Traveller sues trader over road accident

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1913 Court

Charles Horatio Dell, traveller, 13, Avenue Road, sued J Robinson and Sons, jobmasters, Westmount Mews, for £12 12s 2d damage to a motor-cycle at the Scarborough County Court.

Mr C Royle was for the plaintiff, and Mr J Whitfield was for defendant.

Mr Royle said defendant styled themselves the largest jobmasters in the North of England. The damage was sustained, it was alleged, by the negligent driving of a horse and hansom cab belonging to plaintiff. The cycle was standing outside a shop occupied by the persons for whom plaintiff travelled. The cab was going round a corner at Belle Vue Parade and Victoria Road, but there was plenty of space between the corner and the cycle, and the driver should have seen the cycle before a collision could occur.

Evidence was given by Dell, AE Tindall, and others, as to the cab causing the damage.

Dell, in answer to Mr Whitfield, denied that a dog had been the cause of it.

Tindall said the cab took a wide turning. He certainly saw a dog at the time. Had the driver exercised skill the accident would not have occurred.

Mr Whitfield: It is a snappy little beast is it not? – I don’t know.

Didn’t it have a little argument with a motorcar and come off the worst – snapping at it? (laughter) – I don’t know.

Mr Whitfield suggested that the dog snapping caused the driver to swerve the cab to get out of the road.

A witness named Sedman, in the employ of the same firm as Dell, spoke as to seeing the cab strike the motorcycle carrying the latter for about a yard. He saw a dog, but he did not think that the latter was the cause of the accident. He would have heard the dog had it barked. Had the driver been exercising sufficient care the accident would not have occurred.

By Mr Whitfield: A person behind the hansom called to witness, stating that he had better get to know the owner of the dog, but a man behind could not see so well. The dog did not “yap” at the horse’s legs.

Mr Whitfield: What made him swerve like this unless the dog had startled the horse?

Witness: I could not say. It is rather a mettlesome horse.

A small boy, Herbert Bottomley, who was with the dog, said the latter did nothing until after the accident, then it commenced barking.

For the defence, George Youngman, 14, Roscoe Street, the driver of the cab, said he had been employed by Robinson’s firm 12 years. When he turned into Victoria Road he was in the middle of the road. He saw the cycle standing about 30 or 40 yards from Belle Vue Parade. When he was proceeding down Victoria Road a dog “flew across the road at his horse,” and he had to pay attention to the horse, the wheel catching the cycle. Had witness not acted as he had there would have been a worse accident, as the dog caused the horse to plunge across the road. The people in the cab got out, and he picked them up near Barwick Street, and drove them to their destination in Queen Street.

Mrs Creswell, Victoria Road, said the horse did not swerve until the dog ran across the road, flew halfway up the horse’s legs, the horse reared up, and the cabman “caught it”, with the result that a wheel caught the motorcycle standing at the side of the road. The horse was going smartly, but not dangerously.

Frank Johnson, Vine Street, a carter, said the dog was the cause of the accident, and he shouted to someone who came out of the shop that the driver should not be blamed, but the name of the owner of the dog should be secured.

By Mr Royle: Witness could see plainly all that occurred.

By the Judge: Witness did not see the boy Bottomley there. He was sure the dog rushed out before the accident occurred.

Edgar Hinton, manager, and Edgar Robinson (trading as J Robinson and Sons), also gave evidence.

Mr Royle asked whether Youngman had not been in a motor case for furiously driving, and his Honour had given a verdict against him, for the killing of a dog.

Witness replied that that had nothing to do with that case, and he should think that if a man had one accident it would make him more careful in future.

His Honour found for the defendants, stating that he did not think the accident would have occurred had it not been for the dog.