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

Plomer v. Brown [1841] NSWSupC 5

insolvency - imprisonment for debt

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 22 January 1841

Source: Sydney Herald, 23 January 1841


           FRIDAY -- Before Mr. Justice Stephen.

           In this case the defendant was confined in execution[1] for £45 6s. 2d. The plaintiff's name is Peter William Plomer, but in the schedule he was described as Peter Plumber.

            Mr. Allen submitted that the plaintiff not being properly described, the schedule was imperfect.

            Mr. Poole submitted that Plomer and Plumber sound alike, and therefore the Attorney could not have been deceived by the schedule, which should be amended in Court.

            His Honor said, that if the name William had been inserted he should have been satisfied, as Plomer and Plumber have the same sound, but if the plaintiff insisted he must remand the defendant, as he had not truly stated the plaintiff's name.

            Mr. Allen said, that when the case was gone through, His Honor would see that he was justified in taking every possible objection.

            Upon looking through the schedule it was seen, that although the action was brought four years since, the defendant had put down in his schedule that he had received no money. The defendant said that he had received nothing but the amount of his daily labour, which he did not think it was necessary should be inserted. The defendant was remanded.

January 1841

Source: Sydney Herald, 30 January 1841

           The defendant had been remanded to amend his schedule, which His Honor said was still too loose; it was also proved that he was living in a state of adultery, which it was contended was a squandering of means according to the means of the act. The Court remanded him.


Stephen J., February 1841

Source: Sydney Herald, 8 February 1841


           Friday. - Before Mr. Justice Stephen, in Chambers.

            An insolvent, of the name of Brown, who had appeared on the preceding Friday before Judge Willis, but had been remanded as, his schedule was defective; also because it appeared to the Court that at the time of contracting the debt for which he was incarcerated, his lawful wife was alive, and he was cohabiting with another woman. The insolvent, yesterday, admitted before his Judge Stephen, that such was the fact, but, in mitigation, stated that he had lived happily with his wife (now dead) for seven years, and was doing well until he and her father fell out, on which the father not only seized all his property and ruined him by law expenses, but also put words between him (the insolvent) and his wife; and it was not until after she had repeatedly refused to return and live with him as his wife that he cohabited with the woman referred to. He also solemnly averred that he never had been put to any expenses on account of the woman he had been and still was cohabiting with; on the contrary, had it not been for her industry he must have starved, as his deceased wife had persecuted him to such an extent that he could not get work in Sydney. He also swore that it was his intention to marry the woman referred to so soon as he got liberated, and that the banns for that purpose had been taken out a fortnight ago. His Honor was not fully aware of the grounds on which Mr. Justice Willis had remanded the insolvent, and should therefore remand him till he had an opportunity of ascertaining his Honour's grounds for doing so, but he wished it to be publicly understood, that in any case of insolvency which came before him in which it should appear that the insolvent in any way squandered their property, either by deserting their wives and families and cohabiting with other females, or in any case where it should appear that the insolvent's difficulties were traceable to such an origin; he should punish the guilty to the utmost extent that the law allowed. The whole debt was £48 6s. 2d, and had been due for four years. The insolvent stated that he was willing to agree to pay by instalment but he had no security to give, and that was what his opposing creditor demanded. He would have been able to have paid part of it but for the building act which checked the building in Sydney and compelled him to go to Berrima, where the high rate of living entirely ruined him. He was then remanded till next insolvent Court.


[1]              Imprisoned for debt.


Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University