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CHARGE AGAINST A CONSTABLE.

Mr Cavew, R.M., eat at tho Resident Magistrate's Court at 2.30 this afternoon to hoar the charge against Constable Willi?. The information set forth that Hubert Willis being a police constable, inlawfu'ly did not uee his best endeavor to apprehend and convey before some Juttice a person found offending against the Police OfFencrn Act, 1884, and was thereby guilty of a neglect of duty. Mr B. C. Uaggitt appeared in support of the information ; Sir Robert Stout on behalf of the constable.

Mr Haggitt said that the informat'on was laid under the 39th Eection of the Act. TI'O offence which the person whom it waa said should have been arrested was committing was an offence under part I. of the Aot, section 0, subparagraph 29, and if His Worship held that the offence charged against the constable were proved the utmost penalty would bo a line not exceeding L. r >. Learned counsel proceeded to outline the facts which would be proved in evidence ; and, continuing, said that after tlio matter had been spoken of when the case came before the Police Court Mr Mallard sent the following letter : T. K. Weltlon, Ei q., Irspcctor of Police. Dear S'r,— Unfortunately I was obliged to givo evidence against a police constable whoso conduct really amounted to cowardice. I trust *he matter will go eo further in the way of punishment, as I have no doubt the expoturo bas tiught him a lesson never to bo forgotten if placed under similar circumstances.—l am, fete, Fiiedk. Mallaed. June 10,1889. But (said Mr Haggitt) the matter having become public through what was said at the hearing of the case against the person who should have been arrested, it became the duty of the inspector to take these proceedings, and, in spite of Mr Mallard's letter, he was forced to go on. The following evidence was given : Frederick Mallard, Justice of the Peace and local manager of the Union Insurance Company, said that he was at home on the night of the Bth June, and about 12.30 was awakened by a row opposite, in the North Recreation Ground, lis heard Bbouts and thuds like she sound of Wowb. He also heard stertorous breathing, and cries of "go it,-' and fearing it might be a case'of garotting, he determined to go over. Ho called Mb son Jack, bade him follow, and then ran to the recreation ground. There wero fifteen or twenty men theiro, and in the centre of them two men stripped, fighting. Witness jumped into the middle of the crowd and called out at the top of his voice : " I'm a magistrate ; my name is Mallard ; stop this disgraceful disturbance on a Sunday morning." He got hold of the two men who were fighting. The crowd closed round him, and hustled the two men away. Just at that moment he saw a bull's-eye lantern between him and the St. David street entrance. Witness called out: " Are you a policeman ?" The answer came: "Yes, I'm a policeman." Witness sang out: " I'm a Magistrate; come and help me to secure these fellows.' The crowd evidently caught sight of the lantern too, and they all ran acrosß'the ground in the direction of Dundas street'. The "crowd jostled witness and took the two men away from him. When the crowd went away witness and his Bon and the policeman were left. Witness requested his son to run and detain anyone he found with his clothes off. Witness then called out to the policeman : " Run, constable, run ! Follow me, and we shall get them yet." The constable Btood still. Witness ran after his son, calling on the constable to run too, and singing out that his name was Mallard, and that he was a Justice. When he got up to the gate opposite All Saints' Church he found his son with his arms round a man named Grey, aud another young man a few yards away remonstrating about his companion being dotained. Witness tried to arrest this second man and held him for a second or two, but he was too strong for witness and got away. Next he saw a constable walking quietly through the gate opposite All Saints'. He coolly said " What's all the row about ?" Witness said " What's all the row about! Why the devil didn't you run faster when I called on you?" He replied " I didn't know it was you, Mr Mallard," Witness said " What the devil was it to you who I was? It was your bounden duty to come." Witness added " You'll go to the police station with me with this man." Guy was struggling to get away.andsaid "Iwantto know what Jam arrested for. Youknowme.don'tyou?" Constable Willis replied: "Yes,lknowyou; Idonlt know what you are arrested for. I have not arrested you." Witness said : " I'll tell you what you are arrested for when we get to the station." The party then went to the Kins; street station. On their way Guy suddenly halted and again said : " I want to know what I'm in custody for." Constable Willis again said he did not know ; he did not prefer any charge. Witness requested his son to go and call Sergeant O'Neill, at North Dunedin, as witness wanted to see him. The constable said: "You'll have to go to Maclaggan street; we don't take charge? at King

street now." Witness said "Very well; I'll go to Mount Cargill if you want me to go." They went to King street station, and witness told his story to Sergeant Finnegan and other officers. "Witness signed the charge in the book. On the following morning (Monday) Guy was brought up at the Police Couri, and fined 1.3. °The constable was in attendance at Court, and said he was in King street when he first heard the row, that he got down us soou as he could, and that when he turned on his lantern the crowd all ran away. He first said that he passed along King Btreet, and entered the ground at St. David street, but he afterwards contradicted himielf. Sir R. Stout: The report does not show that. Witness continuing, said the light that night was good enough for witness to discern that the men fighting had nothing on but trousers arid singlets. To His Worship: Witness had not the slightest hesitancy in saying that the constable saw what ho saw—lwo men fighting in the middle of a crowd. Witness had on a darker night tested this by placing himself and his boh in the position of the constable and the crowd. Witness could not of course swear who the constable waß. To Sir R. Stout: It would not necessarily follow that tho constable would think that witness was fighting with one of the men. Witness had hold of Guy's companion for from thirty Bcconds to a minute before the constable came up. If the constable niu he must have some most extraordinary method of keeping his wind that witness never heard of in any system of training. He was perfectly cool. Sir Robert Stout: If witnesses who can run will come forward and swear that the constable beat them, will you deny that he ran ? Witness: Yes, I will. If ten thousand persons Bay so I will swear that he could not have done so.

To His Worship: If the constable had run at the time witness sang out "I'm a magistrate," witness believed they could have detained one of the men at lea3t. John J. J. Mallard, son of the last witness, said that when he got into the grounds there were fully fifteen or twenty young fellows there, two of them in white. He heard the crowd say: "It's only a fi»ht; let them alone." When witness pursued the running crowd he came up with three of them—two helping a third one to dress. Witness Baid to tne latter: " I'll have yon." He aßkcd to be allowed to put his coat on, and witness then collared him. One of Guy's friends had time to run about thirty yards and back before witness's father came up. He had his arms rourd Guy for about half a minute. The constable then came walking up, and said : "Is that you, Guy ?" Witness's father had hold of somebody when the lantern was first Been. The constable was standing still, about nine or ten yards inside the gate and about twenty yards from witness. The constable never moved on being apoken to by last witntss. Witness knew it was a constable —he was in tho dress of a constable—but ho could not distinguish what constable it was. The night wss not a dark one, and the nine lamps round the ground were lit. To Sir R. Stout: The crowd began to disappear while witness waa looking at the constable. Witness had on a light coat and pants and a soft hat. Henry Guy, cattle-dealer, was in the northern recreation ground on the night t'ie disturbance took place. Ho was one of the crowd standing round tho i.wo persons who were fighting. He knew Constable Willis by sight. Ho was not aware whether his brother knew the constable. Witness heard Mr Mallard sing out that he was a magistrate, Anyone could have heard him at a distance of twenty or thirty yard 3. Mr Mallard told them to stop the row, and then the crowd commenced bustling about. A minute or a minute and ahalf after that witness saw a constable in tbe ground. He had come in by the St. David street entrance, and kept coming towards the crowd. The crowd scattered as soon aa they say him ; in fact the scene was more like a football scrummage than a fight. To the best of witness's belief that constable waa Constable Willis—it was a man of the same appearance. To Sir R. Stout: When Mr Mallard first sang out for a constable witness did not seo one. Witness did not run away ;ho walked towards the Cumberland street entrance.

Sergeant Finnegan was on town duty on the night in question, and met Constable Willis, Mr Mallard, and a man named Guy (not the last witness) at the North Dunedin station gate. Witness proceeded to narrate what passed at the station. This witness was not cross-examined.

Sergeant O'Neill and R. L. Stanford were briefly examined, and that closed the case on behalf of the information. Sir R. Stout submitted that there was no offence disclosed. The offence charged in the information was that the constable neglected to apprehend a person that he found offending against the Act; but on Mr Mallard's own evidence there was nothing to show that the constable saw two men fighting. The charge was an unfounded one, and calculated to injure the police service. It was ridiculous to say that a constable was to be fined because he was thirty seconds later than Mr Mallard in coming up to the man who was supposed to have been fighting. [Left sitting.]

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890627.2.23

Bibliographic details

CHARGE AGAINST A CONSTABLE., Issue 7944, 27 June 1889

Word Count
1,837

CHARGE AGAINST A CONSTABLE. Issue 7944, 27 June 1889

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