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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73


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The petition of the undersigned humbly showeth:—

That your petitioner was a Justice of the Peace and Licensed Interpreter, residing at New Plymouth.

That on the 23rd day of May, 1894, the license of your petitioner was cancelled; and his name was removed from the Commission of the Peace on the ground that he had permitted a native woman named Moringa to sign a Statutory Declaration to the effect that she had received certain purchase money for some land, whereas she had not personally received it; and of this fact it was alleged your petitioner was aware.

That your petitioner was not aware that the declaration was false; but permitted the same to be signed in good faith, honestly believing it to be correct, and after duly translating and explaining the contents to the said native woman before she signed the same.

That your petitioner went through all the usual formalities in connection with the declaration according to a perfectly well established custom and method of procedure in use every day throughout the Colony, and received no extra gratuity or fee for the business, but merely his allowance as interpreter as permitted by Statute.

That in the recent case of Ngapei versus King, hoard in October, 1894, the same question was raised before His Honor Mr Justice Conolly, at the Circuit Sittings of the Supreme Court at New Plymouth, when it appeared that the Plaintiff, one Ngapei Ngatata, had signed a declaration to the effect that she had received the purchase money for some land, when the interpreter acting in the matter was fully aware that she had not received it. His Honor declined however to attach any importance to the fact, observing that this was the usual course of procedure, as it was impossible to pay the native the money until the deed passed the Trust Commissioner, when the declaration was intended to be used.

That although Mr. District Judge Kettle did not agree with His Honor's view on the point, yet Mr. Kettle, who knew all the facts of the case, has expressly and emphatically acquitted your petitioner of any dishonest or improper motive in permitting the native to make the declaration; that the native was not defrauded or injured in any way by your petitioner's action.

That your petitioner has prayed for an inquiry into the cir- page 6 cumstances of his case, hut the Government has refused to grant the same.

That your petitioner has devoted the best years of his life to the service of the Colony; having held the office of Colonial Treasurer; having been twice Superintendent of the Province of Tarnnaki; four times a Member of the House of Representatives; Acting Officer of Royal Engineers and Officer Commanding the Local Forces during the war with the Natives; and subsequently Royal Commissioner and Civil Commissioner, retiring from his last named office with a compliment from the Minister of the day in charge of the Department.

That your petitioner is now at the age of 75 years deprived of the means of earning his living as a Licensed Interpreter.

Your petitioner prays that your Honorable House will grant him such redress as may seem to your Honorable House to meet the merits of this case.

And your petitioner as in duty will ever pray, &c.

Charles Brown.

New Plymouth,