Man was drunk while in charge of a child

1913 police court

At the Scarborough Police Court, James Davis (62), labourer, 10 Oxley’s Yard, Quay Street, was charged on 
remand with having been drunk whilst in charge of a child in Eastborough on April 23rd.

The case had been adjourned so that Davis, who denied the charge might bring witnesses.

Mrs Elizabeth Swallwell, Globe Street, said she had seen Davis and his wife coming down Eastborough. She heard Mrs Davis ask her husband to take the child whilst she went into a fish shop to get the supper. She (witness) noticed three policemen coming down the street, and she said to prisoner: “Keep walking Mr Davis, there’s some policemen; you’ll only get into trouble.”

Davis replied: “All right lass.” Witness added that she never thought about the Children’s Act or she would have taken the child. PC Wilkinson arrested him.

In reply to a question by Inspector Nawton, witness admitted being in court on the last occasion when Davis was charged.

Inspector Nawton: Why did you tell the prisoner to hurry up?

Witness: Because I thought if he kept on the policemen would not trouble him.

Inspector Nawton: But why did you think they would trouble him?

Witness explained that she thought he might be taken.

Inspector Nawton: Why didn’t you want him to be taken?

Witness: I don’t like to see anybody get into trouble. My husband has been in trouble before.

Mr AW Raine, an organist in the town, who lives at 81, Eastborough, said he had gone there voluntarily as a witness. He was making his way down Eastborough on the night in question when he saw Davis and another man “rather heated” at the corner of Globe Street. There were about twenty people about, and some friends of Davis’ persuaded him to go away. Before he got to the fish shop – opposite the Palace Hill steps – he took the child in his arms. His wife, witness thought it would be, went into the fish shop, and when she came out they continued their journey. When they got nearly to the Eastborough Congregational Church, about thirty yards from the fish shop, witness saw three policemen hurrying down. The row was then over. The officers simply got hold of him and asked him whose child it was. His wife explained, and without any questioning they locked him up. Witness did not think that Davis was drunk, because he could walk as straight as witness could, and witness had never tasted drink in his life.

Davis: I could have walked 20 miles.

Replying to Davis witness said that he had not the child at the end of Globe Street.

Davis said that Mr Raines was a perfect stranger to him.

By Inspector Nawton: At the end of Globe Street Davis was arguing the point with another man.

Davis: Yes, a man who had robbed me. Rachel Louth, 1, Oxley’s Yard, corroborated.

By Inspector Nawton: She had been asked if she would go and give evidence, and she said she would. She couldn’t say that Davis was sober. He was a bit excited, but was capable of taking a baby any distance.

Davis: I had a glass or two of beer, but I wasn’t drunk, and I was not in charge of the child. The mother was in charge of the child.

The magistrates considered the case proved.

It was his seventh appearance, the last time for drunkenness being in 1907.

A fine of 21s or a month in prison was imposed.