Engineers gather in city

Delegates gather at the New Zealand civil engineers’ conference, held at King Edward Technical...
Delegates gather at the New Zealand civil engineers’ conference, held at King Edward Technical College, Dunedin. — Otago Witness, 26.2.1924
The tenth annual conference of the New Zealand Society of Civil Engineers was opened in the Technical College yesterday morning.

In opening the conference Mayor of Dunedin, Mr Tapley, said it afforded him very great pleasure in extending an official welcome to the society. He was sure that the people appreciated highly the work done by the civil engineers, to whom they owed a great deal for the development of the country. Although New Zealand was a young country it had developed very satisfactorily during its short history, and that development was very largely due to the skill of their engineers. He was very pleased to learn that they were going to pay a visit to Waipori, and the development that had taken place, and was still taking place, would impress them. 

No justification for strapping

The case in which Henry Swallow claimed £10 and 10 shillings sixpence medical expenses from Alexander J. Jack, headmaster of the Mosgiel Public School, for the alleged unwarrantedly severe flogging of his son, Henry Swallow, a Fifth Standard pupil at the school, was continued at the Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning before Mr J.R. Bartholomew SM. Mr Callan, who appeared for the defendant, cited several previous cases, contending that the punishment was justified and was not excessive. 

He also pointed out that though the witness was subjected to very provocative cross-examination, he had not lost his temper, and this in itself was an indication that the defendant was an even-tempered man. The Magistrate said that he had had the facts of the case before him for several days now, and he quite realised that the action was a serious one for the master. The facts were perfectly clear. No doubt a schoolmaster’s task was a thankless one, and in some instances he was not helped by the parents.

On his own account, however, he was at fault, and could not possibly be justified in his action. The degree of the punishment was not to be considered, but the mode was distinctly wrong and there was absolutely no justification. He was prepared to accept the master’s account that the boy was cheeky and insubordinate, but taking the same account, the master himself did not come out in a very good light. The evidence of the boy indicated that the master was angry and excited when using the strap. If the master had been calm and collected, as he should have been, he should have known that he had struck the boy on the face. The only conclusion was that the blow on the face was the result of a misdirected blow by the master. 

In awarding the plaintiff damages, the Magistrate said that he thought the boy had magnified the matter considerably and had exploited the situation as far as possible. Judgement would be entered for plaintiff for £5 10s 6d, which would include medical expenses. Court costs were fixed at £1 15s, solicitor’s fee £1 6s, and witnesses’ expenses £2 6s.

Mr Callan: "Of course the boy witnesses will not be awarded expenses?"

The Magistrate: "No; I wouldn’t think of allowing schoolboys expenses. I am totally against paying boys for attending court."

ODT, 20.02.1924  (Compiled by Peter Dowden)