WATCHMAKERS' LIABILITY FOR STOLEN REPAIRS
On March 1st Mr. Cluer, the magistrate at Worship Street Police Court, gave an important decision on the liability of a trader for articles left for repair. The case arose on the hearing of a summons against a tradesman named Abraham Schutz, carrying on business in Osborne Street, Whitechapel, as a dealer in watchmakers' fittings. The complainant was a working jeweller and watchmaker, who had had left with him by a customer a watch for repair, and it wanted a new dial. He took it to Schutz and left it for the dial to be fitted. The same night thieves broke into Schutz's shop and stole, according to his defence, the watch in question among other goods. Schutz, in giving evidence as to this, proved by records of the Court that he prosecuted one man here for the theft and recovered six watches, the value of which was only £2, but the watch in question, the second-hand value of which was put at £3 3s., was not recovered, and while searchingly questioned by the magistrate as to the facts, maintained his story that the watch was stolen. He admitted that he left it on his working desk near the window when ceasing work for the night, and this fact the complainant pressed on the magistrate as " negligence," saying that it was the duty of the defendant to have locked up valuables deposited with him in a safe. The magistrate said that the defence seemed to be established, and a shopkeeper was not liable for the value of goods stolen from him. He decided that there was no evidence before him of negligence on the part of the shopkeeper, and he dismissed the summons. The complainant, protesting, wanted to know what was his position with regard to his customer, the owner of the watch. No statement was made.
Source: The Journal of Domestic Appliances - 1st April 1905