1915 Police Court
A case of interest to publicans in the country district surrounding Scarborough came up at the North Riding Police Court today, the magistrates on the bench being Mr F Baker (in the chair) and the Rev TG Little.
The principal defence was that the order did not apply.
Defendant was Betsy Ann Chew, innkeeper, Star Inn, Cayton, and she was summoned for having at Cayton on April 16th, contravened an order made on January 8th, 1915, under the Defence of the Realm Act, 1914.
Inspector Boynton said that copies of the notice had been posted, and defendant admitted to him that she had received one, but had lost it.
Cayton was in the three mile radius from the boundary of Scarborough. From just inside the boundary to Mrs Chew’s front door the distance as measured by witness and a sergeant, was two miles, 356 yards, 2 feet.
Proceeding to the facts of the case, the Inspector said that at 9.40pm on the night of the day in question he visited the Star Inn, Cayton, saw Mrs Chew, and entered the front room of the house. In that room there were several persons there, amongst them being a chauffeur who lived at Scarborough. On the table in the room were three bottles, two containing stout, and one beer. There was a glass against each bottle and part of the contents of each had been consumed. He asked Mrs Chew who had served the liquor and who it had been served to. She replied that she had served a bottle of stout to her son, a bottle of stout to a Mrs Baker, who was resident in the house, and a bottle of beer to the chauffeur, who, she admitted, was not a resident in the house.
He asked her why she had served intoxicating liquor to a person not resident in the house in contravention of the order. She replied: Well, I have always carried the order out, ever since it was made, closing my house strictly at 9pm, but I thought that I was still all right in opening and serving a bona fide traveller.
Witness drew her attention to the fact that the order did not exempt any bona fide traveller or other persons, except any resident in the house. She admitted that was so, but said she had not taken that particular notice. She thought she was right in serving bona fide travellers. She also said she was very sorry, and if he could look over it that time, she would neither serve travellers nor other persons.
He told her it was not in his power to look over it, he must submit the facts to the proper quarters, and await what should be done.
Mr Hart: Mrs Chew readily gave you all the information in her possession? – Yes, she gave me the impression that she was acting quite honestly.
Proceeding, in reply to Mr Hart, witness said that he thought Mrs Chew had quite acted under a misapprehension. The facts she gave him were all true. The chauffeur resided at Scarborough, at a point more than three miles from Cayton. The two other persons had a right to be there, and to be served there. In other respects Mrs Chew had carried out the order. Two ladies had been driven to Bridlington, witness was told, that day, and the chauffeur employed by the owner of the car at Scarborough had driven them.
On driving the ladies back to Mrs Chew’s house Mrs Chew, incautiously, let him have a bottle of beer.
The measurement referred to was taken from the extreme southern boundary at Wheatcroft.
Witness admitted that from the Post Office to Mrs Chew’s house would be more than three miles.
The principal defence was that the order did not apply. The words of the order were within a three mile radius.
The Clerk to Mr Hart: That is where it hits you?
Mr Hart: It does not hit me if the magistrates take the proper meaning of the word ‘radius’.
Mr Hart proceeded, it was clear that Mrs Chew did not know that she was committing an offence. If there was doubt in the legal mind, could they wonder there was doubt in Mrs Chew’s mind. Under the licensing law she would not be committing an offence in serving a traveller, but under the Defence of the Realm Act she might be.
It was a difficult thing to say that defendant committed wilfully any infraction of the law, and he did not think a conviction should ensue.
The magistrates, after retiring, found that defendant had committed a breach of the order, and a fine of 10s was imposed.
The Chairman added: We also wish for the benefit of the public to say that the fine might have been as much as £100. We think the public should be very particular indeed, living as we do on the East Coast.
Mr Hart: I think they do obey these orders very well, and carry them out very well.