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Colonial Cases

Le-Ta-Ki v. Jessop, 1875


Le-Ta-Ki v. Jessop

Civil Summary Court, Shanghai
Mowat J., 5 March 1875
Source: The North China Herald, 11 March 1875



Shanghai, March 5th.

Before R. A. MOWAT


   Plaintiff claimed $74 for wages and money expended, as cook in the employ of the defendant.

   Through Heding, the interpreter, he said his wages were $16 per month, and were three months and twenty-five days in arrear.  The remainder of the amount claimed was for money expended.  He went into the service in October, and never received any wages, although he applied for payment monthly.  He found all the provisions required, for $3t5 per week, for sometimes, four, five, and six persons. There were five persons living in the house.  Plaintiff produced.  In the first three weeks he was paid clear, after that there was always a balance.   Plaintiff produced his account book in Chinese, and said he had also a foreign account boom, but it was taken away from him.  He could not read, and his accounts were kept by a friend.  The $35 per week were not to include wages.  On the food account, there were now $13 due.

   On the 30th day of the Chinese month, he applied for payment of $35, and was told a foreign bill was necessary.  He supplied one and received $32, leaving $3 on that account.  The other $10 were due before that time.  He did not put it down altogether, because the bills were weekly.  He went one day to get provisions, and when he came back he found another cook in his place.  He did not take out a summons earlier, because he was sick for two weeks, and afterwards because $3 were wanted for the summon s, and he had to get it from his fifteens.  He did not apply for copayment when he was dismissed, and not until after he recovered.  When he used to apply for payment, he was threatened to be beaten.

   Defendant said the plaintiff's statement, as to the amounts he was to receive, was true.  He was not dismissed, but left on his own account; she had not seen him since, until now in Court.  She had paid him everything, through her boy, who had got a receipt from plaintiff in Chinese, and she did not owe him a cent.

   Defendant's boy was called, and said he sometimes paid the plaintiff - and sometimes the defendant did.  When plaintiff left, he paid him ¬£32, the defendant having cut him $3.  Plaintiff took the money.  *(Witness produced a receipt from Plaintiff's)

   His HONOUR said this was written on Jan. 28th.

   Witness said that was when plaintiff was paid $70.  He did not usually get a receipt, but did on this occasion, because it was found plaintiff was always making mistakes.  $70 was paid to plaintiff the week before the 28th January, by witness, for which he also got a receipt, but it was lost.  When plaintiff was paid the $32, he did not say any money was de to him.  Plaintiff was not paid $35 regularly, - sometimes moir√©, sometimes less.  When he deceived the $32, he left the house, and at dinner time had not come back.  After dinner he came back.  There was another cook righter at that time.  He said something about his money being in arrear, and went away again.  Witness did not pay him any money on account of wages.  The servants' wages were always paid to them, personally.

   Defendant, sworn, deposed - I paid plaintiff at different times, sometimes so much for the tables, and so much for wages.  I was very sick, and when I got well I paid him all I owed him, $70, for which I had a receipt in English, which I cannot find.  He came back late the same evening, took his things, and I have never seen or heard of him till now.

   Plaintiff recalled, and shown the receipt above mentioned, said he remembered nothing about it.

   The boy, recalled, said plaintiff gave it to him.

His HONOUR said he was not satisfied that the money was due.  All the circumstances of the case seemed to point to the fact that plaintiff had been plaid.  He received the sums of $70 and $32 without demur; and then was the time for him to have complained.  He did not think it likely that he would be paid for the table allowance and nothing of the wages from first to last.

   Judgment for defendant.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School