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Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts

Longhurst v. Hudson [1841]

false imprisonment

Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land

Pedder C.J., 6 October 1841

Source: Launceston Courier, 11 October 1841[1]

            This was likewise a undefended action, brought to recover damages for false imprisonment.

Mr. Macdowell, who appeared for the plaintiff, briefly stated the case to the jury. The declaration alleged that on the 9th July last the defendant violently, and with great force, compelled Mr. Longhurst to go out of his dwelling house to the police office, where he was imprisoned for the space of about five hours without any reasonable or lawful excuse; the damages were laid at £500. The defendant had allowed judgment to go by default, thereby admitting the wrong sustained, and the injury inflicted.

The facts of the case, as proved by evidence, were briefly these. Mr. Longhurst was the proprietor of a boat working upon the Tamar, which he left to a man named Cross. Mr. Hudson sent on board and claimed an iron pot as his property, which Cross refused to give up until he had seen Mr. Longhurst. The defendant then procured a constable and again demanded his property from Cross, and upon his refusing to deliver it up, gave him in charge. They then went to plaintiff's, where Mr. Longhurst produced a receipt for an iron pot, and ordered Mr. Hudson to leave the premises; Mr. Longhurst was then given in charge for felony, and without any violence having been offered, walked to the police office, where he remained about two hours, and was then permitted to go at large, without any investigation or enquiry heaving taken place.

Mr. Sydney Stephen addressed the Court in mitigation of damages, dwelling particularlyupon the fact that no violence had been offered, as was laid in the declaration.

The jury after a few minutes consultation assessed the damages at £25.


[1]              See also Hobart Town Advertiser, 12 November 1841 (motion for new trial refused).


Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University and the School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania