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Llanelly Liberal Association…

Fighting Their Battles O'er…

Record Week at Swansea.



'.r- CURATE AND THE CLUF. Pontlottyn Temperance Orator Sued. At the Glainorgan Assizes on Tuesday, be- fore Mr. Justice Wilis and a special jury, the case of the Cardiff Conservative Club Co., Ltd., v. Rev. John Albert Rees, curate, r ochrhiw, Pontlottyn, for slander was heard. Mr. B. F. Williams, K.C., and Mr. Arthur Lewis (instructed by Messrs. Botsford, Phcenix and Cousins) appeared for the plain- tiff club, and Mr. S. T. Evans, K.C., M.P., and Mr. LI. Williams (instructed by Messrs. A. Hughes and Davies, Cardiff) were for de fendant. Mr. B. F. Williams said there were over 8CO members of the club, which wa.s a per- fectly bona fide one. The defendant had lately been delivering addresses' about clubs as bogus clubs. They were temperance ad- dresses, and on January 5th he delivered an address at the Baptist Schoolroom, Black- wood, when he said they had heard a great deal lately of the Devil being in the Potteries, and he proceeded: "Well, if he is there, I am perfectly certain that he is in the so- called Liberal, Constitutional, and other clubs 1 of Glamorganshire. Why, only the other day one of the prominent Conservative clubmen in Cardiff unblushingly characterised his party's club to me as being very shady, I and the resorts of the betting fraternity. Indeed to such proportions had their presence grown, and so great was the nuisance they caused during luncheon-time that he r:" in- variably deserts his club for the more con- genial and quiet surroundings of a popular St. Mary-street restaurant. I have not the slightest hesitation in asserting that if cur police raided all the Glamorganshire clubs nine out of every ten would cease to exist." If the allegations were withdrawn, plaintiffs would not ask defendant to pay costs. Mr. S. T. Evans said defendant was not aware of the existence of the club, and he made no charge against the club and never did. His Lordship said the parties were near, and asked if Mr. Evans could not go further and say tha.t such .statement-if made—was never intended for the club. Mr. Evans said it was not the club that brought the action, but the Club Co., Ltd. After a brief consultation the Cllse was pro- ceeded with. I Mr. F. Parker, secretary of the club, said in cross-examination that no bookmakers ex- pelled from the Working Men's Club were members to witness's knowledge. Some seven or eight bookmakers were members They were not constantly at the club, nor making bets there. There were two bar- maids, but there was little drinking there. Non-members could not go in to have drinks and pay for the same. Betting did not go on there. Re-examined by Mr. Williams; Every member of the club was a shareholder of the company. Occasionally there were sweep- stakes. Mr. S. T. Evans contended that a cor- poration could not be defamed unless it was a trading corporation. His Lordship reserved judgment on that point. The defendant said between 1896 and 1904 E:3 clubs in Glamorganshire had been pro- ceeded against, and there had been 45 con- victions, the fines amounting to £ 1.593. Con- sequently defendant tcok an interest in thr question. A Mr. S-ant, ecclesiastical archi- tect, told defendant Conservative Clubs were not conducted as thev should be, and many of them were very shaclv and the resort of bookmakers. Mr. Sant said his club was far from being what he should like it to De, and that whenever he went to dine there he al- ways came in contact with bookmakers, Jews and moneylenders. He (Mr. Sant) had comolained of bookmakers making up books on the club premises, and alleged that book- makers expelled, from another club had been received in open arms into his (Mr. Sant's) club. Defendant did not know what club the latter gentleman belonged to. Defen- dant objected to clubs as they had a de- moralising influence. Cross-examined: All clubs he supposed were tarred with the same brush. Mr. Sant did not say he invariably deserted his club for a St. Mary-street restaurant. Defendant said that was a stretch of lmagination. (Laughter). Mr. WiH isms Then you do stretch your imagination sometimes? U Defendant: Yes. You are e. clergyman of the Church of Eng- land—why have you put dewn what you did as a fact?—The statement may be untrue, but the pith was true. He left me with the impression he left the club. As a priest, do you doubt such a thing is wrong?—It is wrong. Did you ask what club Mr. Sant belon^ecl to ?-I didn't ask. Mr. Sant did not tell-me his club. Defendant further said he was told Mr. S-nl, was a prominent Conservative. Mr. Sant (of the firm of Veall and Sant) said defendant, speaking about clubs, said they they were the resort for drinking and betting. Witness said he belonged to the Cardiff Conservative Club, and there were a number of bookmakers there, and on one occasion he saw what he presumed to be a betting book being entered up day after day. After some time witness complained, and the annoyance ceased for some weeks. Witness told defendant he lunched there every day, and in answer to Mr. Rees, witness said they, (bookmakers) were elected about three years, when they ceased to be members of another club. Witness had never complained about the election of the men. Cross-examined Witness did not say the club was shady or the resort of the betting fraternity. Witness did not say he in- variably deserted the club at luncheon-time for a popular St. Mary-street restaurant. He never said when he went to dine he cams in Contact with bookmakers, Jews and money- lenders. He denied saying expelled book- Yi makers being received in the club with open arms. A hall porter outside stopped non- members. Thomas O'Neil, traveller, said he--a non- member—had been in the club some five times, had drinks, and was never questioned. Those times he was not introduced. He had paid for drinks by handing money to some- one else. He had seen a bet taken in the club. Cross-examined Witness said he was an insurance inspector after some hesitation. He said he did not want his position known there. Mr. Williams: Yon are not ashamed to go sneaking into other people's clubs, and I should not think it would affect you. What is your insurance inspecting- Witness Getting business. Proceeding, witness said he first went to the club four years ago, being taken by the late Charles North. Witness went there without being introduced two and a half years ago. He had told a witness for the plaintiff company outside the court that he wished to speak to him. Witness wanted to insure his life. (Laughter). Witness had seen a piece of paper and money pass in the club twice. The case had not concluded when the court rose. At the Glamorgan Assizes cn Wednesday, before Mr. Justice Wills and a special jury, the case of the Cardiff Conservative Club Co., Ltd., v. Rev. John Albert Rees, cur- ate, Fochrhiw, Pontiot-yn, for slander was resumed. Mr. B. F. Williams, K.C., and Mr. Arthur Lewis (instructed by Messrs. Botsford, Phoenix and Cousins) appeared for the plain- tiff club, and Mr. S. T. Evans, K.C., M.P., and Mr. LI. Williams (instructed by Messrs. A. Hughes and Davies, Cardiff), were for de- fendant. The alleged slander was stated by the plaintiffs to have been uttered at a temper- ance meeting at Blackwood. At the commencement of the case on Wed- nesday, Mr. J. Rosser (foreman) said the jury's summons expired on Tresday^ and on behalf of the jury he asked for an extra guinea a-piece. His Lordship said he had no power to ordei that course. John M. Roach, Cardiff, a club member said on an evening in January he saw peopk playing cards in the club and money on the table. He had ta.k,n part in a, sweepstake j at the club and took a prize. Cross-examined Three years ago witness was a candidate for the auditorship of thE club, but did not press his candidature. His Lordship asked if the players were using coins for counters, He had played cards and had had money by his side. The witness said he saw silver on the table. Henry John Davies, builder, Cardiff, said he was with a Mr. Goodman in the club on one occasion, and the latter played cards for money. Mr. Goodman stayed in the club from nine till two a.m., and told witness if he had left the club earlier he should have been E4 or £5 in pocket. Cross-examined: The incident happened about six yeai j ago. Witness had never been turned out of a public-house. Thomas Wyatt, Cardiff, commission agent, said he had acted as manager of the Grand Theatre, Cardiff, for Mr. Quigley from May to November last year. Witness had seen a\bookmaker make a bet in the club, and had seen money on the card-table. Cross-examined The money was not used for counters. Witness went to the club to transact business with Mr. Quigley. He denied being drunk at the Mumbles on Thursday. Mr. S. T. Evans .said that was the case for the defence. Rebutting evidence was then called. Thomas Williams, hall porter at the club, said either he or another was always on duty, and no non-member was ever allowed in with- out being introduced. Witness had never seen any betting. William Richards, second hall pcrter, cor- roborated. Albert Shirley, turf commission agent and bookmaker, a member of the club for 18 or 19 years, said he never had used the club for betting purposes. Cross-examined: Witness was a member of the Cardiff Working Men's Conservative Club, and ad never ceased to be a member. Mr. S. T. Evans asked what "a book" was, when the witness produced a memor- andum pad with detachable leaves, and amidst laughter tore off two leaves before handing the pad to counsel. Witness said the betting transactions be- tween Mr. Quigley, Mr. Wyatt and himself were done over witness's office telephone when they won; when they lost they didn't pay. (Laughter). Mr. S. T. Evans then addressed the jury for the defence, and said the defendant was not aware of the existence of the Cardiff Con- servative Club, Limited. In reviewing tiie evidence, Mr. Evans contended the evidence was sufficient to indi cate the evil on which defendant lec- tured Mr. Evans added that the men who had suffered and who was entitled to a verdict was Mr. Rees, and not what he termed the shadowy company, limited, which had no soul of its own but merely a creature of the law. Mr. Arthur Lewis said there could be no doubt Mr. Rees had in his mind the Car- cliff Conservative Club if they accepted Mr. Sant's evidence. There was an old say- ing, that one should verify one's quotations, but Mr. Rees had lacked doing so. The Judge said the company was not a trading company for profit, and the ques- tions were whether the words applied to the particular club; whether the alleged libel was of such a character as'to affect materially the pecuniary interests of the plaintiffs or were the words of a character to interfere with the carrying on of the club so as to make ii difficult for them to pay theii way. Hia Lordship regretted the sweeping assertions made by the defendant. It was an unfor- tunate instance of intemperance about tem- perance, which, he was sorry to say, so often prevailed, and which, to his mind, did ex- treme harm to a very good cause. He always regretted when gentlemen were so carried away by zeal in what they considered a righteous cause, that they forgot what was due to other people and what was due to themselves. The rev. gentleman had done that which he himself regretted he had done. Further, his Lordship said it was a gieat mistake for the information from I-ir. S-ntl to be used without that gentleman's leave. The jury would have to consider the qv-ts- tioii of justification. The jury retired to consider their \crdict, and after an absence of ten minutes, re- turned into court, and found that the alleged libel did not affect materially the pecuniary interests of the plaintiffs, but found it was of a character to materially interfere with the carrying on of the business of the club. They further found there was no justification and assessed damages at 40s. Judgment accordingly, with costs. His Lordship, in answer to Mr. S. T. Evans, said it was quite impossible for him to consult authorities there, and ccnse- sequently he would adjourn the arguments on the question of law to Londor. Mr. Justice Wills, at the conclusion of the case, referred to the special jury's application for increased fees. Special jurors, he said, were perpetually asking for extra remunera- tion on the smallest possible ground, and he might say judges had no power to order the same. Under ordinary circumstances it was thought jurors should not make such applications; there were such things as public duties, and common jurors, who re- vived no payment—-many of whom could less afford to lose the time—-never asked for pay- ment. It was hardly worthy of the position oi special jurors to be always asking. If one party in the action refused to pay extra fees in a case, it was very apt to leak out which was the defaulting party, and then the trial was not quite so -satisfactory if there was that kind of pecuniary feeling attached to the investigation. The present case only began on Tuesday afternoon and lasted until Wednesday (the case concluded at 1.30 p.m.) He hoped special jurcrs at that assizes would remember what he hatd, said. There was a privilege in being a special juror and an honour^ too, with some little burden. Mr. J. Rosser said he had made the appli- cation against his own feeling, and told them so His Lordship said he was glad one juror a+ least agreed with him. Mr. Rosser said, amidst laughter, that he did not agree entirely with all his Lordship had said. His Lordship: I hope you will in the future.

Hospital Fete's Future.

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Summertide at Swansea.

Gower Breach of Promise Case.

Swansea Fruiterer Fined.

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Llanelly Sentence Needs RevisionI





Theatrical Artistes' Rough…

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