Obstructing The Police At Conisborough – An Unfounded Charge Against The Police

April 1905

Mexborough and Swinton Times, April 15, 1905

Obstructing The Police At Conisborough
An Unfounded Charge Against The Police

A case that occupied some time was one in which Thomas Hadley, a Conisborough miner, was summoned by the police for obstructing them in the execution of their duty at Conisborough on March 29.

Mr W Baddiley defended.

PC Duffin stated that on the date in question he was on duty on the Low Road at Conisborough, shortly after 10 o’clock, in the company of PS Horton, when they found eight or nine men in the middle-of-the-road, one of whom was drunk, using obscene language, and wanting to fight.

They went on to Hadley, and spoke to him about his conduct, advising him to go away, but he refused for some time. They were very persistent in using bad language. The man who was named Horbury, refused to go away, and defendant came up and said, “You are not going to take him; he has done nothing wrong.”

The sergeant told defendant to get out of the way and Horbury then became very excited and violent. He struggle with witness, and they fell into the roadway. Witness was on the top when defendant got all of his arm and tried to pull him off Horbury, saying “Let him alone.”

In the scuffle which followed the defendant fell backwards over one of his mates, and afterwards alleges that one of them (the police officers) had struck him. Witness took Horbury into custody and locked him up. It was a disgraceful row. The parties had all been turned out of the Three Horse Shoes beer house at closing time.

In answer to Mr W Baddiley witness said he believed defendant did go to Doncaster the following day, and complained to the police. All the men were drunk.

Mr Baddiley asked for a review report sent in by the police officer, but superintendent Hicks refused to allow him to look at it. The magistrates could peruse it if they wished.

P S Horton gave confirmatory evidence. Nobody hit defendant at all; he fell down.

Mr Baddiley, for the defence, said it was not often he complained about the conduct of the police, but he did so in that instance. Did they imagine that a man who had not been assaulted go to the chief police office the following morning and complain?

The defendant had lived at Conisborough for a long time, and possessed a splendid character. He would tell them that evening he was perfectly sober, that he had nothing at all to do with this man Horbury. The defendant was going home with some other men and Horbury, was the worse for drink and making more noise than he should do. He should also tell them that he was going on when someone struck him on the back of the head, and he heard someone say that he should report him at Doncaster. He contended that in that case the police had not acted fair at all. He would call these men were present, and they would tell them the same thing. The most remarkable fact was that the police officers said that all the men were drunk, and that it was a disgraceful disturb; if that was not sufficient to bring them before the magistrates, he did not know what was. No proceedings have been taken against the defendant for having been drunk at all.

The complainant said he lived at Burcroft Hill Conisborough, and on the day in question, when leaving the Three Horse Shoes In, about 10 o’clock, he saw Horbury, who was drunk, and Riley and Connor. As they were going home they met the police, who ordered them to “move on.” Directly afterwards he was struck on the back of the head and felled to the ground. All that time he had not spoken a word. The other men had not interfered either. He was hit on the head with some heavy instrument.

In answer to Superintendent Horton, defendant said he had had 5 pints of beer that night, but he knew what he was doing.

Mr Baddiley: many men can drink 15, and be quite sober (laughter).

John Connor, a miner, lodging at the same place as Riley and Horbury said he saw the defendant fall in front of the two officers. He never interfered with the police at all. He never saw the blow struck but he saw one of the officers arms raise, and Hadley on the floor.

Patrick Riley give similar evidence. It was the sergeant who knocked Hadley down; he was behind both of them, about 2 yards from the sergeant. He could not say what the sergeant had in his hand.

The Chairman said the whole question of the bench had to decide was whether the evidence given by the police was true, or whether the evidence given by the defendants was true. The bench were of the opinion that the police were stating the truth, and therefore they must be a conviction. An extraordinary charge are been brought against the police, which would be very serious if it was proved. The Bench thought that the way the evidence had been given by the various witnesses for the defence it was ridiculous to put any credence upon their statements. They said that this saw the man knocked down, though they could not say what he was knocked down with – whether with a stick or a staff. He thought that in itself sure that it was incredible and they did not believe it.

The defendant would have to pay a penalty of 20/-and the costs 4/-