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Charge against a. Llandudno…

Alleged Offences at a Talacre…


Alleged Offences at a Talacre Quarry. Cases Dismissed on Questions of Fact. AT the Prestatyn Police Court, on Tuesday, before Captain Keatinge (in the chair), Messrs A. L. Clews, R. C. Enyon, A. Foulkes, and W. H. Coward, Messrs J. D. and W. Bulcock, proprietors of the Talacre Hall Quarry, near Mostyn, and W. Wil- liams, agent of the said quarry, were summoned at the instance of Mr Rowland Jones, an inspector under the Metalliferous Mines' Act, for not ex- amining periodically the: external and internal parts of the machinery, and entering the result of the examination in the report book, on the nth December, 1899, and other dates. Mr T. Cartwright (Chester) prosecuted, and Mr F. J. Gamlin (Gamlin and Williams) defended. Mr Cartwright said he appeared on behalf of the inspector of mines to prosecute the defendants who were summoned for neglecting to comply with certain rules that had been passed by the legislature to ensure the safe working of quarries and such places where machinery were engaged. The rules of the Act referred to stipulated that the boilers of all machinery should be examined externally and internally at certain periods within the year, and the result of such examinations were to be entered in the book by the person making the examinations. Accordingly the inspector visited the quarry in December, and called for the book in which the examinations should appear. He then found that no record had been kept for several days, which showed obviously that the rule had been dis- regarded. Mr Owen R. Jones, inspector of mines, residing at Chester, said the Talacre Hall Quarry was in his district. He produced the special rules which were provided for the working of the quarry. The last day he visited the quarry was the nth Dec., 1899. He saw Mr Williams, the agent, one of the defendants. Witness examined the report books and found no daily report had been made since Dec. 7th, and no quarterly report was made at all during the year. The annual report was made in May, 1899. The non-appearance of the reports was a contravention of rule 20, which enacted that such entries should be made by a competent engineer. Rule 22 enacted that a daily report should be made by a competent person. These reports had not been made, as he had stated, since the 7th of December. Cross-examined The defendant, Williams, pro- duced the report book at witness's request. Neither of the other defendants were present. When he called, Williams told him that on the 24th of November the boiler had been examined daiiy, but he had omitted to enter it in the book. He had no reason to doubt the statement, but still the report was not made, and one could hardly say. He examined the machinery and could not find any external defects. They were at work when he called and he could not make a very minute examination of a working crane. He complained that "there was no means of his finding out that an examination of the machinery had been made. On the 3rd of April, 1899, the report showed that a competent examination of the internal parts of the machinery had been made. His only complaint was that if defendants made the examination the result was not entered. He could not say whether any accident had ever occurred at the quarry. Mr W. Bulcock: We have never had an accident in the quarry. Re-examined He was obliged to report the case because the defendants had neglected to enter the reports before. Mr Gamlin said the prosecution was certainly a matter of duty, but he thought it was a frivolous case. The offences were two-fold, viz., that they did not examine and clean out the internal parts of the machinery, and that they did not report the results. The most important part of the case was the alleged non-examination, but no proof had been lodged before the court that such examination had not been made. He (Mr Gamlin) would prove that EXAMINATIONS WERE MADE PERIODICALLY. The fact that they did not enter the reports in the book did not contribute an offence in itself. It must be coupled with the non-examination of the machinery, and that they could not prove. There- fore the case fell to ilic ground. Mr W. Williams, one of the defendants, said he had been agent to the quarry for ten years. He resided at Cheshire View, Gvvespyr. Mr Bullock had been interested in the quarries for over eleven years. He personally was most careful in his examination Of the internal portion of the steam boilers whenever they cleaned them out, which was about iive times a year. By Mr Coward They had no special dates to examine them. It was generally during the holidays. y Bv Mr Gamlin The annual inspection was made by John Jones, from the Point of Ayr Colliery. Witness's duty every evening was to see that the machinery was in good working order, a duty he had to do before the Act came into force. He did it for the safety of the men. Unfortunately he had omitted to file his report on the book. He would swear that he examined the machinery on the dates he had omitted to report the results. When the inspector called, he explained why he had omitted to insert the report. Re-examined: He had never found the machinery to go any better because it was reported on the â¢; book. (Laughter). Personally he did not think- there was much in the fact of entering the reports in the book. He had always looked at the machinery before the Act came into force. He admitted he had forgotten to enter the reports. JOHN JONES WAS A COMPETENT MAN, although he was only a fitter. He was head man at Point of Ayr Colliery. Harry Edwards said he was engineer at the defendant's quarry. He examined the internal parts of the machinery five times last year. The dates of such examination were January rst, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, August Bank Holiday, and December 2ist. I Witness remembered the inspector visiting the quarry on the nth of Dec. On that day he ex- amined the machinery and found everything in good working order. Cross-examined He tested the boilers by going inside and tapping the plates. He had never tested it by hydraulic power. Mr Wm. Bulcock, one of the defendants, said he gave all the men instructions to clean all the boilers quarterly and oftener if necessary. Boilers were never tested by hydraulic pressure unless it was at an annual inspection. They could not expect an ordinary working man to do that. They had a qualified engineer from the Point of Ayr Colliery to make an efficient examination of their boilers once a year. It took the men about twenty minutes each morning to examine the boilers. Mr Cartwright said the fact of the entries being made was the only guidance for the inspector to know such examinations had been 'made. It was true that the offence was technical, but they asked for a literal interpretation of the rules which must be kept. The bench then retired, and on their return the chairman said the cases were dismissed on technical grounds. Mr Cartwright said he would have to ask for a case. The Clerk said the case was closed. Mr Cartwright said he must press for a case, as the matter was an important one, and could not be allowed to stand there. It was a question of law, and therefore the bench ought to state a case. The Clerk said the bench considered the prosecu- tion had not brought forward evidence to show7 that the defendants did not examine their boilers. It was a question of fact and not of law, and therefore the advocate was not entitled to a case. Mr Cartwright said it was certainly a case for a higher court to deal with.

LlandriHo and Eirias United…