(copied from Whig by Montreal Gazette, May 19, 1843)
p.2 We abridge from the columns of our contemporary, the British Whig, the following report of the case of Bray VS Sandom, to which we have before alluded.
The trial took place at Kingston on Saturday, the 13th instant, before His Honour Mr. Justice Jones, and a jury.
The Plaintiff was Master-at-Arms of the ship Niagara, and had the privilege afforded him by Capt. Sandom of selling beer to the men, a privilege, on the plaintiff's own showing, by which he had cleared the sum of £1,200 in the course of two years, exclusive of his pay and perquisites. How much more he had cleared is best known to himself. In the course of time, it became apparent, that great irregularities existed in the sale of this beer, and an investigation was made, in the course of which it came out, that Bray sold beer to the men at improper hours, sold it to drunkards contrary to order, and sold it at an extortionate rate, viz., seven pence a quart, at a credit of less than a month. These charges being proved, Capt. Sandom very properly disrated Bray from his rank of Master-at-Arms to that of Seaman, and ordered him into confinement to be tried by Court Martial for disobedience of orders. Instead of sending Bray to his duty at hard labour among the men, or the ship's prison, there to be kept until a Court Martial could be convened, Captain Sandom very humanely permitted him to keep possession of his cabin, and allowed him the privilege of the quarter deck; nay more, on several occasions, gave him leave to visit Kingston. At length, at the expiration of nineteen days, on Bray's sending a penitential letter to his Captain, praying for his discharge, (read in Court) instead of bringing him to a Court Martial, and having him severely punished, as in all probability he would have been, Capt. Sandom humanely consented to discharge him from the ship, and that he might not lose the benefit of his 14 previous years service, gave him a good certificate! And for these acts of kindness, what was the grateful return? The commencement of an action against his benefactor for false imprisonment - it seems, that the Captain in discharging Bray from the ship, without bringing him to Court Martial, rendered himself liable to the law, and however humane his conduct toward the plaintiff might be proved, still it was illegal.
There were several other counts in the declaration, complaining of ill-treatment on the part of Captain Sandom towards the plaintiff's wife, unsustained, however, by evidence, and abandoned by the plaintiff's counsel.
It was ably argued by the Attorney General for the defendant, that there was no case to go before the Jury, but Judge Jones overruled him. In his charge, the Judge exhorted the Jury to give moderate damages, for no injury had occurred to the plaintiff, but they thought differently, and awarded him £50. One farthing would have been sufficient for the equity of the case.
Mr. J.A. M'Donald, assisted by the Messrs. Kirkpatrick and Mr. C. Benson, conducted the case for the plaintiff; and Mr. Henry Smith, aided by the Attorney General, managed the defence. The Hon. Mr. Draper had been retained by Captain Sandom, but his non-appearance occasioned his brief to be entrusted to the Attorney-General, at a short notice.