Domestic troubles aired in court

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1913 Police Court

The domestic troubles of a young Scarborough couple were told to Mr J Farquhar (in the chair) and Mr TH Good, at the Scarborough Police Court.

Defendant was Harold Robinson, 43, Hampton Road, and he was summoned in regard to an application for a maintenance order to be varied.

He also appeared for having disobeyed a maintenance order to the amount of £13 3s 6d, a warrant having been issued in regard to this matter.

Defendant, it appeared, was a cattle drover, in the employment of his father, and 2½ years ago, according to Mr J Whitfield, the solicitor for the wife, an order of 10s a week was made for the maintenance of her and her two children. Defendant had paid regularly, for a few months, and had then taken it upon himself to reduce the payments to 7s 6d, a week. That had gone on, with perhaps one exception, for two years. The result had been that the wife had been sorely put to it to keep herself and the children. She had lately to give up her small home and had gone to live with her parents. She had also, from time to time, had to obtain charity from her friends in order to keep her children in food, and more than that, the defendant had ill-treated his wife. Under those circumstances it was thought better to ask the bench to order defendant to pay the money into court, rather than defendant should go to his wife.

Mr C Royle (for defendant) consented to the money being paid into the court.

In regard to the second case, Mr Whitfield said one of the children, a boy, was under the care of a doctor, Mrs Robinson had to buy him special food. It was impossible for her to do justice for the child at the allowance defendant had been making. Defendant was a robust young man, and should do his duty to the children. There was no reason at all for her having to go to her father and ask him to keep her and her family. He asked the Bench to make such an order as would ensure the money being paid. Defendant’s father besides being a cattle drover kept pigs and so forth.

Mr Royle asked that the hearing of an application to have the amount of the order varied, and he wished to call defendant’s father, who was that day at Seamer Market.

The magistrates decided to hear the case of the arrears that day.

The wife gave evidence.

In reply to Mr Royle witness said she did not agree to accept 7s 6d a week. She had not taken action before, but she had told him she would.

Mr Royle: Why have you accepted it? – Because when I have asked him, he has said I could go to my parents for the money, he was not going to do any more.

You had some trouble with him a little time ago? – Yes.

I suggest that is the cause of you being here today? – No, it is not.

He does what he can to comply with the order? – He does not – he can go about enjoying himself, and if he can do that he can keep his children.

How much do you earn? – I average 10s a week in the winter and 12s in the summer.

Mr Whitfield: And you had to pay 1s 6d a week to some one to take care of the children.

Witness: Yes, before I went home.

Replying to further questions by Mr Whitfield, witness said that the little boy was very delicate, the doctor was afraid of consumption, and special food had to be secured.

Defendant, in the box, said he and his brother worked for his father, who could dismiss them if he wished. The sum of 7s 6s a week was as much as he could afford to pay. He alleged that his wife agreed to take 7s 6d. The earnings from cattle droving varied. They received a shilling a head for beasts, and three half pence per head for sheep. After paying his board and lodgings he had sometimes 5s left, sometimes 8s, sometimes 10s.

Defendant offered to pay 2s 6d, a week off the arrears, but the magistrates asked for a sum down, and finally the Bench said they would issue a commitment warrant against defendant, but it would be suspended on condition that defendant paid £5 within a week, another £5 within two months from now, and the remainder within two months after that.