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

Mackay v. Henderson [1892] NSWSupC 2

seduction

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 29 August 1892

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 30 August 1892, p. 3

No. 3 Jury Court. - (Before his Honor Mr. Justice Stephen and a jury.)

MACKAY V. HENDERSON.

Mr. Edmunds appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Field for the defendant. This was an action brought by Samuel Mackay against David Henderson for damages for the seduction of plaintiff's daughter. The damages were set down at £2000.

Mr. Edmunds, in opening the case, said this was an action for seduction which, under any circumstances, was not a pleasant case; but, under the circumstances of that case, was somewhat unusual, unpleasant, if not revolting. The plaintiff was a grazier in a fair way of business, and an old resident near Cooma, in a country place somewhat sparsely populated, and where he had lived for a large number of years. He had reared a family of several children. Plaintiff had succeeded fairly well in a worldly way, and had become a justice of the peace. The defendant was married to the plaintiff's sister, therefore he was by marriage the uncle of the girl about whom the action was brought. The defendant had no children. He came to this colony, assisted by the plaintiff, and arrived about the year 1880. Defendant took up some land as a free selector somewhere near the neighbourhood of the plaintiff's farm, their homes being about four miles apart. They lived on amicable terms, and up to some recent period the children of the plaintiff visited their aunt, the defendant's wife, frequently, and stayed at defendant's house. Amongst these children was the eldest child of the plaintiff, a daughter now 20 years of age. In September, 1891, this girl fell ill and was delivered of a child.

The defendant in his evidence said the charge was a cruel, a wicked invention. He admitted that he had been on good terms with the girl, he had written to her and she had written to him. They used to leave their letters in an appointed place.

The case stands part heard.

Stephen J., 30 August 1892

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August 1892, p. 4

No. 3 Jury Court. - (Before his Honor Mr. Justice Stephen and a jury.)

MACKAY V. HENDERSON.

The hearing of this case, which was brought by Samuel Mackay against David Henderson claiming £2000 damages for the alleged seduction of his daughter, was continued. Mr. Edmunds, instructed by Mr. Dawson, appeared for the plaintiff; and Mr. Field, instructed by Messrs. Williams and Saunders, for defendant.

Defendant, in cross-examination, denied that he had sent the girl any money after charge had been made against him.

Re-examined by Mr. Field, he said that he never told her to tell her parents of her trouble, and he only offered her a home on being told that her father threatened to turn her out. Other witnesses were examined for the defence, including the wife of the defendant, who declared that she had never noticed the least sign of any impropriety between her husband and niece.

Mr. Field, in addressing the jury, said that before they could give a verdict for the plaintiff they must positively affirm that defendant was the father of the child. He held that the general demeanour of the girl and the facts that had been elicited indicated a conspiracy. If defendant was guilty of the offence it was most unlikely that he would have been at plaintiff's house until almost immediately before the girl's illness.

Mr. Edmunds maintained that there was no doubt as to the guilt of the defendant, and in assessing damages the jury should remember that the defendant should have protected the girl.

His Honor reserved his summing up until this morning.

Stephen J., 31 August 1892

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 1 September 1892, p. 6

No. 3 Jury Court. - (Before his Honor Mr. Justice Stephen and a jury.)

MACKAY V. HENDERSON (PART HEARD).

Mr. Edmunds, instructed by Mr. Dawson, appeared for the plaintiff, Samuel Mackay; and Mr. Field, instructed by Messrs. Williams and Saunders, appeared for the defendant, David Henderson. This was an action brought by the plaintiff for the alleged seduction of his daughter by the defendant.

His Honor having summed up, the jury retired, and, after an absence of three-quarters of an hour, brought in a verdict for the plaintiff, assessing the damages at £600.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University