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------------------, MRS. (TRUNDTS…






CLUB PROSECUTION AT BARRY DOCKS. SERIOUS IRREGULARITIES ALLEGED BY THE POLICE. LONG HEARING AT THE POLICE COURT TO-DAY (THURSDAY.) There was a special sitting of the Barry Police Court to-day, to hear evidence upon a summons issued by the police to show cause why the Unionist workingmen's Club and Institute, situate in Holton-road, Barry Docks, should not be struck off the register of clubs on the ground of alleged irregularities. The ease was the outcome of a raid made by the police on the premises of the club some time ago, and a large amount of interest was evinced in the hearing of th-e evidence by a full court during the day. Mr George David, solicitor, Cardiff, conducted the prosecution on behalf of the police and Mr B. Francis Williams, K.C., instructhd by Mr F. P. Jones-Lloyd, solicitor. Barry, defended. The justices who occupied the Bench were Mr T. R. Thompson and Mr J. C. Meggitt. In opening the case, Mr George David said the proceedings were taken under section 28 of the Licensing Act, 1902, the terms of complaint in the summons against the Club, and its secretary (James Johnson, 12, Regent-street, Barry Docks), being as follows:— (1) That the club was not conducted in good faith as a club (2) That there was frequent drunken- ness on the premises; (3) that illegal sales- of- intoxicating liquor have taken place on the premises and (4) that the supply of intoxicating, liquor to the club was not under the- control of the committee appointed by the mem- bers^ The Club, Mr David stated, was formed on the 23rd of October, 1896, when rules were formed,- new and revised rules being adopted ili 1900 and 1902. The first minutes of the club contained an incorrect and misleading entry, that the first meeting of the promoters of the Club was held at 22, Holton-road, whereas such meeting was held in the house of a man named Stroud, in Thompion- street. Stroud was the first steward of the Club, and all the people who attended the initial meet- ings were people who would, in different ways; benefit by the formation Of the Club. On Snnday, the 6th of March of the present year, the police p paid a surprise visit to the club premises, and during nearly two honrs the police remained there, no less than 137 persons entered the premises, which were comparatively small, containing* absolutely no facilities except for drinking purposes. There was a piano on the premises, but this was used at smoking concerts which were from time to time held, and these naturally afforded additional inducements to the consump- tion of drink. There was also a bagatelle table, but it was used for ordinary table purposes. There was supposed to be a library, but it contained no books there was also a reading room, but it was entirely devoid of newspapers or magazines of current date, only one or two magazines of a month or two old. When the police visited the club on the the 6th of March there were one or two persons there under the influence of drink, and no attempt was made by anyone responsible for the management of the club to have them ejected till their attention was called to the men by the police. The original rules of the club provided that all disputes were to be referred to the final arbitrament of a certain solicitor named therein. Mr B. Francis Williams So that whatever you way say of the club, it had at least a bona-fide solicitor. (Laughter). Mr David Yes, who was evidently determined behave a bit out of it. (Laughter.) Resuming his remarks, Mr David said the original rules specified that the club was formed for the bona-fide consumption-whatever that might mean-of pure and wholesome intoxicating liquors at moderate charges. Mr B. F. Williams: The members were evidently free fooders. (Laughter.) Mr David: I would rather call them free drinkers. (Laughter.) Mr David said in the revised rules of 1900 it was shown that the object of the club was to afford rational enjoyment; and in the rules of 1902, which were at present in force, it was to provide for working-men social intercourse, mutual help- fulness, mental and moral improvement, and rational recreation, but no reference whatever to the sale or consumption of drink was made therein. Mr David described the mode of election of members, and amount of entrance fee and sub- scriptions, and said, according to the books of the club when they were seized by the police, there were various serious discrepancies apparent under these heads. Of the 137 persons who were present on the club premises during the police visit on March 6th, there was scarcely one who had been elected in a regular manner according to the rules, consequently it was illegal to supply any of these men with intoxicating drinks, in fact the place was con- ducted with an utter disregard of its own regula- tions. During their visit the police were informed that the committee provided one loaf and some choem every day for the members, and twice this quantity, with pickles, on Saturday and Sunday. but the published balance-sheet for 1903 showed that no less than 448 had been paid during the year for bread, cheese, pickles, and matches. There were at the close of the year 561 members on the books, but a large proportion of these had not paid their subscriptions, and of the amount received by way of subscriptions only a portion had been transferred to the treasurer and paid to the bank. Mr David added that there had been a large amount of drunkenness and disorderly conduct on the club premises. This he could prove by the beoks of the club themselves, but more had come under the observation of the police. Members' wives had also frequently gone to the club in search of their husbands, and there had been dis- turbance when they could not be found; Amongst the members of the club were men. of known drunken habits, and these had been admitted and re-admitted notwithstanding the fact that they had been convicted at the police-court- or expelled from the club. Police-sergeant R. H. Thomas C2.03) was the first witness called in support of the prosecution Sergeant Thomas detailed the circumstances of the visit paid by Inspector Morris, himself, and several constables to the club on Sunday, the 6tb of March, when they took the names, of 137 men who entered the premises during the time they were there. Drink was being supplied in abundance, and it was as much as the waiters could do to serve the crowd. With the exception of two all the men present were on the ground floor, and there was no provision made other than for drinking. Witness corroborated the statement of Mr David as to the almost entire absence of facilities for- games, reading, &c. He had been informed by the steward that a loaf of bread, with some cheese and pickles, were pro- vided for the members everyday, with double the quantity on Saturday and Sunday. The last entry in the daily takings book was on the 29th February, and when the attention of the secretary was called to the fact, he produced a slip of paper on which the takings had been entered for the previous week. The original promoters of the club were men who would financially benefit, either directly or indirectly, thereby. He found 125 forms of application in which the dates had been altered; 32 of these had paid their subscriptions for the present year, and 91 had not paid. The alterations of dates, he believed, wepe made by the secretary. Witness produced 243 proposal forms, a large number of which had been made out irregularly he also produced 1,182 proposal forms the dates on which had been filled in by the secretary, and not according to the rales, and 176 forms in which there was not the required three days' interval between the date of nomination and election whereas in a number of oases, forms were produced which showed that the persons had been elected several days before they were nominated. The present secretary (the defendant Johnson) was elected member on the 5th of February, 1898, and he (witness) was of opinion that the handwriting o&> the nomination form was that of Johnson hisg^lf, Witness proceeded! to give evidence in pjfoof of other various similar discrepancies, yfekk' tfee qonrt adj^g^ JqT luncheon. | At the resumption of the sitting the justices proceeded to fxaip.ine in dtraiJ thp jar.re number of forms which bad, ori diffcsciit grounds, been irregularly made out. There were twenty forms pertaining to members who hLd not paid their subscription for the present year. Mr B. F. VViliiams contended that there was no evidence to show that these persons had enjoyed the benefits and privileges of the club. Mr David replied that their names were on the register. Mr B. F. Williams Those who have not paid their subscriptions are not members. Mr David said their names should not be on the register at all. Witness produced 491 proposal forms the sig- natures on the whole of which were in the handwriting of a former secretary of the club. During the police visit the men present were requested to produce their cards of membership, but 43 out of the 137 failed to comply with the request. Mr B. F. Wiliíams pointed out that there was ne^rule calling upon members to carry their cards with them. Witness added that he found some of the cards and their duplicates behind the bar in the posses- sion the steward. On examination of the books Shere were numerous discrepancies between the amounts alleged to have been received as sub- scriptioas-and those paid to the bank. PROCEEDING.




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