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

Degotardi v. Kemsley [1878] NSWSupC 1

seduction, abduction, civil action for

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Faucett J., 4 November 1878

Source: Sydney Morning Herald , 5 November 1878, p. 7

Jury Court. - (Before his Honor Mr. Justice Faucett and a Jury of Four.)


Jury: Messrs. James Vickery, Thomas Clarke, William Kippax, and Thomas Sinclair.

Mr. Windeyer, instructed by Mr. Russell, appeared for the plaintiff; the defendant pleaded, but did not appear at the trial.

John Degotardi sued John Kemsley for the seduction of his daughter, Eliza Degotardi, whereby she became pregnant and in childbirth died. There was also a count for abduction. £2000 was claimed. The defendant had pleaded - That Eliza Degotardi was not the plaintiff's servant at the time of the seduction or the alleged pregnancy; he also traversed the abduction. From the evidence it appeared that the defendant was the part proprietor of a very extensive brickyard and manufactory near Canterbury, where he lived with his wife and children. Eliza Degotardi was engaged as a governess for the children, and was seduced by the defendant; the plaintiff having received an anonymous letter took his daughter away, and the defendant followed her and induced her to leave her home. In giving birth to a child Eliza Degotardi, who was left by the defendant without any assistance, medical or otherwise, died.

The jury assessed the damages at £1000.

His Honor granted speedy execution.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University