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

Robinson v. McLaughlin [1841] NSWSupC 119


Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 24 December 1841

Source: Sydney Herald, 25 December 1841  [1]




            In this case the Insolvent was William McLaughlin, who had been lately carrying on the business of coachmaker, in Pitt-street, Sydney. After the Insolvent had been sworn to his schedule,

            He was examined by Mr. GOULAND of the firm of Gouland and Williams, for the plaintiff, and gave the following evidence: -  He did not know for what value the promissory note, for which this action was brought, was given; he had no real estate now, as all had been sold off. His real estate lay in Pitt-street, Sydney, sixty acres of land at Botany, and forty acres at the Hunter's River, all of which had been sold by John Wright, a publican in Campbell-street, Sydney, in September or October last. He had two allotments at East Gosford, also one on the Surry Hills, all of which had been sold by the Sheriff at the suit of Wrigh[t] and Dunn. Wright entered up judgment, and issued execution on a warrant of attorney, which McLaughlin had given to him five or six weeks previous to the commencement of this suit. The insolvent had paid Doctors Bland and Fullerton £25 in work; he had also paid Dr. Duigan a bill for his medical attendance on his family. Six or seven months since he bought some leather from Moses Brown, with some sheep's-skin, and two hides of kip leather, which had not been all wrought up when he failed. The coach sold by Mr. Stubbs was claimed by Mr. Hugh Nowlan at the sale; but the proceeds went into the insolvent's pocket. About two months ago Mr. Stubbs sold two or thre[e] gigs, of which he had received the proceeds. McDowney and Briscoe paid their rent to Mr. Ray; he had no benefit in the business now more than what was derived from his own labor and what was allowed for his apprentices. 

            McDowney being sworn, deposed. - There was some enamelled patent leather and kip, belonging to the defendant, in his house, witness asked him if he (witness) would get into any trouble if it should be found in witness' house, when he said he would manage that. It was at Mrs. McLaughlin's request witness took the leather to Brougham Place, to Hugh Caruther's house. Able Christie went with him, and witness thought it was worth £20; it was concealed in a bag; it was taken there on a barrow; it was put across a wall into witness' premises at night. Mr. Caruthers' wife was called out of bed to receive it.

            Several other witnesses were examined, from whose testimony it was elicited that when the insolvent's property was soldoff a very considerable quantity of it was concealed, but whether it was put out of the way by the plaintiff's desire or with his knowledge, did not appear. One of the witnesses proved that he had received information of the property being concealed from the insolvent's apprentices.

            The COURT informed the insolvent that he was standing on very delicate ground, as it was highly probable that the present case would terminate in his being sent to take his trial, when, if convicted, he would be liable to be transported for seven years, or to three years' imprisonment with hard labour. Under such circumstances the Court would not at present ask any questions of the insolvent which might tend to involve him more than he was at present; but it was just such a case as the Court would investigate to the bottom, whatever might be the steps taken hereafter by the present plaintiff. It was not in the power [o]f the Court to examine the insolvent's wife again[s]t him, but it had the power and would certainly bring her before it, in order to ascertain if she was the party who had caused the leather to be thrown over the wall in order to make away with it from the creditors. Summonses were then ordered to be issued for her attendance next Friday, as well as for that of the four apprentices, and several other parties concerned in the affair. The insolvent was also advised to communicate with his wife, in order that she might provide the means of procuring him the assistance of a professional man, that he might be prepared for his next examination with a list of the items on which he had expended the cash received since the commencement of the action, also to prepare a proper list of every one due to him, with their respective debts, all these to be filed with his schedule. He was also ordered to get back his books from Wright, and all the papers belonging to it, and be prepared with evidence to prove that the property was not concealed by his or his wife's orders, or that they knew of its being hid.


[1] See also Robinson v. McLaughlin, 1842

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University