Friday, January 14, 2011

Loo Wai and Ah Kum

NZ Truth , Issue 449, 24 January 1914, Page 5


A DOCTOR AND HIS FARM THREE YEARS' WAGES CLAIMED EVIDENCE IN COURT. Alleging that his wages were some 3£ years in arrears, an aged Oriental named Loo Shook 'figured in the Magistrate's Court yesterday afternoon, before Mr. J. S. Evans, S.M., as plaintiff in a civil action against Dr. Francis Wallace Mackenzie, of Wellington. The claim was for £182 as wages said to be v due at the Tate o£ £1 ,per week, from September, 1909, to March, 1913. Mr. V. R. Meredith appeared for the plaintiff, while the defendant conducted his own defence. In outlining Loo Shook's case, Mr. Meredith 6aid that Dr. Mackenzie owned a farm near Kawhia, on which he had placed a manager, and a China-man named Loo Wai. Loo Wai had laboured under tho impression that he was to receive £1 a week, but he had never received any remuneration. Through a Chinese patient. Dr. Mackenzie got in touch with Loo Shook, and offered him an engagement as a farm labourer at £l per week, .The .property was a rough one, and there was much heavy work in the shape of bush-felling and the like. Periodically the defendant visited the farm, and on each occasion when Loo Shook asked for money he received an evasive answer. Eventually he persuaded the manager to pay his* fare to Wellington, where ho again approached Dr. Mackenzie for his wages. He had two interviews with the defendant, and on each occasion -was "put off," and on the third occasion when ho called the doctor had gone away. Happening to call subsequently, the Chinese saw Dr. Mackenzie, who, in repudiating the debt, told him that if he bothered him again he would hand him over to the police. Counsel added that Loo Shook had always been able to get work before going to Kawhia, and at tho present time had a' position under offer at, the rate of £1 10s per week and iound. It was out of all reason to expect that Loo Shook would have undertaken to bury himself in the backblocku away from his associates, and doing rough, hard work, unless he had been told that ho would be paid for ifc. Counsel did not think that the defendant would say that he had ever paid the plaintiff anything, but he had evidently reckoned that he was entitled to send the Oriental to hard, slogging work in the backblocks and pay him nothing. "I recognise^" stated Mr. Meredith, "that the plaintiff is a Chinaman and the defendant a medical practitioner in Wellington, but it is hardly conceivable that the plaintiff would do this for tucker and a few second-hand clothes." A COMPATRIOT'S EVIDENCE. Evidence was given by Ah Kum, a resident of Wellington, as to Dr. Mackenzie having told him that he was willing to give Loo Shook a job up country. Loo Shook had subsequently told witness that he was to be paid £1" a week. In the course of his cross-examination of witness, Dr. _ Mackenzie said that Kum's evidence in chief was "a tissue of lies." Loo Shook, the plaintiff, gave his evidence, bearing out the allegations outlined by his counsel in opening, after which he was cross-examined by the defendant. Look Shook admitted that lie was known as Tom' Savers" in 1116 oIU daysj but denied that lie had been a fighting man. He had once. worked for defendant's father for about ten years. He had not told the defendant tliat he had been on the spree, and could not get work locally, or that he was .too old to work. BEFORE LOO SHOOK'S ARRIVAL. Another witness, Loo Wai, swore that he had been working on the Kawhia farm for eighteen months before Loo Shook's arrival. Dr. Mackenzie * had taken him to the farm, and had offered him (witness) £1 per week. Witness had asked the defendant for money, but ,had received only two sums — £1 and £2. Dr. Mackenzie had told him that he would knock £100 off his account for attending to witness's eyes. THE DEFENDANT'S STORY. In opening his case for the defence, Dr. Mackenzie addressed the Court, alleging that the Chinese had collabor* ated against him, although his treat' ment of them was really an act of charity. The position was this : Loo Wai went to him, old and blind. He operated on him, cured him, and sent him to the farm. He had charged Loo Wai only £1 Is consultation fee. He (defendant) was cornered through the collaboration of the Chinese, and he asked that the case be adjourned so that the evidence of his_ manager, who was at present at Kawhia, could be taken. According to Mr. Meredith, the manager's evidence could be taken in the Kawhia district, to which the defendant rejoined that this would entail his journeying to Kawhia. "Why not," suggested Mr. Meredith, "get a solicitor?" Dr. Mackenzie : I can't afford to. I am as poor as anything. I can hardly get along. / Counsel : Didn't you go surety for one of the strike leaders in tho sum of £500? Rather a large sum to plead poverty on ! The Court then adjourned till this morning, when defendant's evidence was taken. During the hearing Mr. Meredith stated that Loo Wai was proceeding in the _ Supreme Couvt on a claim for £253 against Dr. Mackenzie. Evening Post, Volume LXXXVII, Issue 13, 16 January 1914, Page

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