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RHYL POLICE COURT.

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RHYL POLICE COURT. SATURDAY.—Before Mr W Elwy Williams, (in the chair), Mr T Morgan Owen, and Mr J H Ellis. Serious Charge Against a Licensee. Henry Charlton, licensee of the Swan Inn, Russell-road, was brought up in custody charged with being drunk on licensed premises, and with insulting P.O. Tromans in the execu- tion of his duty. Mr R Bromley appeared for the prosecution, and Mr F J Gamlin for the defence. It was decided to first deal with the charge of drunkenness. In addressing the court, Mr Bromley said that no doubt it would be contended that a licensee could not be convicted of drunkenness on his own premises, but he maintained that in a case of this sort, that as the defendant was drunk during licensed hours, it was the duty of the Bench to convict. P.C. Tromans said that he resided at No 5 Russell-road, and while sitting at home at 4-45 the previous day he heard shouting and screaming. Defendant's daughter ran out of the Swan Inn screaming, and made a statement to him. Witness went to the Swan Inn and walked through to the back part of the premises. He found the defendant and his wife at the back part of the house. The place where he found the defendant was part of the licensed premises, and was enclosed, Defen- dant was very drunk he was mad drunk, and held his wife against the door frame, and struck her several times with his fist. Mrs Charlton was shouting and screaming, and seemed to be in a helpless condition. She looked sober, but exhausted. Defendant had his wife's hair twisted round his hand. Witness tried to persuade him to go into the house, and to leave his wife alone. He did all he oould to pacify the defendant, but the man replied by telling him to mind his own busi- ness. Defendant also used bad language. Wit- swore that the defendant was drunk. In cross-examination the witness said He kitew that there are several stages of drunken- nass. It was possible for a man to be slightly drunk or to be very drunk. He said that the defendant was more than slightly drunk, he was mad drunk he was very drunk. He had had to convey some men who were helplessly drunk to the station on a barrow or ambulance, but such men were always incapable. Defen- dant was not so bad as to be taken on a bar- row, he could walk to the police station with witness's aid. I handcuffed the defendant and held hold of his arm from the Swan Inn to the police station.. He was staggering about the street, but I could understand all he said. He was cursing and using bad language, and had not lost the use of his tongue. If he had done what I told him in the first place and had gone into the house I would not have locked him up, but I would have reported him to my superiors. I should have reported him for being drunk on licensed premises. I did not apprehend him because he was drunk, but because of another charge. By the Bench I did not take him to the police station on account of his drunken state. William Evans, carter, residing at Windsor Street, said that he was delivering flour to the bakehouse at Treforris on the previous day, when he saw the defendant and the constable struggling on the floor together. Defendant looked a bit boozed, he thought. He saw the defendant taken to the police station. He could not say whether the defendant was drunk or sober he was about 10 yards away from the defendant. Cross-examined by Mr Gamlin I have never had a struggle on the floor with a policeman, bdt no doubt if I had had one I should have looked a bit boozed. -(Laughter.) I could not say that the defendant was drunk. Mr Bromley observed that he had only been instructed in the case a few minutes before the court sat, and he had not had an opportunity of speaking with the witness before coming to court. Had he taken the witness's evidence: beforehand he would not have called him. P.S. Mac Walter said he saw the defendant brought to the police station by the constable. Defendant was drunk and said to witness" I ws well boozed during the afternoon." He also said that what the constable had stated was true. By the Bench P.C. Tromans made a state- ment to the following effect in the presence of the defendant I I I was in the house shortly before five o'clock when I heard shouting in the Swan Yard. The daughter of the Swan came running in and asked me to go to the Swan, as her father was beating her mother. I went there. and saw Charlton and his wife in the yard. He had his hand twisted in her hair, and was beating her with his tist. I tried to persuade him to stop and to go into the house. Defendant replied What the--have you got to do with it, clear out from here.' I said I had to do it with it, as he was beating his wife. With that defendant up with his fist and hit me on the side of the cheek, and I then defended myself against him. We went down, and defendant kicked me on the leg and arm. I had a terrible struggle with him." Defendant said he had had a tiff with his wife when he got there, and added I have been—■—well on the booze during the afternoon. I have not worked since two o'clock. I am sorry it happened. Mr Gamlin pointed out to the witness that he had altered his evidence in a material parti- cular. In the first place he had told the court that defendant had said that he was boozed during the afternoon, but at the close of his evi- dence he said that defendant had said that he had been on the booze during the afternoon. The witness replied that he would not swear to the exact words used by the defendant. Mr Gamlin A man can get on the booze without being boozed. Witness I think that is a matter of opinion, not of evidence. The Chairman It is a matter at degree not of opinion. In cross-examination, the witness said Defendant was brought to the police station at about a few minutes to 5 o'clock, but he was not charged at the police station that time. He was told by P.C. Tromans what he was brought there for, and he made a statement in the office before he was locked up. Mr Gamlin How long would it take a man in the condition you say he was to recover '} Witness If he had had a tussle he could get over it very soon, perhaps in an hour or an hour and a half. All the steam goes off after a tussle. Mr Gamlin You know what I am driving at. Witness Yes, quite well. Mr Gamlin Well, what is it ? Witness You are trying to make out that if he had been boozed he would not get over it so soon. Mr Gamlin You know very well that I saw him about 8 30. This closed the case for the prosecution, and Mr G amlin, in addressing the Bench, said he thought that he would be able to prove cleariy that the defendant was not drunk in the yard of his licensed premises. He desired in tlit- iii-st. place to point out what a charge of that sort meant to a man in the defendant's position as the licensee of premises It was not the case of an ordinary labourer who went about the town aud ut un thc booze, as the Pulice Sergeant called it. The defendant was a man who was entrusted with a licence from year to year by the Bench. What really happened seemed to be that the defendant had had a quarrel with his wife. He need not remind their worships that women did aggravate men on some occasions. But whatever the defendant did to his wife had nothing to do with the Court that day. The constable took upon himself the very unwise course of locking the man up, and had taken him through the streets handcuffed. Mr Bromley said he hoped that Mr Gamlin would not prejudice the case. and it should be clearly stated that the constable did not take the defendant handcuffed through the street for being clruul-, but because he had assaulted him. Mr Gamlin replie that the constable wanted to justify his cond it by bringing forward a I charge of druilkeni ss on licensed premises. He considered tha', ,che constable was going too far when he sarfd that the defendant was very drunk, and that he was mad drunk. He submitted that a man could not be very drunk if he could walk to the police station and enter into conversation as detailed by P. S. M'Walter. It was strange that the only witness the police constable could call was the Police Sergeant, and that to support a case of drunkenness on licensed premises. It was P.S. Mac Walter who told the court that the defendant said that he was "on the booze." No doubt the Bench had heard a man use the expression that he had been on the booze," but it did not signify that he was drunk. The witness Evans had supported the case of the defendant, and if Mr Bromley had had the opportunity of seeing that witness before the court lie would never have been called. C ndoubtedly the defendant was excited, and that view was supported by Evans. The only evidence for the prosecution was that of the constable, who was supported by P. S. MacWalter. He contended that the latter had extracted information from the defendant after getting him into a corner in the police station. That was the place where the evidence was got at. He proposed to call the defendant, and he asked the Bench to receive it with as much care as they had the evidence of the constable, and to place as much credence on it as they did upon the officer's statement. Defendant was called, and said that he had held a licence for ten years. He had never before been charged, and he had never been drunk in his life. He Avas" employed in tha stores at Rhyl belonging to Messrs Greenall, Whitley & Co., and had held that position of trust for four years. He was working all the previous morning and went home to dinner at about 2 o'clock. He had his dinner, and after that his wife and he had a little quarrel. He was about to return to his work to unharness his horse for the night when P.C. Tromans appeared on the scene. It was not true that he was drunk, as he was as sober at the time as he was in court. He did not tell P.S. MacWalter that he was on the booze that afternoon, but he may have said that he had had some booze, because he had had some that morning. He had had several glasses of beer that day, but he was not drunk. Cross-examined He could not say how much would make him boozed, as he had never tried. He was a moderate drinker, or he would not be in the situation he held. It was impossible that the drop of beer he had had' would make him boozed. A man might be on the booze and a little jolly or in a temper, but no one very drunk or mad drunk could do what he did. He went to wcrk at 7 o'cleck that day and returned home at about a quarter to two o'clock for dinner. The last drink he had was at the Sun Inn, where he had taken a load of ale. He had not had a drop of drink since one o'clock on Friday, but he felt that he would like one then.—(Laughter.)—He did not have a drop of beer in his own house. He might have said that he had had some booze in the morning, as he had had about ohree glasses of beer and one glass of whisky. He used the word booze at the police station. The constable said that he was drunk, and he replied that hejwas not drunk. He said" I am not drunk, but I know I have had some booze." He was returning to the stables between 4 and 5 o'clock to see whether there were any more orders, and if there were none he would have unharnessed his horse. Mrs Annie Charlton, wife of the defendant, said that her husband returned home at about 2 o'clock, and they had a few words. He was not drunk, but excited, when the officer called. Cross-examined She saw P.S. MacWalter at night at 8-:W, but she did not say that her husband was in drink when he returned home. P.S. MacWalter asked her what the bother had been about, and she said they had had a few words, and her husband was in a temper. P.S MacWalter also asked her if she had sent for a policeman, but she replied that she had not done so, and that as lie was off duty he had no business to go into the house. Her husband was very cross and excited. She asked if he could leave the lock-up,but P.S. MacWalter replied that he could not, adding that it would do him good it served him right. He also said On several occasions he has spoken to me in the street when he was sober, and I should liked to have locked him up many a time. as he has not spoken nice to me. P.S. MacWalter That is not true. In further cross-examination the witness denied that she said that the defendant was drunk. She did not send for P.C. Tromans. Her husband had hold of her hair, and she shouted to him to give over. She certainly did not tell her daughter to run for the police, and did not know that she had been until after the bother. Defendant did not have a drop of beer in her house that day. It was not because of her refusing to give defendant beer that they quarrelled. The dispute arose over business matters. By Mr Gamlin P.S MacWalter has been to my house twice to-day, and once last night. He asked me if I was going to make a charge against my husband, and I said "certainly not." Mrs Hoberts, l.'j Treforris, said that the defendant was not drunk, but excited. Cross-examined I told P.S. MacWalter that I had seen the two men struggling on the floor. But I had seen defendant before that, and he was quite sober. I saw him at 2 o'clock and he was quite sober, as I always have seen him. Nellie Charlton, daughter of the defendant, said she went for the police because her father and mother were together. She had seen her father come home to dinner, and he was not drunk he was not staggering. He did not have any drink while she was in the house. Cross-examined I cannot say whether he had anything to drink after I left. I heard screams from my mother and went for the police, as I was afraid for my mother's safety. P.S. MacWalter was called to rebut the evi- dence given by Mrs Carlton. He said he saw her at about 5-O, and she then said her hus- band came home at about 2 o'clock, and she noticed that he was drunk. He had a sleep, awoke very cantankerous, and commenced to abuse her in the yard. She was afraid and frightened of him, and the girl went for a policeman. In cross-examination witness said that he had been twice to the premises that morning to warn the daughter to be present and also to see other people. Mrs Charlton followed him about. Mr Gamlin You wanted to make a good case out of it < Mr Bromley protested against such an observation. The Bench retired to consider the case, and on returning into court the Chairman said We have considered this case and there are several technicalities about it. I will not say anything further. We dismiss it without costs on either side. The defendant was then charged with as- saulting 1'. C. Tromans while in the execu- tion of his duty. Mr Bromley, in addressing the court, said that the police had the right to interfere between parties for the protection of fellow subjects. If the constable had not interfered in this case he would have been blamed for it. P.C. Tromans said he was about 30 yards away when he heard the screams and shouting for help. He could not say what were the exact words Mrs Charlton was using when he heard cries of distress. He told the defendant to let his wife alone, and to go into the house. Defendant told him to mind his own business, and squared up in a fighting attitude. Defen- dant struck him a blow on the shoulder. Mrs Charlton screamed and defendant again attemp- ted to strike her. Witness told him that if he did not stop lie would report him. After that he went out through the door, and defendant followed him, put up his fist and dealt w itiiess a blow un the side of the face. Witness told defendant that he could not stand that, and that he would have to take him to the police station. Defendant again showed fight, and they had a rough and tumble struggle, during which defendant kicked witness. He called to his wife to (five him the handcuffs, and he succeeded in securing the defendant. He did not have much difficulty in handcuffing defendant, as he gave way when he saw that it was of no use. At the police station defendant said We had a rough and tumble together, but the young one was the best." He went to the Swan Yard as a police constable. In cross-examination witness said that he went on duty on Friday at 10 o'clock, left for dinner at 12, returning at 1 o'clock, He re- mained on duty until 3 o'clock, and left to go home at that hour, having to return at 6 p.m. He was not in uniform when he went to the defendant's premises. Mrs Charlton did not tell witness to arrest her husband, and he did not arrest defendant until he assaulted witness. He did not push defendant out of the yard. Mrs Charlton did not ask him to eject defen- dant or to pull him away. He thought it was his duty to interfere. If he had not interfered with Charlton he would not have assaulted him (witness). By Mr Bromley I heard cries of distress, and I thought it my duty to help anyone in distress. The Magistrates' Clerk asked the constable to state definitely what duty he was doing when the defendant assaulted him, but the constable did not give a distinct answer, except to observe that a county constable was always on duty. While the magistrates were talking together over this point Mr Gamlin addressing P.S. MacWalter said: Now,MacWalter, stop that, you are coaching the constable. You have no right to interfere with a witness when he is in the hands of the court. It is a most improper thing to do, but it is the usnal way here. If you don't desist I shall ask the Bench to have you put out of court. P.S. MacWalter I was not coaching him. He asked me a question, and 1 was answering it. Mr Gamlin contended that the constable was not on duty at the time. The Chairman asked what was to be done in country places where there was only one constable if a person was in trouble and the policeman was not on duty. Mr Gamlin replied that it was the duty of the county authorities to provide sufficient police to allow someone being always on duty. P.S. MacWalter repeated his evidence as to the defendant making a statement when brought to the police station. Mr Gamlin contented that the defendant could not be convicted of assaulting the police in the execution of their duty. No responsible person had called the constable, and he had no right to enter the defendant's premises in the manner he had done. It was laid down that a constable was not bound to enter a house and eject a person at the request of the occupier, but if he did so he would be acting lawfully, although if assaulted he could not charge an offender with an assault on the police. It would be a common assault. Mr Bromley submitted that a policeman like P.C. Tromans was always on duty. It, would be monstrous to say that because a policeman had gone home to get something to cat or to rest that he was not a constable, and could not be called upon to assist persons in distress. The Bench said it was a peculiar point of law, and it was a question whether the officer was on duty or not. Under the circumstances they had decided to give judgment on Tuesday at the petty sessions. On Tuesday, at the opening of the Court, Mr W. Elwy Williams took the chair, and Mr T. Morgan Owen and Mr J. H. Eliis were also present. The Magistrates' Clerk (Mr Oliver George) said that it would be well to proceed at once with judgment in the case against Henry Charlton for an alleged assault on P.C. Tromans while that officer was in the execution of his duty. He had looked up the authorities, and had come to the conclusion that a person could not be convicted of a common assault when he had been charged with an assault on a police otticer in the execution of his duty. That, he believed, was admitted by all parties. Mr Bromley said he would submit that in such a case a fresh information could be laid. A case had been decided on that point. The Magistrates' Clerk said that that point having been decided, whatever was the evidence in the particular charge before the court, if it was found that the constable was not, in the execution of his duty at the time of the alleged assault the defendant could not be convicted, because it was a technical offence to assault a constable in the execution of his duty. He had referred to a case similar to the present dealt with in the "Justice of the Peace," which was usually correct, and the opinion was there given that a defendant could not be charged under the circumstances with assaulting the police in the execution of duty. In the present case it was said that Mrs Charlton was being assaulted by her husband and she screamed. It happened that a constable resided just over the way; he heard her screams, as any other neighbour might have done, and he went to her help. While helping the woman the constable was assaulted in a manner common to ordinary life. The officer was not executing anything at the time. He had no warrant, and was not interfering for the purpose of arresting a person. He was not serving a sum- mons nor was he on the premises for the purpose of obtaining evidence of a felony or other serious crime. He was there the same as anyone else might have been to help the woman. It would not, under the circumstances, be safe to convict the defendant. Mr Bromley rose to further argue the case, but Mr H Percival Williams said he understood from his partner (Mr Gamlin), who had defended in the case, that the arguments were closed on Saturday. The Magistrates' Clerk replied that that was so. The Chairman said that he did not think that any further argument would alter the minds of the magistrates. Their minds were made up on the point of law, no matter what they might think otherwise. They had decided that an assault had been committed that was admit- ted, but the question before them was a point of law, and they were advised that the constable had no proper locus standi in the case on that charge, and that he was not in the execution of his duty. Mr Bromley I can point out a case which is totally different to the case quoted by the clerk. The Magistrates' Clerk If there is anything wrong in the case,your right course is to appeal. After judgment is delivered in the High Court it is not usual to argue upon it. We might be here for hours over every case if we argue the decision. The Chairman It has been hinted to you that you can proceed in another wy. Mr Bromley said he desired to ask their worships to state the technical point- upon which they had decided the other charge of being druuk on licensed premises. He was entitled to ask for that. A The Magistrates' Clerk Nq). Mr Bromley added that tho Bench had dis- missed the case on a technical point. He had to point out that the defence did not raise a technicality, and if the Magistrates' "Clerk had noticed a technical point it was his duty have called attention to it, in order that the prosecution could deal with any paint raised. The magistrates had retired to co nsider the case, and on returning to Court they said that owing to a technical point, which was never raised by the defence, they gave the defendant the benefit of the doubt. He asketfc that their worships would let him know wlsat was the technical point upon which the case w as decided, so that it could be put down on the minutes. The Magistrates' Clerk had sug gested an appeal, but lie (Mr Bromley) wantef 1 to have things in proper form. The Chairman You are not going to appeal on that case it is settled? Mr Bromley I am entitled to k-,uow frow you decided it. The Magistrates' Clerk: I say most em- ) phatically that everything done on Saturday j was done in a most regular manner.—Mr George further explained that on the Bench retiring to consider the case they had recognised that two respectable persons on one side swore one way, and three equally respectable persons swore another thing. The Bench could not say which side was in the right, and they did the just thing, viz., to give the defendant the benefit z;1 of the doubt. Mr Bromley I say that your decision was I given owing to a technical point. The Chairman I did not say that we dis- missed it owing to a technical point. I said it was owing to little technicalities. Mr Bromley I want to know what it was. I suggest that it was a point of law. The Chairman said that the Bench were not always bound to believe three witnesses on one side as against two on the other. Mr Bromley said he Avas bound to apply to the Court to ascertain the technical point upon which the case had been decided. The Magistrates' Clerk There was no technical point. The Chairman We are advised by our clerk on points of law. Of course an assault has been admitted. The assault was committed, but he was not on duty as a constable. Mr Bromley I say that a clearer case was never before any court. The case cited by Mr George was an entirely different one to this. That was the case of an occupier ejecting a person. The Chairman We rely on our Clerk for our law. Mr Bromley I sympathise with you, as you are bound by that. You are liable to a certain amount of risk. The Chairman We have decided to dismiss the case. It is a lucky thing for the defendant. Mr Bromley I see that you are bound by your Clerk's ruling. The Chairman On a point of law. Mr Bromley Which I submit is utterly wrong. The Magistrates' Clerk That is not the way professional gentlemen should address the court after a decision has been given. If the decision is wrong, appeal against it. That is the way professional gentlemen should do.

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