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Colonial Cases

Wo Cha Chee v. Vincent, 1887

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Wo Cha Chee v. Vincent

United States Consular Court, Shanghai
Kennedy, 12 December 1887
Source: North China Herald, 14 December 1877

U.S. CONSULAR COURT.
Before General Kennedy, Consul-General, Acting Judicially.
Shanghai, 12th Dec., 1887
Mr. E. W. Rice, Mr. S. O. Dalrymple, Assessors.
WO CHA CHEE v. C. VINCENT.
  Mr. E. Robinson who appeared for the plaintiff read the petition and answer.
  The defendant conducted his own case.
 The petition stated that the defendant in or about September last, instructed Mr. E. Hey, to sell the vessel called the Breeze, of which he (defendant) was the owner.  Acting upon these instructions Mr. Hey advertised the sale of the vessel by auction, and by the authority of the defendant, represented, inter alia, that the vessel was fitted with about twelve tons of lead and four tons of iron ballast.  The plaintiff on the faith of the aforesaid representations concerning the ballast of lead and iron, bought the vessel and her appurtenances, by public auction on or about the 29th Oct. for the sum of Tls. 1,500, and duly paid that sum to the auctioneer on behalf of the defendant.
  The plaintiff on subsequent examination discovered the representation that the vessel contained twelve tons of lead and four tons of iron ballast to be false, and that she only contained some three tons, thirteen hundredweight, one quarter and eight pounds of lead, and some two tons, thirteen hundredweight, two quarters, and six pounds of iron ballast. He now sued for the difference of the value between the lead and the iron ballast delivered and the amount falsely represented, and which calculated at the market rate of Tls. 4.25 per picul for lead and Tls. 1.20 for the iron, amounted to $615.
  In his answer the defendant denied that the representation as to the amount of lead and iron ballast on the vessel was false; and stated that he sold the vessel with the same amount of lead and iron ballast as he received from the parties when he purchased her, and who represented that there were between ten and fifteen tons of lead, and from three to four tons of iron ballast in the said vessel, which was advertised in accordance with such representations.
.  .  .   Judgment was reserved.
Tuesday, 13th December.
  The court delivered judgment in the above named suit this afternoon.  .  .  .  
  His Honour said that he had not had time to write out the judgment in full, but would do so tomorrow or next day.  He had therefore written a short judgment which embraced the judgment of the majority of the Court - there being one dissentient (Mr. E. W. Rice.) That gave Mr. Robinson the right to appeal if he chose to take the case up to Peking to the Minister, as according to the Regulations of the court he was entitled to do.  The judgment was as follows:-
On hearing the evidence in the above and applying the law applicable thereto it is ordered and adjudged that the petition be dismissed with costs.  The reasons for the judgment will be written out in full and spread on the record as there is not time to do so today.
  There were some very interesting points in the case, and the Minister might be inclined to differ from the view the court had taken of them.  Mr. Robinson had five days to appeal against that decision if he thought the Minister would be likely to take a different view of the case.  He (Mr. Robinson) had made a very capital argument on the case, and if there were any way to give his client relief the Court would have done so without hesitation.  But that was the view his Honour, as a lawyer, was obliged to take.

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