At Norton Police Court on Saturday, before Colonel Dent (in the chair), Sir James Legard and Alderman R Metcalfe, Superintendent Thomas Pearson, of the NER police, summoned Isaac Winter, farmer, of Cayton, for two offences against the Railway Act. Mr A Gaunt, of the NER solicitor’s department, prosecuted, and Mr AB Soulby defended.
Mr Gaunt, in outlining the charges, said that in one case the defendant was summoned for obstructing a ticket collector, and, in the second, resisting a constable in the execution of his duty. On September 6th, the defendant was found in a third-class compartment of the train from York to Scarborough, which was due to leave Malton at 5.30. Defendant was under the influence of drink, and when requested to produce his ticket he showed two tickets, one to Seamer and the other to Cayton, both of which were out of date. He also produced a return half-ticket, bearing the correct date, between Malton and Seamer, but as the train was an express to Scarborough, and did not stop at Seamer, he was asked for the excess fare to Scarborough.
In consequence of defendant’s conduct the train was delayed five minutes, with the result that other trains to Malton and Gilling were also delayed.
Evidence in support of this statement was given by BL Stephenson, a railway porter, and ticket collector, Arthur Gibson. The latter deposed that when he asked the defendant for the excess fare, a matter of 3d, he took a sovereign out of his pocket, but when witness attempted to take it he closed his hand over it. He was eventually ejected from the carriage, and he travelled to Scarborough by the 7.32 train, after paying the excess fare.
Mr Soulby: If you had the change for a sovereign you would have given it to him? – Yes.
The train was then due to start again? – Yes.
And you would have to go to the booking office or somewhere else to get the change and defendant might reasonably think that the train would leave before he got it? – Yes, he might have thought so.
PC Lemon also stated that when the defendant was asked to leave the carriage he clung to the rack, and he had to be forcibly removed. On the platform he also threatened to strike witness with his stick.
William Mook, the assistant stationmaster, also said that owing to the defendant’s conduct, three trains were held up.
Mr Soulby submitted that when the defendant was asked to pay the excess fare he produced money for that purpose. The railway company might not be obliged to give change but the man was willing to pay, and up to that time there had been no obstruction either wilful or otherwise, on the part of the defendant. He was not asked for his name and address until he had been put on the platform, and he contended that it would only have been fair, before taking such a high-handed action, that he should have been asked for that information. The fact that he was allowed by the company to travel by a later train disposed of the suggestion that he was the worse for drink. In resisting what he believed to be an unlawful act on the part of the company’s servants the defendant was not committing any criminal offence.
Defendant, in the course of his evidence, said that he was willing to pay the excess fare, but he asked the ticket collector to fetch a ticket before he handed the sovereign over. He declined to hand over the coin because he was afraid the train might start before he got his change.
By Mr Grant: He did not go to the refreshment rooms after leaving the train, and the manageress did not refuse to serve him.
The Bench convicted and imposed penalties of 15s and 6s, together with the costs, 9s 6d, in each case, a total of £2 altogether.