Man fined for displaying profane postcards

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1914 court

At the Scarborough Police Court today, before the Mayor, in the chair, and other magistrates, Robert Groves, 21 Eastborough, was summoned for exhibiting two profane picture postcards in Eastborough.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Chief Constable said he had received numerous complaints about defendant. On the day in question he was walking down Eastborough in company with another member of the police force. He bought two postcards which he considered profane. On one of the postcards was a man kneeling down praying and on the other was a woman kneeling and praying. He considered that the postcards abused a sacred affair, and was profane.

Mr GB Parker (for defendant): If you, Mr Chief, had been walking down the street, would these postcards have annoyed you? – Well, they would have been rejected by the Censorship Committee.

Do you suppose that defendant had known that these cards have been thrown over by the Censorship Committee? – I don’t know.

Do you think that these are profane? – Yes.

You don’t mean to suggest that a card like this that may be disrespectful and irreverent, may be profane? – Yes.

Mr Parker: Don’t you suggest that the point of the card is humourous, and that the idea is someone who wants a husband or wife? – I don’t know the point of the artist.

Mr Parker: We all know that there are thousands of people in the world want to get married? – But I don’t know the point of the artist.

Mr Parker: How do you know that these are disrespectful if you were an ordinary man? – I am an ordinary man.

Mr Parker, continuing: Well if you were an ordinary tripper into Scarborough. Trippers will not buy high class cards. Would not this 
appeal to them? – Well I can’t put myself in the place of the ordinary tripper.

Mr Parker: You don’t suggest that there is anything filthy about these cards – Yes, filthy.

Mr Parker: You have seen picture postcards of children praying for all kinds of things, and with little dolls beside them? – Yes.

You would not call them profane? – Well, no.

Mr Parker: Your sole objection to these cards is that they are ugly? – It is more the ugliness than anything.

The defendant, in the witness box, said he had no knowledge that the cards had been rejected by the Censorship Committee. It was his 
desire to try to keep these cards down that had been disapproved of. He belonged to the Association.

Mr Parker: Are you prepared to destroy any cards in your shop which the Chief Constable thinks are not suitable? – Yes.

Mr Parker: Is it your desire to help the police to eliminate all cards which are reasonably held to objection? – Yes.

Defendant stated that the cards were, in his opinion, not profane.

The magistrates in fining defendant 10s 6d, including costs, expressed their desire that this would serve as a warning to others.