Defendant – ‘You’re a second Sherlock Holmes’

144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14
144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14

At the Scarborough Police Court before the Mayor, Mr CC Graham, and other magistrates, Ronald Stuart Gray, 31, Grosvenor Road, was summoned with failing to effectively shade or obscure a light at his premises at about 9.40pm on Sunday October 3rd.

Defendant, in answer to the charge, said: I protest strongly.

The man who attended to my blinds told me the shading was quite sufficient

Special Constable Peck said, noticing a brilliant illumination coming from the night in question he preceded there and found it came from an upstairs side window at the defendant’s premises. It was a powerful light and shed on the place adjoining and across the thoroughfare. It was a most improper light.

Later, he saw the defendant and learnt that his wife was using the room from which the light appeared. He admitted he had overlooked to provide curtains for that room. He would see it did not occur again.

Defendant (vehemently): This is very grossly exaggerated, and I object strongly to it. I was only fined at this court a fortnight ago, and since then I have taken every precaution to obscure my house, which is a five storied one, from top to bottom. As to admitting to the constable it was a powerful light. I said nothing whatever of the kind. I admit that the bathroom was not so properly shaded as the other rooms. It is an extra bathroom and is very rarely used. I had transparency – dark green and blue – put on. The man who attended to my blinds told me the shading of this bathroom was quite sufficient. The bathroom was in use at the time, but only for a few minutes. I was fetched out of bed by that man (meaning Special Constable Peck), and I think this sort of thing is a persecution and quite intolerable.

Defendant, at this stage, was very excited and had to be admonished by the mayor to remain quiet.

Defendant, regardless of the admonition, proceeded: I want justice. It does not matter a bit about the fine. That man dragged me out of bed and I admitted the light was a bit stronger than I thought and said I would take good care it does not occur again. I took it as merely a warning. I had no idea that anything of this sort would spring upon me. I apologised to him (meaning Peck) at the time. The shading of the bathroom is quite equal to a light blind.

The Chief Constable: These transparencies are absolutely useless.

While the magistrates were considering their decision defendant proceeded: I strongly object to this: it is a persecution. If there is any more of it I shall leave the town. Turning to Special Constable Peck he said: As for you you’re a contemptible fellow. You are a great deal too zealous. You will drive me out of the town. You’re a second Sherlock Holmes.

The mayor said the magistrates realised that defendant had taken some trouble to comply with the regulations, and that the light complained of was an oversight. At the same time they did think there had been an infringement of the law and the magistrates thought it would be met by a small fine of 2s 6d.

Defendant: Thank you very much. It isn’t a matter of 2s 6d 10s, or even £50, but you do want to get someone better than that man (Constable Peck) to go round at night. He has absolutely no sense of proportions, and seems not able to speak the truth.