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Colonial Cases

McLaren v. Martin, 1888

[shipping, wages]

McLaren v. Martin

Civil Summary Court, Shanghai
Hall AAJ, 30 October 1888
Source: North China Herald, 2 November 1888

Shanghai, 30th October.
Before J. C. Hall, Esq., Acting Assistant Judge.
  Mr. A. C. McKaren, the late chief officer of the China Navigation Co.'s steamer Shanghai, sued Capt. Martin, of the same ship for $45, balance of wages.
  Mr. Browett appeared for the plaintiff.
  A. C. McLaren was sworn and stated - I was engaged on the Shanghai as chief officer about 3 years ago, at a salary of $75 a month.  There is now $45 due to me for 16 days' service, which the captain has refused to pay me.
  Capt. Martin admitted that the amount claimed had been earned by the plaintiff, but owing to the detection, by the Customs officer at Wuhu, of smuggling, the captain claimed the right of stopping the $45 as part payment of the fine of $50 imposed by the Customs' authorities for the smuggling.  This would have been prevented had the plaintiff reported the finding of the goods to him (Captain) in time, as it was his duty to do when he saw the smuggled goods on board, and had he done so defendant would have thrown them overboard before the ship  got to Wuhu, as he had often done before, and thereby have avoided all further trouble.
  Cross-examined by Mr. Browett - The plaintiff neglected to tell me that there were smuggled goods on board, which led to the ship being fined Tls. 50 at Wuhu.
  The Plaintiff deposed as follows - We left at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  After leaving, I wrote up the manifest of the cargo taken on board at Kiukiang.  I then thought of some packages which had been taken on board at Hankow and I spoke about them to the boatswain who got three or four sailors and a lamp, and we went down on the sponson deck where I saw some large baskets of ages.  On examining the forecastle I found some more eggs and several bales of compressed paper.  In the forepeak I saw a square bundle, which struck me as bring like one I had seen in a boat alongside at Hankow. There were about 20 similar bales in the boat. I told the boatswain I wanted to see the other nineteen similar bundles.  And after a time I found the 19 packages which contained nankeens.  I intended putting all these packages in the cargo room, but it was too full of cargo, and I had to let them remain where they were.  It was my intention to tell the Captain all about the finding of these smuggled goods.  But on previous occasions when I had reported similar occurrences to Captain Martin he disapproved of my doing so.
  Cross-examined by the Defendant - I did not see you in the afternoon of the seizure.
  Captain Martin - The plaintiff has said that I knew of smuggling going on and winked at it.  It is utterly false.
  His Honour gave judgment for the amount claimed, but without costs, as the plaintiff had neglected his duty in failing to report the smuggling to the captain, but the latter had not satisfactorily made out that the ship had been detained in consequence.

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