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The annual meeting of the St, Hilda Park Licensing Committee was held last night. The meeting was originally intended to have been held at, and was fixed for, noon yesterday, but, owing to several matters which it was thought should receive the attention of the full Bench, it was adjourned until last evening so as to ensure a fall attendance. At seven o’clock Messrs Gourley (chairman), Skipworth, and Isaacs attended at the Council Chambers, and after a few minutes’ desultory conversation the Chairman (Mr Gourley) called on the clerk (Mr Rankin) to read tim minutes of the previous meeting. At this Mr Stenhouse, one of the members of the Committee, put in an appearance, and was called upon by the chairman to tako_ his seat, which he refused to do, stating, in explanation, that the meeting had been adjourned until half-past seven, and that at that hour he would be quite willing to take his place, but would decidedly not do so until that time had arrived. After some further conversation, The Chairman said : I suppose you will come to the table, Mr Stenhouse ? Mr Stenhouse : No; I shall certainly do nothing of the kind. The meeting was called for half-past seven ; at that hour the public will be here ; and 1 will not occupy my seat until that time. The Chairman : The meeting was called for noon to-day, but was adjourned until this evening at seven. The circular I received states that.

Mr Stenhouse : No ; the meeting was called for half past seven. Certainly the members of the Licensing Committee were supposed to be at the Council Chambers at seven o’clock, but half an hour was supposed to be spent in discussing informal matters, and the meeting proper was then to be held. Mr Skipworth : Well, there seems to have been some misunderstanding about the time at which the Committee were to meet —that’s all. You’ll take your seat at the table, Mr Stenhouse, though, won’t you?_ Mr Stenhouse : No. You can go on with the business, gentlemen, but I intend to stand out, and will not ait down as a committeeman until half-past seven. Mr Isaacs : Well, gentlemen, I received a circular regarding the adjournment of the meeting, and I must confess that I thought we were to meet at seven o’clock. From what I could infer from the circular there were one or two matters which it was desirable for the Committee to discuss, and it was intended to consider those matters at seven o’clock, and directly the discussion on them —which it was thought would occupy half an hour, more or leas—had ended, the Committee meeting was to take place. Mr Stenhouse : I repeat that the meeting was intended to be held, not at seven o’clock, but at half-past. Mr Gourley (solto voce j: Oh ! never mind Mr Stenhouse. Mr Rankin, read the minutes of last meeting. The Clerk did so, and tho business of the Committee was then proceeded with, Mr Stenhouse, however, not participating in the transaction of any committee matters. The following applications were granted RENEWALS. James D. Hutton, St. Kilda; Charles Finlayson, London; Simon M'Kechnie, Ocean Beach; Lyndon Ruttledge, Racecourse. NEW LICENSE. The application of James Stenhouse for a publican’s license for the Pioneer Hotel was granted, no application for renewal being received from the present licensee, Mary Ann Hutton. POLICE REPORTS. The police reports were favorable to tho renewals being granted; but also stated that the Racecourse Hotel possessed inadequate means of exit in case of fire.—lt was decided to inform the licensee of the hotel in question that proper means of escape should be made in case of fire breaking out upon the premises. The supplementary police report upon licensed houses in the district, etc,, stated that in the districts of St. Kilda and Musselburgh there were 1,100 persons, with six public-houses open throughout tho two districts. There had been no convictions against licensees, and no person had been arrested for drunkenness in the districts mentioned. The Chairman said that, judging from the tenor of the police report, they possessed a model borough—one of which they might feel proud. There had been no cases of drunkenness in the district during the year—that was, drunkenness that called for the intervention of the police ; there had been no convictions recorded against licensees for any breach of the Act, and the police reports —which spoke for themselves—were on the whole most satisfactory. Mr Isaacs thought that the police were to be commended for the good order which generally prevailed in the borough, and that the entire absence of convictions of any description npoke volumes for their watchfulness and care, The Chairman endorsed Mr Isaacs’s remarks, and it was unanimously decided to record in the minute book the thanks of tho Committee to the police, Mr Gourley then vacated the chair, and a remark to Mr Stenhouse as to why the latter had not sat on the Bench called from the latter the reply: “I like everything fair and square; tho meeting was to have been held at half-past seven, and at no other time.”

Several publicans and others, with Sergeant Macdonnell, then entered the Council Chamber, and on being informed that the Committee had adjudicated upon the applications in the St. Kilda Park Ward, Mr J. D, Hutton said : Well, there is something in all this that I can’t make out. I think there’s something strange in all this —this rushing a meeting through in such haste. The publicans—myself and others—attended at noon to-day, and we were then informed that the meeting of the Committee had been adjourned until half-past seven, and now we find on arrival that the business has been concluded. It just amounts to this: the hotelkeepers are being made fools of, and they should not stand this underhand work. Mr Gonrley: Oh, there’s no underhand work; everything is fair and square and above board. Mr Hutton: Yes; but if it comes to that, What right had anyone to adjourn the meeting which was to have been held at noon to-day ? A Voice: To ensure a fuller meeting, I suppose, MUSSELBURGH. Mr Gourley here left the meeting, and the Licensing Committee for the Musselburgh Ward—comprising Messrs Stenhouse (chairman), Isaacs, Skipworth, and Mitchell—sat to consider applications. Before reading the application, however, The Clerk said : I think, Mr Stenhouse, you should give some explanation as to the reasons which actuated you in declining to sit upon the Licensing Bench of St. Kilda Park. If you do not, or if I did not ask you, the fault would be stated to be mine. Mr Stenhouse; Mr Gourley is to blame in sitting down and calling for the business to commence, and the two committeemen who sat along with him are to blame as well, Mr Isaacs: Well, I got my circular, and I understood from it that the meeting was fee be held immediately after a few matters had been discussed. Mr Stenhouse : Yes; but what time did I Et to talk over matters ? As soon as I came Mr Gourley called me to the table. Mr Skipworth: He asked you to come up to the table and talk over a few matters, but you refused to come Mr Stenhouse: No; he immediately asked the clerk to read the minutes, and the meeting then commenced, Mr Skipworth ; Oh, well; it’s not such BO important matter. Mr Stenhouse: No; but if it had been six o’clock instead of seven you would have Started the meeting. The discussion then terminated, and the ordinary business of the Committee was {roceeded with. There was one application y Sydney Parkes for renewal of a publican’s license for the Bay View Hotel. The police reported that it had been said that gambling was carried on in this house, but although they had visited it several times no evidence as to gambling being carried on was found. Persons who were neither travellers nor lodgers had been found there after hours, hut nothing definite had been discovered by the police. The licensee V*a in the habit of keeping late

hours in connection with the hotel,—The application was granted, it being also decided to call the licensee’s attention to the complaints made. Sergeant Macdounell here remarked that he wished to inform the Bench that the licensee of the Racecourse Hotel bad provided more adequate means of escape in case of fire upon the premises. Mr Isaacs did not altogether agree with the manner in which the police reports were worded. It was unfair to bring indefinite charges against a publican, who had no chance to refute them. Ho did not think that any notice should be taken by the Committee regarding the matter of gambling being carried on in the Bay View Hotel, because the charges were not rightly formulated. Rumors were difficult things to cope with, and they certainly did not do a publican any good. If the police were certain that gambling was carried on, they should endeavor to secure a conviction.

Sergeant Macdonnell replied that the police were supposed to report only with regard to what they observed. It was reported to them that gambling was carried on in the Bay View Hotel, and they reported to the Committee that they themselves did not know that gambling was carried on there.

Mr Isaacs ; But it’s only hearsay. j Sergeant Macdonnell: Oh, yes ; hut tho > late hours kept at the Bay View Hotel are an j indication that there is something goiug on | which does not go on at other holds. i Mr Isaacs thought that if a charge were ' made against a licensee he should be allowed j an opportunity of refuting it. | Sergeant Macdonnell replied that he made j no charge against tho licensee of the Bay j View Hotel, and he made no objection to j his obtaining a license. Tho police had found no breach of tho law of any description in tho house, but there were people there who had evidently no right to be there. If the Committee wished to know all the police know, and adjourned the meeting, they could call some witnesses to give evidence.

Mr Isaacs said that after tho explanation the sergeant had made he was satisfied the latter had not exceeded his duty. Eventually a vote of thanks was accorded to the police for the efficient manner in which they bad discharged their in the Musselburgh district, and the meeting terminated.

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LICENSING COMMITTEES., Issue 7930, 11 June 1889

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LICENSING COMMITTEES. Issue 7930, 11 June 1889

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