Today at the Borough Children’s Court before the Mayor (Mr CC Graham), Alderman Rowntree, Cllr Hopwood, Mr AJ Tugwell, Mr G Rowntree, Mr J Sinfield, Tom Eric Ashley (15), Spa Boarding House, St Nicholas Parade, was summoned on an adjourned case with having driven a motorcycle on the Foreshore and Bland’s Cliff in a manner dangerous to the public, on October 20th.
The Chief Constable said defendant had driven a motorcycle shortly after 2.30pm on October 20th at a dangerous speed along the Foreshore, turning into Bland’s Cliff.
Samuel Beech, 6, Tuthill, fisherman, said he saw defendant coming along the Foreshore from the direction of Sandgate, going very fast. He went up Bland’s Cliff at full speed, but only got abreast of Bath Terrace when he ran into a young lady, knocking her five or six feet into the air.
By Mr Whitfield: He could not say he saw defendant slow down opposite the Sea Bathing Infirmary to look at the Belgian soldiers. He seemed to reach the bottom of Bland’s Cliff all at once. The young lady was coming down with a young man, and they had hold of each other’s hands. The young man appeared to try to draw the lady to the left, but he could not say whether she was trying to go to the right.
Thomas Leader, 17a, Castlegate, gave corroborative evidence. In his opinion defendant’s speed was dangerous. When the accident occurred he heard someone say to defendant, “It is as much the girl’s fault as yours,” and someone else, “You are not to blame; it is not your fault.”
Charles Scales, 2, Overton Terrace, thought defendant had been putting on speed to see how far he could get up the hill.
Walter Dixon, Thornton House, Gladstone Street, Fred Stonier, 11, Oxford Street, and John Thompson, each thought the speed was very dangerous.
Miss Downes, 20, Elmville Avenue, said she had been coming down Bland’s Cliff with two ladies and a young boy. With the boy she commenced to run down Bland’s Cliff her friends following, when she was knocked down on rounding the corner and, remembered no more.
By Mr Whitfield: She could not remember saying the following day, when visited by defendant and his sister that it was the boy’s (her companion’s) fault. They expressed their sorrow, and she herself said she was sorry she had hurt the boy’s nose.
She still felt the effects of the shock.
Miss Annie Dickinson, 20, Oxford Street, said she was following her friends. They just commenced to run, she saw the cycle, and the accident occurred. She herself asked the crowd not to call defendant since as her friends had commenced to run he was perhaps not entirely to blame.
Defendant said he was apprenticed to a motor engineer. He had been changing the gear of the machine, and he wanted to test how far it would go up the hill at a slow speed. He had no intention of trying to get to the top. He did not expect to get much further than the camp entrance. He had not exceeded twelve miles an hour on the Foreshore and had reached Bland’s Cliff at about four miles. When the accident occurred she went over the handlebars. He had become stationary.
Mr J Sinfield: But you are accustomed to going fast, aren’t you?
Mr Whitfield, proceeding, said that one of the magistrates had made a statement that his client was accustomed to go at a fast speed.
Mr AJ Tugwell: Was it not a question?
The Mayor said it was a statement. It was put as a question first. He did not think the question as to what defendant had been accustomed to do would bear on the case.
Mr Whitfield: There are five magistrates sitting. One has shown himself biased.
At the conclusion the Mayor said with regard to the objection of Mr Whitfield to a remark by Mr J Sinfield the magistrates didn’t think it would make any difference to their decision. In order that there should not be any question Mr Sinfield had stood aside from adjudicating in the case. In view of the plentiful evidence defendant was found guilty of having ridden to the danger of the public. They wished in view of his youth to deal as leniently as possible, and in a way as to interfere as little as possible with what might be his life’s work and profession. His licence would not be endorsed, but he would have to pay the cost of £2 4s 6d.
Continuing, the Mayor said that with regard to Bland’s Cliff that the bench were of the opinion that seeing its dangerous nature and position in the centre of the town it should be prohibited altogether from motor bicycles.