1915 Court: Soldier apologises for intimidating conduct

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An unusual case was heard at the Scarborough Police Court.

Thomas Kennedy, 10th Supernumerary Company West Yorkshire Regiment, stationed at Scarborough, was summoned for having used “threatening language in a certain public place called Falsgrave Road, with intent to put persons in fear, on 15th November.”

The mayor (Mr CC Graham) presided, and the magistrates on the bench were: Alderman Rowntree, Cllr Hopwood, Messrs AJ Tugwell, G Rowntree, Y Anderson, AW Sinclair, W Boyes, R Heys, and WW Gibson. The latter five were new magistrates, sitting for the first time.

Kennedy admitted the charge.

The chief constable explained that the proceedings were taken under By-law No. 6 of the by-laws for the good rule and government of the borough. This dealt with threatening language in a street or public place (or within hearing of such).

The circumstances, he proceeded, were that at ten o’clock on the night of November 15th, two special constables, Richardson and Cliff, were in Falsgrave Road. They saw three soldiers going towards Stepney Road. After the soldiers had passed, defendant went back and said, “Are you special constables?”, Richardson said, “Yes.” Kennedy then said, “Are you the ones who have been pimping in Falsgrave Park?”. Richardson replied, “No.” Defendant then said: “Some of you will get a good hiding one of these days”. He said that his name was Private Kennedy, and added that they “would cop it one of these nights.” He also said: “We did wait for them one night to do for them but they had gone, about nine o’clock.” He further said that if he was caught he would shoot them. The officers, he said, were told to stick up for themselves. He (the chief) submitted that in that particular case there could be no difficulty in coming to the conclusion as to why this language was used. In some cases it was difficult to prove the intent, but it was evident the language was used on this occasion to put special constables in fear, to intimidate them. As to pimping in Falsgrave Road, the park was under the control of the military at the present time, so there could be no question of any pimping. The defendant had pleaded guilty and he had been to see him (the chief) that morning and had apologised for his conduct. He (the chief) looked upon it as a serious matter, and one which could not possibly be passed over. Defendant, however, had said that he had no intention of putting special constables in fear, and he didn’t realise what he was saying.

The chief added that the special constables were not afraid, but there was the intent.

Asked by the mayor if he had anything to say, defendant said: “Only that I am sorry, sir, and I will see it does not occur again.”

Replying to the clerk as to whether anything was known against defendant, the chief said that nothing was known. Defendant had been in the town about three months.

By the mayor: Defendant had been drinking, but he was sober at the time.

A military officer said that a detective inspector had reported the matter to him, and he went into it with Kennedy, telling the latter what he thought about him. Kennedy apologised, said it would not occur again, and he (the officer) took it that the matter had dropped. He had no idea a summons would be served. Kennedy’s military character was good. The only case against him on the military records was one of having been absent without leave.

The chief constable said he sent the detective, and he understood he (the chief) would be informed of what was done. He had not been informed, and so he took it as a matter for the civil court. He understood, however, that the man had been reprimanded.

The mayor, addressing Kennedy, said the magistrates thought it was a serious matter that he should have used threatening language to men who had given their services for the good of the community, who were doing valuable work, and needed encouraging. At the same time seeing that he had made an apology as far as he could, and in view of the statement of his officer, the magistrates would take as lenient a view as possible. They would dismiss the case, but defendant would have to pay the costs 5s.