's hand. Pleadings Book, p. 16. The writ, dated 21 March 1771, returnable at the April
Suffolk Inferior Court, was apparently drafted by
, who entered the action.
also was Needham's counsel at the July 1771 court, where judgment was given for Kingsbury
on a demurrer to the plea, Needham having agreed that the trial of any appeal would
be final. In the Superior Court, the case was continued term by term until Feb. 1779,
when the suit was dropped. See Min. Bk., Inf. Ct.
Suffolk, April 1771, No. 204; July 1771, No. 73; SCJ Rec.
1779, fol. 52; Min. Bk. 95, SCJ
Suffolk, Aug. 1771, N–7; Min. Bk. 103, SCJ
Suffolk, Feb. 1779, C–1; SF
102598. This suit for malicious prosecution arose out of an action brought by John
Needham, Ezekiel's son, against Kingsbury at the July 1768 Suffolk Inferior Court
for services performed and for a sawmill saw which Needham claimed that Kingsbury
had agreed to buy, or at any rate had used and returned in damaged condition. Needham
won a jury verdict for three pounds in the Inferior Court, which was reversed by a
Superior Court jury at the Aug. 1768 term, and then on review in March 1769 was restored
by a third verdict which included costs in the staggering amount of £79 3s. 7d.
was Needham's counsel at both Superior Court trials. See Min. Bk. 86, SCJ
Suffolk, Aug. 1768, N–26; Min. Bk. 89, SCJ
Suffolk, March 1769, N–24; SF
At the Nov. adjournment of the Aug. 1769 Superior Court term, on Kingsbury's complaint,
Ezekiel Needham was indicted on two separate indictments for perjury in his testimony
at the Inferior Court trial and at the Superior Court trial in review. His wife, Dorothy
Needham, was also indicted for perjury in the Inferior Court. In each indictment the
charge was the same, that the witness had testified “that three or four Teeth were
broken out of the Saw” in dispute, “and that the same Saw was bent and twisted and
entirely spoiled.” See SF
102598, 101798, 101799, 101773. According to minutes taken by
, probably at the trial in review, Ezekiel had testified that Kingsbury “brought the
saw to my house and said it did not prove so well as he expected. The Saw was damnified,
the Teeth were broke and the Saw was bent.” Adams Papers, Microfilms
, Reel No. 185. At the March 1770 term two indictments were also brought against John
Needham—one for forging the signatures of his witnesses to the accounts of their travel
to the Superior Court, and one for subornation of perjury, charging that he had procured
Samuel Frost to testify falsely as to the condition of the saw at the trial in review.
101796, 101797. After several continuances, during which Ezekiel was free on bail,
he was tried under the indictment covering his Inferior Court testimony at the Feb
1771 Superior Court. (On his other indictment no plea appears and the words “not compleated”
are written. SF
's minutes of the trial show that various witnesses testified that the saw was not
damaged when Kingsbury returned it, but the saw itself was introduced in evidence
and apparently had at least two or three broken teeth. Although some witnesses stated
that these were broken before Kingsbury got possession, he testified himself that
“This is the Saw that I carryd home to Needhams Mill. Just as it was then. I cant
so well tell that the Saw was exactly so at the Time I took it. When I carryd it home,
I told him that it was something rusty. There was 2 or 3. Same as it is now.” Adams Papers, Microfilms
, Reel No. 185. This testimony was apparently conclusive. The jury found Ezekiel not
guilty and he was discharged. At the same term Dorothy and John Needham were likewise
acquitted. Min. Bk. 89, SCJ
Suffolk, Feb. 1771. This prosecution was the basis of Ezekiel's present suit.
At the Aug. 1773 term, Ezekiel was once again cited for perjury as a result of his
testimony for John in a suit against the latter by Jeremiah Hall, in which Hall had
finally prevailed on review.
was again counsel for Needham in the civil suit. Min. Bk. 98, SCJ
Suffolk, Feb. 1773, C–49; Aug. 1773, N–16; SF
102275, 102 2520. Needham gave his recognizance for prosecution at the next term,
but no further record has been found. See note
below. See also Ezekiel Needham v. Jeremiah Hall, Min. Bk., Inf. Ct.
Suffolk, April 1772, No. 243, a default judgment for Needham with