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..--,-.-....... AT EIN DARLLEN…







ALLEGED LIBEL AT DOWLAIS. EVAN GEORGE V. RICHARD WILLIAMS. An interesting case of alleged libel was brought before Mr. W. M. North and Mr. C. H. James at the Merthyr Police-court on Monday, when Mr. Evan George, insurance agent, residing at 10, Graig-terrace, eharged his brother-in-law, Richard Williams, a blacksmith of Penydarren, with an alleged libel. Mr. D. W. Jones, solicitor, Merthyr and Dowlais, prose- cuted, and Mr. Beddoe defended. Mr. D. W. Jones, in opening the case, said that he thought that that was the first case of libel ever taken in that court, Defendant was charged with having published a defamatory libel on 6tn January last. The prosecutor had resided at Dowlais about 35 years. For some time past he had been an insurance agent under the London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow Insurance Com- pany. Defendant was a blacksmith residing at Penydarren. Prosecutor was married to defendant's sister, so that it was more or less a family matter. It appeared that defendant's mother, Mrs. Williams, formerly carried on business as a greengrocer in Union-street, Dowlais. She was a lady of consider- able age, and last June decided to sell up her business on that account. The business was sold in June, and she went to resida with the prosecutor, Mr. George. She divided the greater portion of her furniture among her three sons, of whom defendant was one. Whether or not defendant was under the impression that he had not received a fair share he (Mr. Jones) did not know, but ever since he had uttered the most defamatory and libellous slanders concerning Mr. George. Prosecutor had received something like 20 postcards and letters on which were written most scandalous accusations. A great number of them had been destroyed, but ultimately about the end of December, or the beginning of January, Mr. George decided to take proceedings. On the 29th December a writ was served upon defendant. Since defendant was served with that writ Mr. George received a postcard, and that was the postcard upon which the proceedings were taken. It read as follows :— 132, High-street, Penydarren. Evan George Your form from Mr. D. W. Jones that you may take an action for libel and slander against me at the London Court. I will be very glad as I want to prove you to be a devil garbed in angel's dress, it is for your sister's sake I have kept my toung so long quiet as she is now a widow, but I will prove what I said that the sofa was made in the library. I have plenty of witnesses to prove what I say, and you shall prove about the bastards can you get a lone of more money. You can't on the house because J. Vaughan as given you all that you can get and no one else will trust you. RICHABD. It was difficult to find a better way of publishing a libel than by means of a post card. What he (Mr. Jones) had to prove was, first of all, that the matter contained in the wst card was, on the face of it, libellous. Sc-condfy, to bring the publication home to defendant so far as to justify him being put upon his trial. Mr. Jones having quoted Stephens' definition of libel, went on to say that the postcard contained a. suggestion that thesofawasnot obtained inaproperway The phrase, a devil garbed in angels dress," tended to make the prosecutor look ridiculous, and to hold him up to public contempt. It had been held that a postcard was not privileged, because it might be in- spected by any servant of the P.O. He (Mr. Jones) was going to prove that the defendant was respon- sible for the postcard, and if he proved that and satis- fied their worships on that point, then it would lie their worships' duty to send the ca«e for trial. Mr. Jones then called Evan George, the prosecutor, who said he lived at 10, Graig-terrace, Dowlais. Defendant was his brother in-law. Witness was a deacon of Ileruion Chapel, and defendant was also a member there. In June last his mother-in-law, Mrs. Williams, gave up (business on account of her age. Mr. Beddoe submitted that this was irrelevant. He was there to answer a specific charge of a certain postcard. Mr. Jones said he was leading up to it, and promised to do it as shortly as ho could. Witness then pro- ceeded. Mis. Williams divided her furniture between her three sons, of whom the defendant was one. After that she lived with witness for some time, coming there on the 14th of June. He received froin time to time several postcards from defendant. Mr. Beddoe ayked his friend to proceed in a more regular manner. Mr. Jones replied that it had been decided that pievious libels might be introduced, but not subsequent ones. Witness, continuing, said that at the end of December he issued a writ for libel and slander, and it was served on Saturday, 29th December. On Sun- day, after the writ was served, he was in chapel. Mr. Joins; Did you see the writ in chapel ?—Mr. Beddoe: You are not going to bring the chapel into disgrace, I hope.—Mr. Jones: I am going to show you how contemptuously the defendant acted. Witness proceeding, said the writ was produced by defendant, and passed to George Davies, the leader of the singing. On the 6th of January he received a post- card signed by defendant. The postcard was addressed —"132, High-street, Penydarren," which was defen- dant's residence. He could swear to the signature. The words written on the top, no one will trust you, &c. were in defendant's writing. The words, the sofa was made in the library," were meant to convey that the sofa was made out of the Dowlais Iron Company's timber. Mr. Beddoe He cannot prove that.—Mr. Jones Who can then?—Mr. North It is an inuendo. Witness proceeding, said that the library alluded to, really meant the Dowlais Library, and it was intended to make allusion to two sofa" that were made there 24 years ago. He had never borrowed money from Mr. Vaughan. There was a reference in the postcard aliout a bastard, but he did not know what that meant. The postcard was delivered at the house by John Powell, a. letter carrier in Dowlais. He remembered receiving another postcard on the 16th December. This was addressed to him at "Thimble Cottage," and ran as folloin-s Hermon Chapel, Dowlais. Mr. George and Boys,—We held on Tnutsdav a committee have decided we will join to perform Alba baba and the forty thieves, instead of cantata, Joseph as you are capable of acting thieves so well as a family. I have known you for the last 10 or 12 years, and you have done well. First the chief, he escaped by other, and coming to the rescue the 2nd he ran away the chief found him and restored him to his parents, lastly the deacon and mistress a chalon dyner Tom stole all complete and all from Union-street. AN ISBAKLITE. He could not swear to the hand-writing. On the 15th of December he received another, the writing in which he believed was in the hand of the defendant's son. Mr. Beddoe objected to this postcard beinjj handed in.—Mr, Jones: If I can prove agency, I suggest that these cards must go in. The defendant is an illiterate man, and there is the presumption that the defendant got somebody else to write the first cards for him. The son is only a youth of 16 or 17 years, and I can prove that this very son has been writing letters previous to this, which shows that he was act- ing as agent to the father then. And you can draw an inference from that that he was still as agent for his father.—The Stipendiary stated that he could nut take it until Mr. Jones had proved the agency. Mr. Jones said that could only be done by surrounding circumstances, and he would put in some other letters which were written by the son acting as agent for the father. -The Stipendiary held that this would not prove that the t-on had acted as the father's agent when ho wrote these postcard?, if ho had written them.—Mr. Jones Theu it comes to this, that anybody can employ another man to write a libel. Here are a great number of postcards, men- tioning, in most of them, similar matters most of them are pasted in Dowlais, and some of them are in the same handwriting. It has been held that, if a man publishes a libel written by somebody else lie is liable. For instance, a printer, or even a machinist, can be prosecuted and found equally guilty in law with the man who wrote the libel.—The Stipcndiary ruled that the third post-card could not be put in as evidence. In reply to further questions witness said that so far he had abandoned the civil proceedings except that for slander, as he did not want to send defen- dant to prmou.—Crosb examined by Mr. Beddoe, witness said he had nut taken anything from defen- dant's house. His mother had come to live with the complainant, and had brought some furniture with her. Defcudiint theu came to witness7 house, «\nd threatened to blow the house up. Whatever differences had taken place had occurred in conse- quence of the furniture. He had signed hie name and written a letter. He swore that the defendant oould write Richard." He would swear that the words can get, and no one else will trust you" on the postcard were the only words in the defendant's handwriting. Witness further said that Mr. John Vaughan had prepared the assignment of his house. He did not borrow money from Mr. Vaughan. John Powell, was the next witness called, and said he was a letter carrier. He delivered letters in the neighbourhood of Graig-terrace, Dowlais, and remem- bered delivering the postcards. His attention was called to the words Thimble Cottage." The postcards were posted at Dowlais, and could be seen by any official in the post-office. Richard Williams said he lived at Penydarren, and was the son of the defendant. He had not often been accustomed to write letters on behalf of the defen- dant. He had not written the letter (produced), and could not say who did. On one letter were the words Written by your illustrious nephew, for his father, your brother Richard." He had written letters for his father, but not in connection with the dispute. Witness denied having written one of a number of letters and postcards produced by Mr. J ones. He had not written for his father to Mr. George. Mr. Beddoe, addressing the Bench for the defence, contended that no case had been made out. In a criminal case like that there must be positive proof that the postcards had been written by the defendant, or someone acting under his authority. Even if this could be proved the postcard only said that com- plainant bad borrowed money from Mr. John Vaughan. There was no discredit or disgrace, be submitted, in that. But there was no evidence that any part of the postcard was in the handwriting of defendant, except some words at the top of one of them. It might be possible that some member of the family had written it, but before their wor- shim could send the man for trial they must' find that the defendant had been a party to it. It had also been held that it was for the justices to determine whether the postcards contained any libel at all. He submitted that there was nothing libellous in those postcards, for the complainant had not been exposed to ridicule, disgrace, or contempt. He asked them to carefully consider whether the complainant had suffered, and if so, whether the publication had been so far brought home to the defendant that he should be put upon his trial. It was simply a family f-quabble, and an action for slander amongst a family had been held by Lord Chief Justice Coleridge to be no libel. There was no necessity to issue criminal proceedings, and the defendant had treated the service of the writ with utter contempt, and he (Mr. Beddoe) believed it would be most injudioious to send this man to stand his trial before a jury. The Bench decided that the defendant should be committed to stand his trial at the next Assizes, but he was admitted to a bail of j625, upon his own recog- nisances.