Taunton Courier 10 Jun 1891 Breach of the Licensing Laws A Fly Publican Thomas TALBOT of Dolphin Inn King Street Taunton

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The Taunton Courier. Bristol and Exeter Journal, and Western Advertiser Wednesday 10 Jun 1891
Page 3 Column 3


Lying in Wait.

A “Fly” Publican.

At the Taunton Police Court on Wednesday, before the Mayor (in the chair), Colonel ALLEN, Mr R H SEARS, Gen. EMERSON, and Dr E LIDDON, Thomas TALBOT, landlord of the Dolphin Inn, King-street, Taunton, was summoned for selling intoxicating liquors during prohibited hours, he being a licensed victualler.

Mr C P CLARKE appeared for the defence.

Mr DURHAM said the action was taken under section 9 of the Licensing Act, forbidding the sale of liquor during prohibited hours.

Mary Ann PRIDDLE, of 1, King-street, said defendant was the landlord of the Dolphin Inn, in the same street. Last Sunday morning, about 11.10, she went out in the direction of the Dolphin, and saw the wife of the defendant, to whom she spoke. She said, “Please, Mrs TALBOT, could Mr TALBOT bring us a quart of beer, as someone is in the house who wants to drink?” Mrs TALBOT replied, “I will see in a minute or two.” Witness went back to her house, and the landlady of the inn returned to the Dolphin. A few minutes later defendant came to witness's house with a quart of beer in a bottle, and poured it into a jug which was on the table. Witness put 5d, the price of the beer, on the table, and defendant took it up. There was at the time a policeman in the house, and he saw what had taken place. The policeman, who had been in a room at the back part of the house, then appeared, and addressing the landlord, said, “Good morning.” The policeman tasted the beer, and TALBOT carried away the money. - Cross-examined by Mr CLARKE, witness said she had lived in King-street since August, and had previously to that resided in another part of the town. She had known defendant since she had been in King-street. She was asked to fetch the beer by “P.C. some person,” who did not tell her what to say, but instructed her to get a quart of beer. She went when she was asked. - Mr CLARKE: Do you always do what you are told? - Witness: Yes (laughter). - Cross-examination continued. Witness said she did not say “Mrs TALBOT, will your husband do a favour for me? I have a nephew who has come six or seven miles, and I want you to let him have a drink.” She would swear it. About ten minutes after she had given the message to defendant's wife, TALBOT came with the beer. She was alone in the room when defendant entered with the liquor. - Mr CLARKE: I must test your credibility. Have you appeared in another capacity in this court? - Witness: No, never for a crime. - Mr DURHAM (to witness): You were here on an ejectment summons, as your husband did not leave a house soon enough? - Witness: Yes. - Mr CLARKE said he was satisfied with the explanation.

P.C. WOOD deposed that in consequence of information received he went to the house of the last witness and told her he was a police officer, as he was in plain clothes. Witness said, “Will you allow me to remain here?” - Mr CLARKE objected, as defendant was not present. - Examination continued: Defendant said he had permission to remain in the house. The woman left, and ten minutes later, viz, at 11 10, defendant entered the house, and coming into the front room, took a quart bottle from his pocket, and emptied the contents into a jug. Mrs PRIDDLE put the money on the table. Witness caught defendant by the hand as TALBOT took the money, and said he was a policeman, adding, “You have fivepence there for that beer.” Witness tasted the contents of the jug, which contained beer. - By Gen. EMERSON: Whose money was it? Was it Mrs PRIDDLE's money? Witness: Not exactly. Gen. EMERSON: Where did the money come from? Witness: Mrs PRIDDLE said she had not any money, and I put it on the table, but did not say what it was for. The Mayor: You supplied the money. Witness added that he went to the Dolphin, and said he should report defendant, who observed, “ You have caught me fair enough.” - Cross-examined by Mr CLARKE, witness said TALBOT could have seen him when he (defendant) entered the house. The jug and money were not of the table when TALBOT entered the house. When he spoke to defendant Mrs PRIDDLE was not in the room. He did not send Mrs PRIDDLE for the beer, or ask her to go for it.

P.S. HAYES proved to serving the summons on defendant, who observed, “I sold the beer and took the money for it, but there is no credit due to the police for the way in which they caught me.” Witness replied, “I should not have a lot to say about that, Mr TALBOT, for the police give you credit for having been fly for a number of years, and when we have fly people like you to deal with we have to adopt fly means to catch them.” - Mr CLARKE: Then you say this was a police trap? Witness: I say nothing.

Mr CLARKE explained that he did not wish to palliate the offence, but it was right the Bench should know the way in which his client was caught. The woman said the policeman asked her to go for the beer, the policeman said he did not. He thought it was a matter of sincere regret that the police, who were generally so active in their duty, and so desirous of doing things which were right between man and man, should have set a trap to catch TALBOT, whom they considered a “fly” man. TALBOT was tempted, and the police were the tempters. Defendant had held the licence for 12 years, and no complaint had ever been made against him. TALBOT was told the liquor was for a nephew who had come six or seven miles, and therefore would be a bona-fide traveller.

Mr PINCHARD demurred from this contention.

Mrs TALBOT, wife of defendant, deposed that on the day in question she met Mrs PRIDDLE, who said to her, “I want you to do me a great favour; will your husband bring me a drop of beer? I have got a nephew here who has come from the country this morning, and has walked between six and seven miles, and is thirsty and tired, and if you could get it for me it would be a great favour.” Witness replied, “I don't think he will, but I will ask him.” Her husband did not take the beer till some time after that conversation.

This concluded this case.

The Mayor, after the justices had conferred together, said, The Bench feel the case is proved, and they feel they cannot do other than inflict a penalty of £5 and costs, and endorse the licence.

Mr CLARKE: On behalf of the owners of the house, I may say they will be perfectly prepared to provide a fresh tenant.

Mr DURHAM: As soon as the owners knew about this, they sent at once to say a fresh tenant would be provided immediately.

Mr CLARKE: I am instructed on behalf of the owners to say that they will provide a new tenant.

Mr PINCHARD: An endorsement would not affect a fresh tenant in any way.

The Mayor said that on the understanding that a new tenant was provided, there would be no endorsement. The Bench desired him to say that they considered the police were justified in the course they had pursued in the case.

Mr DURHAM thanked the Bench for the remarks they had made as to his conduct of the case. He had resorted to that plan because the defendant had been going on in the way complained of for a long time; and King-street had been a pandemonium for the last year, especially on Sunday mornings.


Henry LANNING was summoned for breaking a window, at 1, King-street, the property of John PRIDDLE, on 31st May, doing damage of the amount of 1s.

Mr DURHAM said, in opening the case, that he had to bring PRIDDLE and her husband to court under the protection of two constables.

Mary Anna PRIDDLE, witness in the preceding case, deposed that she and her husband had gone to bed early, and were aroused about ten by a noise of a stone breaking the glass in the front window. Her husband dressed and went out for a policeman. She also dressed, and looking out of the window saw assembled in front of the house a crowd of 200 people. There was a lamp alight in the street, and she recognised defendant, whom she knew by sight, and who lived in Paradise-square. She distinctly saw defendant throw the stone which broke the window. The people were all around the house, and she was downstairs. Defendant was on the other side of the street, and was only five or six yards away at the time. Defendant was alone a the moment he threw the stone. She was positive it was defendant. There was not another man she knew in the town like defendant. - Defendant (interposing): Too good looking. - Defendant then closely cross-examined witness with a view to show that he did not throw the stone, but witness adhered to her statement, and went on to say that defendant added. “I began it last night, and I'll finish it to-night.” - Defendant, addressing the Bench, maintained that he did not throw any stones. - Henry DAWE deposed that he was with defendant at the time in question. LANNING threw no stones while he was with him. - Witness, cross-examined by Mr DURHAM, said he (DAWE) did not incite the mob to attack the house. He did not see LANNING for the first few minutes of the disturbance. - George LAVER gave corroborative testimony, and the Bench dismissed the case, saying they thought there was not enough evidence to convict.

Frederick FROST was summoned for breaking a window, the property of John PRIDDLE, doing damage to the amount of 1s, on the 1st June. - Mr DURHAM observed that in consequence of the disturbances it was necessary for four or five policemen, to guard the house all night. - Mary Ann PRIDDLE deposed that on Monday night defendant came up to the window of her house and said “I am on your track.” She knew defendant well, and saw him at one time with a stick in his hand. Later on she noticed defendant throw the stick at the window. The glass was broken, and later on she picked up the stick on the pavement and identified it as the one thrown at the window. - John PRIDDLE gave corroborative evidence as to the threat by defendant. - Fined 5s and 1s damage, and 7s costs, the Mayor observing that if any similar cases were brought before them they would impose a severe penalty. Allowed till Saturday to pay. In default 14 days' hard labour.

George RUGG was summoned for breaking two panes of glass on 1st June in PRIDDLE's house. Mr A. G. TAYLOR appeared for the defence. - John PRIDDLE deposed that on the night in question RUGG was making a speech and shouting out in the street about witness's wife, using abusive language. He saw defendant throw a stone, which broke the window. Witness then went for the police. - Mary PRIDDLE deposed that she saw the second pane broken. RUGG in his speech said that she ought to have “her boots blacked and her nose shined,” and that he had never informed again anyone, although he was a teetotaller. - Cross-examined by Mr TAYLOR, witness denied throwing anything at a woman or saying things to her. Someone said to witness, “You are breaking your own window. You are throwing coal through the window.” She had never done so, however. Witness was in danger of her life by reason of the threats made against her. - P.C. RICE proved to examining the windows in consequence of the charge against PRIDDLE as to throwing coal. The glass was inside the room, and there was no coal about. - Mr TAYLOR addressed the Bench for the defence, contending that Mrs PRIDDLE's evidence could not be relied on, and that she had herself broken the window with coal. - Elizabeth HODGE, living near King-street, gave evidence to the effect that she saw defendant throw no stones. She saw something come through PRIDDLE's window from the inside. - Sarah WEBBER, also living near King-street, deposed that something was thrown from inside PRIDDLE's window by Mrs PRIDDLE, which broke the window. - Eliaabeth WIDGER spoke to PRIDDLE's window being broken from the inside. - Charles GRIGG deposed that he was with defendant at the time in question, and during that time defendant threw no stones. - RUGG was fined 10s. And damage 2s, and 12s costs, the Chairman (Mr SEARS) observing that this was a worse case than the previous ones, because RUGG made an inflammatory speech. Allowed till Saturday week to pay, or one month's hard labour. - Mr DURHAM: I shall proceed under the Riot Act if anything else of the sort happens in King-street. - The Chairman: It was very near a riot.

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