Disturbance at a Conisbrough Inn – Conflicting Evidence


Mexborough and Swinton Times January 4.

Disturbance at a Conisbrough Inn.

Cross summonses at the Police Court.

Conflicting evidence.

A case which illustrated somewhat vividly the difficulties encountered by a licence victualler in the conduct of his business, was aired at the Doncaster West Riding Police Court on Saturday, the presiding magistrate being Mr G.B.C.Yarborough.

Joe Crossland, licensed victualler of Conisbrough, was summoned by Frank Singleton for an assault alleged to have been committed on December 19. There was a summons against singleton, taken out at the instance of Crossland, charging singleton with having been disorderly and refusing to quit the Fox Inn, Conisbrough. Crossland also charged Singleton with assault. Mr G.W.Andrew, solicitor, Doncaster, appeared for Singleton and Crosland was represented by Mr W.Baddilley, solicitor, Doncaster.

Mr Andrew said Singleton went into the small room of the Fox Inn, Conisbrough, which was kept by Crossland, and asked for some special whiskey. He was served by a servant girl sometime later. He asked for a repetition of the quantity, and some was brought him, which he said was not of the same sort as previously served to him.

Singleton then went to the landlord, who was in the bar, and told him. The landlord asked him if he wanted his money back. Singleton replied that he did not, but he wanted a right glass of whiskey, for which he had paid. The landlord then told him he had better be off. He drank up his whiskey, and said he would go. Just as he was about to leave, and as he was in the passage, the landlord pushed him violently in the back, and the result was, he fell down, whereupon the landlord kicked him in the eye and mouth while he was down, and violently assaulted him. One of Singleton’s teeth was knocked out.

Singleton had given no provocation for the assault, with the exception that he complained when served with a second lot of whiskey, but a landlord should not give way to feelings of anger in that way, even if he received provocation. Mr Andrews thought after the Bench had heard the evidence of Singleton, and those who spoke for him, they would believe that his conduct was not improper, and that he certainly was sober; at any rate, if he was not sober the landlord knew he was wrong in serving him at all.

Frank Singleton first went into the witness box. He said he lived at Burcroft, near Conisbrough. About 9.30 p.m. on December 19. He went into the Fox Inn, and asked for three pennyworth of special whiskey. He was served in the smoke room by the servant girl. He afterwards called for another special whiskey, and was again served by the same person. During this time the landlord was in the bar. The witness tasted the second whiskey, and said it was not as good as the first was. He then left the smoke room to see the landlord, taking the whiskey with him. He told the landlord that it was not the same whiskey as he received at the first time. The landlord said it was, and asked him if he wanted his money back. He replied that he did not, but wanted a right glass of whiskey. After drinking the whiskey he turned to leave the house, and went in the passage, near the spring doors, the landlord shoved him in the back, and he fell down. When he was down, the landlord kicked him on the eye, the shoulder, and the forehead, broke a tooth, and hit him with his fist in the face.

He was bleeding when he saw Police Constable Duffin some time later. He did not get the landlord but asked him to let him get up. Arthur Dickinson came out and pulled the landlord off him.

He had suffered great pain with the eye, and could not see with it for two days. The landlord’s hat felloff, and he took it back, and asked him what he had done it for. The landlord replied that he would do as much again if he did not go out of the house, and struck at him again. He went to the police station but could make no one hear. Afterwards he saw Police Constable Duffin and Thompson. On the next day he saw Crossland at the railway station.

Cross-examined by Mr Baddeley, Singleton said he never saw Crossland in the smoke room that night. He had not had any dispute with Mr Midgley at the Eagle and Child public house, and he did not say to Crossland, “I have taken one landlord down, and I will take another.” What he said was “I have been taken down by you, and I won’t be taken down again.” He did not use bad language, nor did he call the landlord, and the servants thieves. Mrs Crossland never ordered him out of the house. When Arthur Dickinson cameand grabbed hold ofthe landlord legs and they were on the floor; that was to stop the landlord kicking. He did not run after the landlord and strike him several times as he went back up the passage. He followed him to ask what he had done it for. He did not refuse to go out, nor did he asked the landlord to come outside and have it out.

Re-examined by Mr Andrews: he never saw any blood on the landlord’s face. When he let go of the landlord’s legs the latter hit him in the mouth.

Frank Sanderson said he was passing the Fox In about 9:50 on the night of December 19, when he saw Singleton and the landlord in the passage. Singleton was on the floor, and he had hold of Crossland’s legs. Crossland said if he did not leave go he would make him. When they got up Crossland tried to strike Singleton. Crossland´s hat tumbled off. Singleton picked it up and said he would take it back and see what the landlord had done it for. The witness did not see Singleton strike Crossland, nor did he hear him use bad language. He noticed that Singleton’s eye was swollen, his mouth was bleeding, and his nose was bruised.

Police Constable Duffin called on behalf of Singleton, said he saw Singleton at a 10:15, about 100 yards from the Fox Inn, and he complained to him. He had a badly bruised eye, which was completely swollen up, and he was bleeding at the end of the mouth, and he showed the witness a tooth that had been knocked out. They were quite recent injuries. Singleton was quite sober. The witness had known Singleton for three years, and he had always found him to be one of the quietest men they had in the village. He had never seen him in any disturbance or the worse for drink, nor had he ever heard of him being.

Mr Baddeley, in opening the case for the defence of Crossland, said there was no doubt , Singletonhad got a black eye, and he thought after the Bench had heard the evidence they would consider Singleton richly deserved all he got.

The case for the landlord was that on the night of December 19 he was at a meeting of the Committee of the Co-oporative Society, and that Singleton´s brother was at the meeting. When he got into the Inn, he heard a little disturbance in the small room about the whiskey. He went into the smoke room to see what it was about. He was told, and he then made enquiries, and found that Singleton had been served with the same kind of whiskey on both occasions. He told Singleton there was nothing in the complaint, and Singleton began to use bad language. The landlord asked him to go out and he refused. Singleton then went into the passage, Mrs Crossland and two female servants being at the bar at the time. There Singleton began again about the whiskey, and he used some filthy language. The landlord then said he would have to go as he would not have that kind of language in the house. Mr Crossland put him out.

When he got in the street Singleton said, “Now I have got you off licensed premises I will give you some.” Singleton rushed at the landlord and struck him several times in the passage. The landlord went straightaway into the kitchen to wash the blood from his face. Singleton came into the house a second time, said he wanted to see the landlord. This was after 10 o’clock, and the other customers had been turned out. Mr Crossland came out of the kitchen and Singleton asked him if he would go outside and have it out. This. Mr Crossland said he did not want to fight. When he had put a man out he had done with him. Singleton then struck Mr Crossland, and the latter struck him back. That was how Singleton got a black eye.

Joe Crossland, the landlord of the Fox Inn, gave evidence in support of this statement. He said that after several times asking Singleton to leave the house he put him out. When they got outside Singleton said. “I’ve got you off licensed premises now, and I will give you something to go back with.” As he turned to return to the house Singleton struck him, and they both got down on the ground outside. When he got away into the passage Singleton began to thump at him, and Arthur Dickinson put a stop to that. He went into the kitchen to wash the blood of his face. He did not kick Singleton; he had never kicked a man in his life; he could manage without that this, he was thankful to say.

Singleton again came into the house and Mrs Crossland tried to persuade him to leave. He refused, and she sent for a policeman. The witness went into the passage. Singleton asked him to go, and said he wished to be reasonablywith him, and they began talking about always having been good friends. The witness said he was very much surprised at the way Singleton had carried on. At the close of the conversation Singleton said. “Will you come out and finish it?” Witness said “No, I don’t come out and fight.” Singleton then struck him on the cheek. The witness came back with a blow with the left hand, and another on the eye with a right. It was turning out time, and some of the customers had to leave the premises by the back door, as the front passage was obstructed by Singleton.

Florence Crossland, the wife of the landlord, gave evidence as to Singleton´s unruly conduct, and said she asked him several times to leave the house and he refused.

Frank Tomlinson, shoeing smith, deposed that the landlord, came into the smoke room, and spoke to Singleton. The witness heard Crossland tell him to go twice.

Joseph Hutchinson was also called upon to give evidence, but the Chairman said the Bench did not want to hear any more. The magistrates agreed that Singleton was disorderly, that Crossland was right in turning him how, and that he used no more violence than was necessary.

The charge of assaulting Crossland would be dismissed as would the other charge of assault, and the defendant would have to pay £1 4s 6d costs, for refusing to quit.

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