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At this morning's sitting of the Police Court, before E. H. Carew, Esq., R.M., John Wheeler, a driver in the employ of Young's Palace Car Company, was charged on the information of James Williams, secretary of the Tramways Company, with driving an omnibus in such a manner as to obstruct a tramcar.

Mr Sim, who appeared on behalf the Tramways Company, said that the information was laid undei section 51 of the Tramways Act, 1872, which provided a penalty for doing, or causing " to be done, anything in such a manner as to obstruct any carriage using a tramway, or to endanger the lives of persons thereia or thereon." He (Mr Sim) would call evidence to show that the obstruction complained of was not accidental but deliberate, being one of several acts committed on the same dav.

Mr Calvert appeared on behalf of defendant, and, having been instructed jubt as the case waß called, asked for an adjournment.

His Worship declined the request, holding that defendant had had plenty of time to prepare his case, William Flanagan, driver in the employ of the Tramway Company, said that on the 2nd inst. he was driving a car leaving tho Valley at 7 p.m. or 7.30. Defendant was driving an omnibus, and left the Leith just ahead of the car. Witness overtook the bus near St. David street. The bus stopped there. Witness whistled when the tram was about the width of the street away. The bus was standing on the tram rails that witness was driving on—the lefthand rails coming this way. The bus did not move. Witness drove up close and then stopped. The tratr conductor (Thompson) spoke to the bus driver and conductor, and then returned to his car. Wheeler then moved on. The tramcar was delayed a minute or more. Witness could not say it was a minute, but could say that the stoppage was an unreasonable one. On tho same trip, aB witness was swinging from Albany street into George street, defendant came up at a gallop and drove in front of the tram. Witness had to pull up short to avoid a smash. There seemed to be no reason for defendant crossing as he did.

To Mr Calvert: It was dark when these occurrences look place. Witness's eyesight was good. The bus-driver was on his right side at the St. David street corner. The bus waß partly on the track. There was room between the bus and the kerb for a carriage to pass. James Hidop, architect, was a shareholder in the company to the extent of live shares. He was a passenger in the car on the trip referred to, standing on the back platform. The bus completely obstructed the car at St. David street. The answer returned to the tram conductor was that the bus would drive on as soon as the passengers got in. The stoppage was for about a minute or so. It would be an ordinary stoppage if the tram were going to take in half a dozen passengers. The galloping across in George street seemed to be without any reason.

To Mr Calvert: The car did not atop on the second occasion; it merely slackened pace. Two or three passengers did get into the bus at the St. David street corner. The obstruction was highly dangerous. Andrew Scott, bootmaker, a passenger by the bus, was standing by the conductor when the bus stopped. The conductor must have seen the car coming before he stopped the bus. Two ladies and a gentleman had hailed the bus at the St. David street corner. Either the driver or the conductor of the bus said, in reply to the car-conductor, that he would shift as soon as the passengers got in. The passengers approached from the left-hand side, and the bus could have pulled up close to the footpath. That would have been more convenient for the passengers than for the bus to stop where it did. The block occupied a minute or a minute and a half. To Mr Calvert: There was no unnecessary delay in moving away when the passengers got into the bus. t At this stage an adjournment was made till 3.30, His Worship having to attend two inquests. On resuming, Wm. Fayne, a passenger by the tramcar, gave evidence. W hen the driver of the bus was spoken to he said " Oh, don't be in a hurry; wait till I have got the Eassengers." He also said: "I did not now I was on the rails." When they were approaching Knox Church there would haye been a collision if the tramcar had not slackened speed. Henry Thompson, conductor of the tramcar, said that the bus was twice as long picking up the passengers as there was need for. The conductor of the bus must have seen the tramcar ; it was the business of the bus people to watch the car and run in front of it. There was plenty of room for the bus to have pulled up dear of the rails. A collision when near Kno? Church was only avoided by the tram-driver putting on the brcke. Edward Cook, passenger on the car, gave corroborative evidence.

James Williams, secretary to the Tramway Company, produced the Order-in-Council authorising the construction of the tramways in George and King streets. The width of King street is 66ft, including pave-

ment; there being 46ft carriageway. There are two sets of rails, 3ft Gin between the rails, and sft between each set. Mr Sim put in the Order, and intimated that that closed the case.

Mr Calvert submitted that the Order was not sufficient evidence that the terms of the Act had been complied with so as to give the company protection. His Worship: Is it material at all ? Mr Calvert submitted that it was ; and further submitted that by section 12, when any order is made, the promoters shall publish the same. There was here no proof that the Order was published. Further, the only right the company have under the Act is the right to use the rails. His Worship: And the protection tat carriages shall not have flanged wheels to run on these rails. Mr Calvert would further submit that under the Act the term " wilful" must mean purposely, and referred to cases in support of this contention. He (Mr Calvert) submitted that no case had been made out. His Worship said that he would like to have the whole case before him. Mr Calvert thereupon proceeded to call evidence, after which His Worship reserved judgment till Monday. I

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Bibliographic details

TRAMCARS V. PALACE CARS., Issue 8004, 5 September 1889

Word Count

TRAMCARS V. PALACE CARS. Issue 8004, 5 September 1889

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