Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page






[No title]


On Tuesday morning of last week I arrived punctually at ten o'clock at the Old Bailey, now the Central Crimi- nal Court, in obedience to a subpoena worded in the following quaint man- ner :— George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, to F. B. Mason, and to every of them Greeting. We command you and every of you, that laying aside all excuses and pretences whatsoever, you and every of you personally be and appear before our Justices of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery, to be holden for the Jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, at the Cen- tral Criminal Court in the Old Bailey, in the suburbs of our City of London, on Tuesday, the Sixth day of September, 1910, at the hour of ten in the forenoon of the same day, there to testify the truth and give evidence before the Grand Jury, on Our behalf against William Mollindinia Paterson upon an indictment for felony and also upon the trial of the said William Mollindinia Paterson for the said offence and so from day to day during the said Sessions, until the above case is tried. And this you or any of you are not to omit, under the Penalty of One Hundred Pounds to be Levied 011 the Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements, of you and such of you as shall fail herein. Witness, The Right Honourable Sir John Knill, Baronet, Lord Mayor of the City of Lon- don, at the Central Criminal Court afore- said the First day of September, in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ten. Noticing a queue of people at one door on the corner of Newgate Street, I enquired Are you witnesses waiting for admission?" only to hear, "No, we're the public." Close by was another door with a 7burly policeman standing at it; to whom I put the query, Is this an entrance for wit- nesses?" "Large door on your left" he replied with official brevity. Upon entering between glass doors I found a massive and jolly looking sergeant, faced by an even taller and keen looking constable. So with the remark I'm a witness in the Paterson case," I passed in to an enormous hall without a word more being said on either side. Hundreds of men and women, some of the latter with children in arms, were standing about, the seats available being very few in number. Seeing an inspector in uniform, I re- ported that I was a witness in the Paterson case, and where should I go ? This official replied that he did not know anybody connected with the case, but thought I had better wait about. After a few minutes I enquired of a constable at the foot of the grand staircase whether he could tell me where to find someone connected with the case, and producing the subpoena given above, called his attention to the fact that it contained no instructions as to where or to whom I was to report myself. This officer seemed just as vague as to the happenings in the enormous building as the inspector, but a brilliant idea seemed to strike him, for he suddenly said Go up to that officer half-way up the staircase, and ask him to give you the list for to-day." Thanking him, I ascended the stairs and said to the constable in- dicated, Will you give me the list of cases that are going on to-day ? I am a witness in one of them." To this I got a surly No, sir," and when I, in an equally grumpy tone rejoined "Why not?" I got the answer "Can't give you what I haven't got." I then pointed out that a brother officer of his had sent me all the way up that stair- case to ask him for one. Well," he said, I haven't got one, but you can go up and ask at the office if you like." **$ My next attempt to get in touch with someone connected with the case was fortunately made to the jolly looking sergeant in charge at the large entrance doors. I am sorry to trouble you, sergeant, but I have been here for half-an-hour, and can find no one to tell me what I am to do. I am a wit- ness in the Paterson case." Just wait here a minute," said the sergeant, and I will see if I can find some- one." Splendid idea I exclaimed, I'll help the constable to keep the door whilst you get information for me." So for quite five minutes I helped keep the door, looking as stern as it is possible for me to do, whilst the constable opposite stopped all strangers by placing his hand in front of them, and saying Yes ?" in an enquiring tone if the person was quite ordinary looking but if a little better dressed or of distinguished appearance the hand was raised a little more deferentially, and the query became "Yes, sir?" Those who claimed to be witnesses, or had other business, were promptly ad- mitted, but quite one-third who tried to get admission were members of the public, and, upon being refused, they were advised to go to the second door on the right, where, as I have stated, a queue of people waited patiently for hours only to find that very few of them would find room. The sergeant presently returned with a gentleman who like myself was a witness in the case. He had been be- fore the magistrate at the Mansion House at the preliminary inquiry, so knew the officers and solicitors who had charge of the business. In his company I found the grand jury room, waited about in the witness room, and amused myself by asking nearly every i constable I met, and there were dozens 7 of them, where I could find the smoking-room, reading-room, and re- freshment room, none of which, of course, existed. The behaviour of the different constables on my exclaiming AvIlat, no smoking-room for wit- nesses or No refreshment room was quite interesting. These men on their collars were lettered from B to X," having come from most of the divisions in connection with some case to be heard. I complained to one in- spector that I had beeu unable to find a man of the" A" Division, although the whole of the rest of the alphabet was present. "Y ou are right, my friend," he replied, "We don't get "A" Division here; they're in the West End, at the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall way." # At last in the witness room we dis- covered a list of cases being placed before the Grand Jury displayed about half-past eleven, but as our case was not amongst them we went out into the street for a smoke. Upon return- ing we found that additions had been made to the list, including our case, and after waiting in the witness room for about another hour—and a very gloomy and depressing place it is-I enquired from a constable outside the Grand Jury room door about what time he thought case No. 26, Paterson, would be heard, when he laconically replied Case over, sir, true bill found." < "Jehoshaphat!" The case was over, and we had not even been called for! We at once skirmished round, and discovered Inspector Collinson, almost too busy to talk to us, still we managed to learn that only one witness from the country and the manager of the bank defrauded had been required by the Grand Jury, but that we must await instructions until the defendant had been up before the Judge to plead. # # Lunch at a "pub" opposite, much frequented by the police, followed, and at the table I heard a rather good "hit" scored by one officer against another who was addressed as Ted." Having been severely roasted "Öynis companions he declared he would have nothing more to do with them, and taking out his glasses and a newspaper commenced to study a case. In the lull of the chaff that followed one friend remarked to the other I say, Bill, rogues always run in blinkers, don't they?" This was too much for Ted, who removed his glasses, pocketed his newspaper, and left the room in great ill-humour. *i** At three o'clock on Tuesday after- noon, by special permission of Inspector Collinson, I departed with orders to turn up again at ten o'clock on Wed- nesday morning. I carried out my instructions, and ascended to the first floor, on which are situated four Courts where cases are tried. A list of cases to go before each Court was prominent- ly displayed, but as ours did not appear we did not know what to do. Two of us went to the enquiry office, only to be told that no information as to when the case would come on could be given us, but it certainly would not be held that day. So we departed once more with instructions to return again at ten o'clock on Thursday morning. Being a few minutes late on Thurs- day, I met three witnesses just coming out of the Court, as they had discovered that the case was again absent from the list, and they were going to the solicitors' offices in the Old Jewry to obtain instructions. I accompanied them, only to be told that we must return to the Court and wait for about an hour, whilst Mr Bodkin, K.C., who was for the prosecution, could be inter- viewed. We went on to the City Detective Offices in Old Jewry, in the hope of finding Inspector Collinson, but here again we were advised to go back to the Court, and at noon were in- fprmed that we might return to our respective homes as the case would not be heard that week and that when our services were required again we would be sent for. I arrived home on Friday, five days having been occupied in connection with the Paterson case at great personal inconvenience, and with- out the least benefit to anyone con- cerned. Since my return home I have received a notice that the trial has been posponed at the request of the defence until the next Sessions, which will take place about October lltli. It is a good long time since I appealed to charitable readers of these notes for donations towards helping an un- fortunate neighbour. I particularly wish to collect about 95 for a widow and mother of a young family of six, who, in her endeavour to maintain her children, has so overtaxed her strength that a month's rest is absolutely neces- sary. I am anxious to avoid giving the name and address, because, like so many of the deserving poor, the widow I refer to wishes to work for herself and children. I will personally guarantee the case to be a most urgent one, and if required will supply any kind donor with the information necessary for them to verify the facts stated and I would also gratefully acknowledge in this column any amounts sent to me. F. B. M. THE TATLER."







[No title]