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Colonial Cases

Reeks v. Reeks [1896]

[divorce]

Reeks v. Reeks and Ruttunjee

Consular Court, Shanghai
1896
Source: The Times, 8 June 1896

 

REEKS v. REEKS AND RUTTUNJEE.

This was the petition of Arthur James Francis Reeks, of Shanghai, in the Empire of China, an officer of the Imperial Chinese Customs, for the dissolution of his marriage with Frances Maud Reeks by reason of adultery with Byram Ruttunjee.

Mr. NEWTON CRANE said the parties were married on October 9, 1885, at the British Consulate General, Shanghai, and there had been three children of the marriage, two of whom were now alive.  The co-respondent was a sharebroker on Shanghai, and in March 1895, the petitioner commenced proceedings in the Consular Court there, and obtained a judicial separation and damages by reason of his wife's misconduct with the co-respondent.  Subsequent y the respondent again returned to the co-respondent, and the present petition was filed.  There had been a commission to China, and the petitioner and his witnesses had been examined there.

The PRESIDENT. - There may be a serious question as to the petitioner's domicile.  Is he here now?

Mr. CRANE. - The domicile was proved on the commission.  The petitioner swore that both he and his father were born in Hampshire, and that he intended to return to England.

The PRESIDENT. - I do not understand how the Consular Court could have jurisdiction in a matrimonial suit, unless the parties were domiciled in China.

The evidence taken bon commission having been read,

The PRESIDENT said he did not feel disposed to deal with the case as it stood, nor until he had seen the petitioner and had certain matters explained.  He did not understand how proceedings came to be taken in the Consular Court, and he wished to obtain information as to what took place and learn all the facts.  The case must therefore be adjourned, and go into the reserve list.

 

Source: North China Herald, 17 July, 1896

 

THE REEKS DIVORCE SUIT.

   In the Divorce Division of the High Court of Justice on 6th June, the case of Reeks v. Reeks and Ruttumjee came on. This was the petition of Arthur James Francis Reeks of Shanghai, in the Empire of China, an officer of the Imperial Chinese Customs, for the dissolution of his marriage with Frances Maud Reeks, by reason of her adultery with Byram Ruttunjee.

   Mr. Newton Crane said the parties were married on Oct. 9, 1885, at the British Consulate-General, Shanghai, and there had been three children of the marriage, two of whom were now alive. The co-respondent was a share-broker in Shanghai, and in March,1895, the petitioner commenced proceedings in the Consular Court there, and obtained a judicial separation and damages by reason of his wife's misconduct with the co-respondent. Subsequently the respondent again returned to the co-respondent, and the present petition was filed. There had been a commission to China, and the petitioner and his witnesses had been examined there.

   The President - There may be a serious question as to the petitioner's domicile. Is he here now?

   Mr. Crane - The domicile was proved on the commission. The petitioner swore that both he and his father were born in Hampshire, and that he intended to return to England.

   The President - I do not understand how the Consular Court could have jurisdiction in a matrimonial suit, unless the parties were domiciled in China.

   The evidence taken on the commission having been read,

   The President said he did not feel disposed to deal with the case as it stood, not until he had seen the petitioner and had certain matters explained. He did not understand how proceedings came to be taken in the Consular Court, and he wished to obtain information as to what took place and learn all the facts. The case must therefore be adjourned, and go into the reserve list.

 

Source: Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 11 August, 1896


A SHOCKING STORY IN THE DIVORCE COURT.
  A sad story was unfolded in the Divorce Court yesterday, before Sir F. Jeune. The petition was that of Arthur James Francis Reed, of the Chinese Customs Department at Shanghai, for a dissolution of his marriage on the ground of his wife's adultery with an Indian named Rutton Jee.  There was no defence.  Mr. R. Newton Crane, who appeared for the petitioner, said that the parties were married at the British Consulate in 1885. They lived happily until 1891 or 1892, when petitioner, who was at that time paralysed, was sent to Japan in order to facilitate his recovery.  On his return he noticed a change in his wife's manner, and surprising her with a locket, demanded to see it.  It contained her portrait on one side and that of the co-respondent on the other. She confessed afterwards that she had been to the co-respondent's rooms. She then left her husband, and was taken into a convent, the nuns hoping that the seclusion would bring about a reconciliation.  She, however, gave way to drink and in her absence petitioner found sixty letters of an obscene character written to her by the co- respondent and petitioner went on action for separation in the Consular Court, and obtained a decree, with 3,000 taels damages against Rutton Jee.  Immediately afterward, the respondent and co-respondent went to live together, and with a view to putting an end to the scandal the missionaries took charge of her. She, however, left China for England under an assumed name, followed afterwards by the co-respondent, also travelling under an assumed name, and they were now living as man and wife. His Lordship, after hearing the evidence, granted the petitioner a decree nisi, with costs.

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