1915 Police Court
Today at the Borough Police Court, before the Mayor (Mr CC Graham) Alderman JW Rowntree, Mr AJ Tugwell, Mr George Rowntree, and Mr J Sinfield, a case against a licence holder with respect to the new regulations was dealt with.
Eliza Jane Hansom, of the Sun Inn, Dean Road, was summoned that being the holder of the licence of the Sun Inn she failed to comply with an order of January 8th, 1915, made by the competent military authority under the Defence of the Realm Regulations, 1915, by failing to close her premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor at 9pm on March 1st.
Mr C Royle appeared for the defendant, who pleaded guilty to a technical offence.
The Chief Constable said the order was made by Col. Essen, the competent military authority. At 9.10pm on March 1st, PC Taylor saw a man enter the Sun Inn and followed him. He found the man had been served with a bottle of beer.
PC Taylor said he noticed a man hurrying across Dean Road, from the Workhouse side, and go into the Sun Inn. He followed and met the man coming out of the inn with a bottle of beer.
He drew Mrs Hansom’s attention to the fact that it was 9.07pm by his watch, and she said: “There is nothing wrong, is there?” He replied that he would have to report the matter. By comparison with the Chief Constable’s watch. Inspector Carter’s watch and the police station clock, he later found that his watch was three minutes slow.
By Mr Royle: The landlady said if she had seen the time she would have taken the bottle of beer from the man. His watch was three minutes slow, but those with which he compared it were all correct. He did not see the clock in the bar at the time when he saw the man come out.
John William Wood stated he was returning home with a lady on the evening in question. He slipped across the road to the Sun Inn and paid 4½d for a bottle of beer. This occupied about half a minute. He was stopped by PC Taylor in the doorway.
Inspector Carter said the first time he saw PC Taylor after 9pm on March 1st was at 9.20pm at the Police Office. He went with Taylor to the Sun Inn, where the clock read 9.30pm, Taylor’s watch being then at 9.27pm.
By Mr Royle: Mrs Hansom said she had never looked at the clock. She had always tried to carry out the law as far as she knew.
George Fred Vasey, Sergeant-Major, proved the order.
Harry Hill, 25, James Street, barman, said he served the man with beer. As he went out PC Taylor stopped him, calling out some remark as he did so. It was then four minutes past nine, and witness was just going to turn out the lights.
Defendant, in the box, said she had held the licence for four years, previous to which her husband had held it for five years. She said she had called “Time” but her barman was rather deaf and did not hear.
She was in the bar at the time. The man must have slipped in and out before she could turn round. She went and asked PC Taylor if there was anything wrong, but he simply said, “I shall report this Mrs Hansom.”
By the Chief Constable: When Inspector Carter came he explained what had happened and compared the time of Taylor’s watch and her clock. Taylor said his watch was correct.
Mr Royle said there was diversity of opinion as to the time. No one but the barman saw the bar clock at the time of the incident. He submitted that it was a technical offence.
The Mayor, after the magistrates had retired, and returned, said that he found the defendant guilty. Although it might be considered that the cause was carelessness it was carelessness in a very important matter.
It was absolutely necessary that licensees should realise the responsibility of carrying out those orders with the utmost punctuality and exactness.
The magistrates would deal as leniently as they could. The penalty for this case would be a fine of £1 1s including costs.
The magistrates hoped this case would be a warning to others in the town to see that the orders carried out implicitly,” concluded his Worship.