak sheep behind he bled them so as to kill them. Afterwards went back with Michael Mallon and took a dray for the dead sheep. Brought in from six to ten in the dray. They were scattered about in different places, where he had killed them as they got weak. In bringing in the carcasses delivered them to the butcher, Mr. Manson, at his shop. Left them there, and afterwards saw some sheep being dressed there. Mr. Caldwell had instructed witness to kill any sheep which were too weak to follow the flock; therefore obeyed the instructions.

By Mr. Rudall-The weak sheep bled well. Put them in the shade before leaving them. Took the dray to fetch them immediately on arriving with the flock. Killed the sheep in time, so as to prevent their dying. Many of the sheep were weak when landed.

Michael Mallon said he went with the last witness to bring in the sheep. Found the first and second on the side of the road. Brought in eight sheep altogether. They were quite dead. Mr Caldwell requested him to go. Left them at the butcher's shop when they were brought in,

John Crossman, stockkeeper, was employed by Mr. Manson to dress six sheep on Sunday. They were dead; and they were quite good when he dressed them. He would not object to eat them. There was one other sheep in the shop dressed and also some meat. Did not see the sheep afterwards.

By Mr. Rudall-The sheep were weak and poor; that was all. Could not say whether or not he had eaten any of these sheep. Would certainly kill a sheep that was weakly, so as "to save its life," especially where sheep were valuable.

James Manson, butcher, said he was at the shop (belonging to Mr. Caldwell) when the dray brought the sheep there. Did not dress the sheep himself because he was taken ill; asked Crossman to dress the sheep, and he did so. On Monday morning the police came to the shop, and Trooper Lees pointed out to him that some of the sheep had not been properly bled. There were seven or eight sheep hanging up, and the police condemned some of them. Did not object to three being condemned. They were bad, and would have been removed before the police came down if Mr.Caldwell had not been away from home. There was a notice up, "Fresh mutton, 1s. 3d. per lb. cash; !s. 6d, booked."

By Mr. Rudall-Mr. Caldwell had given him general instructions not to sell any bad meat. Would not have sold the three sheep objected to or any portion or them. It was very early in the morning when the police came. The three sheep were hung up the night before when they were dressed. Four of the sheep hung up in the shop were afterwards thrown away. Would have objected to three of them, but not to all four. The skins examined by Trooper Lees were not in an unusual state. Mr. Badman said that the sheep had died instead of having been killed. Was of opinion that three out of the seven had not been killed, and would therefore have thrown them away. Could not say whether he saw Mr. Caldwell before he saw the police on the morning in question. Had had no opportunity of telling Mr. Caldwell about the sheep.

Dr. Millner, Colonial Surgeon, said that if sheep were merely stuck to prevent their dying from weakness, he should not consider them fit for food.

By Mr. Rudall-Decomposition would set in as soon as an animal was killed if it was very debilitated when killed. The effect would be seen in the meat the next morning; and the consequence of eating such bad meat would be that it would cause dysentry.

Police-trooper Lees said he went to the butcher's shop on Sunday evening; he saw Crossman there dressing sheep that had every appearance of not being properly bled. There were several others of a similar kind hanging in the place. The paunches also looked as though they had been taken out of sheep that had lain dead for some time. Examined some of the plucks that were hanging up, and should say that they were unfit for food. Had had nine or ten years' experience amongst sheep; and had often skinned dead sheep from weak and poor flocks. The skins of sheep that had died always had the veins full of blood, which proved that it had not been properly bled. There were skins of this sort in the shop-skins which had been recently taken from the carcasses. Between six and seven o'clock on Monday morning saw Mr. Caldwell near the butcher's shop. Manson was then in the shop, and could have told Mr, Caldwell about the sheep if he wished.

By Mr. Rudall-Could not swear that the skins and plucks or paunches mentioned came out of the sheep hanging up in the shop; but they looked too fresh to have come from the sheep in the yard. Would not like to eat meat from a weak sheep. Had done it, but did not like it. Had had experience in different colonies, and no shepherd would like to eat weak sheep; the lungs were of a peculiar color in such cases. Such lungs were on the premises of defendant, but could not swear which sheep they came out of. Mr. Caldwell was leaving the yard with sheep when witness saw him near the shop. Mr. Manson admitted that some of the sheep were not fit to sell. Did not see any portion of it sold. There was meat still hanging up in the shop unfit for food.

By Sergeant Badman-There were five or six sheep in the shop. There were six sheep and six plucks, and there was one outside on the hook. Three or four of these sheep were unfit for food. Trooper Tasker was present in the shop when Mr. Caldwell returned. Sergeant Badman then called his attention to the sheep and the plucks. Mr. Caldwell said that these plucks might belong to the sheep lying outside in the yard. Went into the yard and saw the carcasses of four sheep covered over with skins. Three had not been opened; but only skinned. The remaining one had been partly opened. They were all in a great state of decomposition-enough to breed a fever. There were six or seven plucks in the shop which had evidently been taken out of sheep killed the night before. Witness, from his experience, would say that the sheep objected to were not fit for food when hanging up in the shop; and two hours afterwards he saw them in the hands of the blacks, and they were perfectly green.

By Mr. Rudall-Mr. Manson said he would not sell any of the plucks till Mr. Caldwell came. The Sergeant cautioned Mr. Caldwell not to sell the sheep, and Mr. Caldwell said if the Sergeant condemned the sheep it most be so. The plucks in the shop could not have belonged to the sheep in the yard. Had never eaten sheep which lagged behind when it was possible to get good meat.

Mr. Colgan, butcher, was called and gave his opinion that the sheep which came by the Jason were not all sound. As a rule, sheep that were killed for "purpose of saving their lives" were not allowed to be sold for human food. Would not offer for sale such meat as was sent to himself from defendant's shop, because it was not properly fed. Mr. D. L. Beetson was also called and said he purchased a hind leg of a sheep on Monday morning at defendant's shop. A great deal of the meat there was quite unfit for food; three or four carcasses and various joints of mutton were bad. One sheep in the corner was good.

Mr. Rudall recalled Mr. Manson, who said that six sheep were lying in the yard-three opened and three not. They were all skinned. The three plucks were hung up with the others.

Mr. Rudall then submitted that there was no intention whatever to sell the bad meat which was in the shop, as was proved by Manson's statements. It was merely hanged up there till it could be removed, and it would have been removed whether the police had come there or not.

The Magistrate said if Mr. Caldwell had put the bad meat into the shop with the intention of selling it, he would have been liable to two month's imprisonment with hard labor. But as this was probably an act of carelessness merely, with some desire to save his pocket, he would be fined £5 and costs, making altogether a total of £9 3s.

Mr. Rudall said defendant would appeal.


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.)
Caldwell v. Badman-This was an appeal from the Police Court, where the appellant had been fined for exhibiting unwholesome meat for sale.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Rudall appeared for the plaintiff.
Mr. Rudall read over the evidence taken before the Police Court; and Mr. Fitzgerald, of the Telegraph Department, was then called, and stated that Mr. Little had a number of sheep which were running with Mr. Caldwells sheep. Mr. Little's sheep were branded. This evidence was confirmed by Mr. Little, who added that any sheep dying might have been carted back to Mr. Caldwell's place and skinned. The telegraph sheep were all branded.
By Sergeant Badman-Never authorised Mr. Caldwell to hang these sheep in his shop. Would never think of supplying to men sheep which had been weak when they were killed. Told the shepherd to save skins.
Walter Graham said that two of the sheep brought in from the bush and put in the shop belonged to Mr. Little. They were hung up there with some of Mr. Caldwell's sheep. Crossman skinned the sheep instead of Manson, the butcher, who was absent on the day, but was present the next morning.
By Sergeant Badman-Did not see the sheep dressed; but the tar brand was on the head, and, therefore, he knew they belonged to Mr. Caldwell. Crossman was a stranger, and, therefore hung the sheep in the shop. Mr. Caldwell knew nothing about it until after the sheep were condemned the next morning.
William Whitfield said Manson, the butcher, told witness Mr. Caldwell had instructed him not to sell any unwholesome meat, and that, therefore, he thought some of the sheep should not be sold.
James Manson said he told Baker that some of the sheep were bad, and would not be sold. Those sheep were never exhibited for sale.
By Sergeant Badman-Had no opportunity of telling Mr. Caldwell about the sheep before the police came. These bad sheep in the shop were dressed in the usual way.
Evidence was called by Sergeant Badman to show that when he told Mr. Caldwell the sheep were bad he said, "he did not not think so; but he must abide by the dictum of the Sergeant." On this point, Trooper Raff was certain that Mr. Caldwell spoke of the sheep generally as being fit for food.
Sergeant Badman gave evidence as to his visit to the shop on the morning the sheep were condemned, and as to the conversations which took place at that time.
Mr. Smith addressed the Court at great length, and said if Mr. Caldwell had committed the offence charged he would have deserved two months' imprisonment. But the sheep were not exhibited for sale, and would not have been in the shop at all if there had been any other place to put them in, besides, which, Mr. Caldwell had no knowledge of the sheep being in the shop until the police came. There was nothing to show that knowledge on the part of Mr. Caldwell could be implied. It was Crossman, a stranger, who hung the sheep up in the shop.
The Special Magistrate said as the case was previously heard before him he would like the other two Justices to give their opinion.
The Court said they upheld the conviction, as there was no doubt that improper meat had been exhibited in appellant's shop.


Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 15 August 1874, p 4

Badman v. Caldwell.
Sir-Thank God we have the Press, through which we can appeal from a Palmerston Appeal Court to the higher and more important tribunal of public opinion. Confident in the manliness and love of fair-play inherent in my countrymen, I ask them to read impartially and without prejudice-as they would desire others should read any case to which they were parties-the report which has appeared in your paper of the 17th ult., and the additional evidence in the case of Badman against Caldwell which will no doubt be faithfully recorded in your issue of the 8th instant.
I then ask any one to consider in what predicament he may find himself when having to appeal against a decision which he considers wrong to the same Special Magistrate who has already sat and decided his case, coupled with other two justices, one of whom, I am told, has never been known by the oldest inhabitant to differ in opinion from the ruling of the Special Magistrate, and the other who in a few hours was to be sued before the same sitting Special Magistrate in a question of partnership, involving to him the most vital issue.
Then, consider the refusal to state a point of law to a higher Court, that point of law being whether a man can be condemned for an act committed by another, not only without his knowledge, but contrary to special and general instructions given-not that I admit that in the above case any such act was committed.
It is surely full time for every one who values his birth-right of freedom to bestir himself, and bring pressure to bear on the Government authorities to appoint a Judge who understands law, and through whom confidence may be re-established in the wisdom and justice of our Courts.
Several gentlemen have proposed to form a Committee, with a view to attain this object, and I shall be happy to co-operate with any others who may hold similar views.
I am, Sir, &c,
Palmerston, August 7th.


Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 22 August 1874, p 3

Palmerston District Council.


Present-J. Jones (Chairman), and Messrs. Caldwell, Salomon, and Fiveash.

Minutes of last meeting confirmed.

Correspondence-... from Councillor Caldwell tendering his resignation on account of the verdict given against him in the case Badman v. Caldwell at the Local Court.

Resolved-That Councillor Caldwell's resignation be not accepted.

The Council being of opinion that Mr. Caldwell was not cognisant of the fact of unwholesome meat being exhibited for sale on his premises, and they are of opinion that if the evidence brought forward at the hearing of the appeal had been given in the first instance that no conviction would have been made...


Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 29 August 1874, p 3

The Local Court.

Sir-Your correspondent, "Robert Caldwell," appears to have forgotten the significant lines of a distinguished countryman of his-"Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as others see us"-or he would not have penned the silly and illogical lines referring to me as being "in a few hours sued before the sitting Magistrate on a question of partnership, involving to him the most vital issue," and, therefore, incapable of forming an independant [sic] opinion, and giving an unbiassed decision on a very different, but I may add a very "vital," question, as affecting the health of the community. I can well understand how "Robert Caldwell" cannot conceive how any other man can form a disinterested opinion, as being eaten up with the principle of selfishness, he can only measure others by his own standard. How is it possible that if a man cannot form an opinion on other and very distinct questions from that which might come before a Court, how can "Robert Caldwell" form a dispassionate opinion upon a question which to him was "vital," and on which he had become rabid. If what was disclosed in that funny partnership-Caldwell and Colgan-is considered by others to . fit "Robert Caldwell" to judge and weight the motive of others-so let it be; but I would prefer others to judge. However, were the above remarks really and truly the offspring of Robert's brain? The hand, doubtless, was the hand of Robert, but the voice was the voice of another.
I am, Sir, &c.,

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