Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 01 July 1911
A Costly Mistake
Conisborough Sportsman Bags a Homer
John Harold Bradshaw of Victoria Mews, Manchester, a member of the National Homing prosecuted Thomas Booth, brush head manufacturer, of Conisbro, for killing a pigeon owned by him.
Mr G.W.Andrews, who represented the complainant and the Homing Society, said he understood the offence was not denied, but the Society could not the matter there, for the destruction of birds, which were of inestimable value for intelligence work, was a very eeriest thing. Defendant had shot another pigeon on the same day bot the owner of this was not identified.
The owner J. H. Bradshaw, said he was a member of the Homing Society, and identified the rings which were found on the bird. The bird was thrown up, he said, from Cheltenham on 28 May was due at Urmston on the 27th. The bird had been valued at 10/–, though he would not have taken 10/– for it.
John Ford, of Garden Lane, Conisbrough said at 5-30 on the afternoon of Saturday, 27th of May he was near the river Don, and saw a pigeon brought down on the wing a shot from Mr. Booth. He picked up the rings he found attached to the bird, and forwarded them to the secretary of the National Homing Union.
P.s. Ramsey spoke to having visited the home in company with the secretary of the Homing Union, and heard the defendant say that if he had made a mistake he was prepared to pay a reasonable sum.
John Clayton said he had seen defendant shoot another pigeon on the same day, and had picked up the bird.
Mr. Andrews: The bird you picked up not say wood-pigeon?—No, it was a pigeon (laughter).
Reuben Fletcher said he was secretary of the Derbyshire and South Yorkshire Section of the homing Union, and was present when Ramsey visited the defendant. Defendant said he was willing to pay any reasonable amount, but did not consider 10/- reasonable. He was instructed to bring the present proceedings in the interests of the Homing Society’s members, who numbered 23,000.
Mr. F. Allan, for the defence, said that the killing of the bird was not denied; but the conduct of the case was a scandalous abuse of the procedure of the court. The defendant had shot the bird, and found, unfortunately, that it bore a ring; and there was a discussion as to the price of compensation. The prosecution forthwith brought down witnesses to pile up the carts of the case.
Mr. Andrews I objects to that; it a net right and true. We are bound to prove our case.
Mr. Allen said there was not the slightest doubt about the case. It was not necessary to bring anybody but the owner and Sergeant Ramsey; and yet the prosecution brought five witnesses, and magnified a trumpery charge into one serious importance, inflicting on the defendant heavy costs, which he hoped the Bench would reduce. He would like to know what there was to prevent the man from shooting a pigeon on his own land; and I was eating know whether or not it was a wild pigeon? The present case was magnified almost into one of manslaughter. The prosecution had gone outside the proper conduct of the case.
The Bench inflicted a fine of 10/– and reduced the costs to £1 18s 6d.
Mr Allen: What were the costs before reduction? (Laughter)
The Clerk: Oh a large sum.