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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73



Q. Did you act for the Crown in connection with the Otamakapua No. 2 Block?

A. I did. I was then in practice. I was retained by the Government of which Mr. Sheehan was a member as counsel for the Crown, and for a period of about two years I appeared in the Native Land Court and conducted all the Crown cases. That was one of them.

Q. Were you acting also for the Natives in connection with the same block?

A. Not for the Natives, except as representing the Crown. I was not paid by them. One of the principal owners, Renata Kawepo, however, was a client of mine at all times. I merely advised in connection with the title, and conducted the case of the successful claimants in the Native Land Court, the Government paying my fees.

Q. Did you receive retainers or fees from both the Natives and the Government?

A. Certainly not. I would, however, qualify that. I got retainers whilst I was in practice page 12 to act for certain chiefs in all matters, but I never received any fee for conducting the Otamakapua case except from the Crown.

Q. Did you receive £7,000 odd from the Government to be paid to the Natives?

A. The amount imprested to Mr. Booth, the Land Purchase Commissioner, and myself was a very much larger amount. It was over £40,000, I think. Mr. Booth and I were joined in the imprest warrant. But the question may relate to an adjoining piece of land—the Waitapu Block—which was purchased by the Government immediately after Otamakapua had gone through the Court; and in that I believe I acted professionally for the Natives and not for the Crown. Of course, I am speaking of events which happened ten or twelve years ago.

Q. Were you paid by the Government ten guineas per day for conducting the purchase?

A. Not for conducting the purchase. I never received from my clients, European or Maori, as far as I am aware, during the whole time I was in practice, a larger fee or a smaller fee than ten guineas per diem for appearing in the Native Land Court, and I was paid by the Crown ten guineas per diem in that particular case. I appeared in Court as counsel for the Crown. I was sometimes in Court for three or four weeks at a stretch, and, whenever that occurred, I was paid ten guineas per diem, including Sundays. I remember the Auditor-General once raising the question of my being paid for Sundays, and my answer was that I worked just as hard on Sundays as on week-days, to say nothing of peril to the soul!

Q. When paying the money over to the Natives, did you deduct 2½ per cent.?

A. Certainly not.

Q. Did the Natives protest against such deduction?

A. Certainly not. I am speaking, of course, from memory. I have not the slightest recollection of anything of the sort.