The Wrong Tribunal – Breaking Windows

May 1888

Mexborough and Swinton Times May 25, 1888

The Wrong Tribunal.

William Briggs was charged with breaking a window belonging to the Denaby Main Colliery Company, on the 8th inst. —He pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Hickmott said the company had suffered considerable damage to the windows of their property, and in some cases all the windows in one row had been broken to pieces. The defendant, on the day in question, was playing at knur and spell, and he knocked a piece of marble through one of the windows of the houses belonging to the company. He was playing within ten yards of them.

James Massey, jinney-man at the colliery, said he saw the defendant playing knur and spell near to the company’s houses. He saw him drive a ” potty ” over the wall towards the houses, and immediately afterwards he heard a breakage of glass.

The tenant of the house, Mrs. °Walker, came out and asked witness who had driven the potty over the wall, and he told her.

The defendant denied that he broke the window, and asked the witness how he could see over the wall, which was ten feet high.

Police-constable Midgley, in answer to Mr. Hickmott, said he had seen the defendant in court that day, and be had offered to pay the costs, and also said that he would plead guilty. He admitted having broken the window. The company had sustained a considerable amount of damage by the breaking of win-dows.

The defendant persisted in saying that. he did not break the window.

The Clerk to the Magistrates (Mr. F. Parker-Rhodes) entered into a long consultation with the Bench, the result of which was that the Chairman said that they could not convict in that Court, as the prosecution could not prove that the damage was wilfully done.

Mr. Hickmott submitted the general principle of law—it was an unlawful act. He could prove that the defendant was playing on private property, and that therefore, on account of that, it was an illegal act.

The Chairman said they could not convict, and the company must go to the County Court.