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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Cullen v Mannix [1825] NSWSupC 39

goods sold and delivered - liquor debt

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 3 September 1825

Source: Australian, 8 September 1825


This action was brought to recover £55 for goods sold and delivered, &c.

It appeared that the plaintiff kept a public house or traveller's inn, to which settlers resorted, and that the defendant was a settler, and had frequented the house whenever he came to Sydney, bringing his servants there, and sometimes his friends; and further, that he had contracted the above debt on such occasions.  The items of the bill consisted of charges for dinners, suppers, beds, spirituous liquors, hay and corn, &c.  The plaintiff's case was proved by witnesses who deposed partly to the articles having been furnished the defendant; and also to admissions of the correctness of the demand; the last admission having been made on the day previous to the trial, in words to the following effect: "That he was not much dissatisfied with the demand; but that he had a set off, a cross demand."

The defence set up was first a set off to the amount of forty-one pounds, and next, that the plaintiff could not recover by reason of the statute 24 Geo. II. c. 40. which rendered persons incapable of recovering a demand for spirituous liquors, unless where the items amounted to more than 20s.  Part of the set off was proved, and the Judge held that where the debt was contracted as in the present case, by travellers resorting to an inn or public house, the statute did not apply - for that was not one of the mischiefs contemplated by the act.

The verdict for the plaintiff was accordingly assessed at £33

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University