Worst Village – 2. Plaintiff’s Summing Up

May 1900

Mexborough and Swinton Times May 11th 1900

Plaintiff´s Summing Up

Mr Tindal Atkinson then addressed the jury on the case. He said that the course defendant had thought fit to adopt he had anticipated. Mr Buckingham Pope had gone into the witness box, so that defendants were unable to say that he was afraid to go there, as they are said on the last occasion, and the method of his cross-examination that clearly shown what plaintiff sought to, that defendants were, in fact, actuated by personal motives against him stop the course taken by the defence counsel was entirely inconsistent with the defence they had set up.

That defence, was founded an absence of malice and negligence, but it defendants were actuated by personal motives in dragging Mr Pope’s name into the matter away went the whole defence. There was, he submitted, ample reason for the jury coming to the conclusion that there was no honest and Lorna fide Brown for introducing Mr Pope’s name at all in connection with this piece of highly imaginative writing, which originally appeared in the “Christian budget.” From the animation of the defendant’s, the jury now knew that. With regard to the Denaby Main village, which was the creation of the Colliery Company, and not of the plaintive, there was not an atom of truth in the published descriptions of it.

The original circulators of this slander had to confess that they were wrong. Whey have done what the defendants had not done – having recognised that their statements were wrong, they published an ample apology of the most complete character in a prominent part of their paper, under the circumstances the colliery company was satisfied with that apology. But this was entirely different matter. There were no personal motives behind the publication by the “Christian budget.” Defendants on the other hand went out of their way to use the personal element, and brought him Mr Pope’s name as that of the person responsible for the horrible state of things which it was said existed in Denaby village. He felt bound to call attention to what took place at the previous action, in order to show what was rankling in the defendants mind.

Mr Robson, I think my friend is going beyond the limits of the evidence I’m not objecting, but if he does so I may do the same, and that may enlarge the scope of my remarks.

Mr Tindal Atkinson pointed out that the previous libel action had been referred to Mr Pope in his cross-examination. If defendant had been so free from malice as they wish the jury to believe, would there, after this action, as they in fact did, refer to Mr Popein their newspaper as “a person in whom the litigious propensity was enormously developed,” allude to his “long campaign of misrepresentation against the Hull and Barnsley Railway Company” and say that he “would not stand cross examination?”

All that rather showed that they were only awaiting another opportunity of getting their knife into Mr Pope, an opportunities that this publication in the “Christian Budget” afforded. In conclusion, the learned Council asked the jury to say that this miserable sum of 10 guineas which the defendant had contemptuously thrown down to the plaintive was totally inadequate compensation for the wrong they had done him.