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Citation. K.B. 509 (King’s Bench 1945).
Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff, who was a soldier staying in the house owned (but not occupied) by Defendant, found a brooch and then gave the brooch to the police who later, after not finding the rightful owner, gave the brooch to Defendant, who then sold the brooch.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Because Defendant was not physically present in the house at any time, Plaintiff’s find was defensible against all parties except the rightful owner.
Defendant owned a house, but did not occupy the house. Then, in October of 1939, the house was requisitioned by the government to house soldiers. Defendant was compensated with 250 pounds per month. Plaintiff was housed in the residence in 1940. During his stay he found a brooch. He then alerted Defendant of his find, and took the brooch to the police to find the rightful owner, receiving a receipt. Thereafter, in 1942, the rightful owner was still not located, and the police gave the brooch over to Defendant. Defendant sold the brooch for 66 pounds to a jeweler who resold the brooch for 88 pounds. Plaintiff, through counsel, demanded return of the brooch from Defendant, who refused. The Plaintiff sued claiming return of the brooch, or its value, and damages for its detention. Issue.
Does Plaintiff have a claim of right for finding the brooch against Defendant, who owned the house where the brooch was found but did not ever occupy the house?