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

Grant v. Alston [1899] NSWSupC 2

breach of promise of marriage

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Darley C.J., 24 August 1899

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 1899, p. 3

BANCO COURT.

(Before the Chief Justice and a jury of 4.)

BREACH OF PROMISE OF MARRIAGE.

£2000 DAMAGES.

Grant v. Alston.

Mr. Broomfield, instructed by Mrs. Westgarth, Nathan and Co., appeared for the plaintiff. There was no appearance on the part of the defendant. The action was won brought by the plaintiff, Mary grant, against John Thomas Alston, to recover damages for breach of promise of marriage. As the action was not defended, the only question was as to the amount of compensation to which the plaintiff was entitled. At the suggestion of his Honor an attempt was made to settle the matter, but this proving abortive the facts had to go before the jury in order that they might assessed the damages. The amount claimed by plaintiff was £2000. It appeared that in December, 1897, plaintiff, who was then living with her parents at Harden, became engaged to the defendant, who was at that time part owner of Tuononga, near Hay. Plaintiff had previously been engaged to the defendant's brother, who had, however, had died. From the date of the engagement between the parties until February, 1898, everything went well, but at the date mentioned some dispute arose in consequence of defendant insisting that the marriage should take place in a Presbyterian church, plaintiff being a Roman Catholic, but she gave way he on the point, and until October, 1898, most affectionate relations continued to exist between plaintiff and defendant, and letters couch had in the usual terms passed between them. In October, 1898, defendant's written communications to the plaintiff cooled considerably in their intensity, and in January of the present year he wrote to her announcing his marriage to one of his cousins. Plaintiff stated in the course of her evidence that at the date of the engagement the arrangement was that the marriage was to take place within six months, and in consequence of this she had got the greater part of her trousseau ready. It was also proved that the defendant had since become insolvent, and that whatever sum was awarded by the jury, plaintiff could only obtain a dividend on his estate.

The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff with damages £2000.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University