A TRIVIAL ASSAULT. The objectionable habit of children nick-* c naming their-school teachers andcalßugont' these names after them in the public streets'was the canse- of a Police Court case 'S^bich' came on for hearing to-day.’' • The' jastices.at' the opening of the proceedings’. were'Meurs' J. W. Brindley and J. P. Jones. The: defendant in the case was - John Arthur Moir, relieving teacher of the E location Board, ' and he was charged with having, oh Sep- ■' tember 4, -at South Dunedin, unlawfully assaulted and beaten one Thomas Lawrence ' Johnston. The information was laid ‘ by' Mrs Johnston, mother of the boy alleged to have been assaulted. Mr Solomon appeared for informant and Mr Sim for defendant* ' ■ln opoiiig the case,’ Mr Solomon said that ru Mr Johnston was a storekeeper at Sooth ; Dunedin, and on the day in question (last J Saturday) the little boy Johnston' ahd ; another boy were outside oftbe shop. So ; far as he (Mr Solomon) could make out some of the children attending .school on. the Flat L had the habit of nick-naming, defendant.the -,r very harmless hatne-of “ (Jockey Moir,” and apparently defendant did- not like it. On the occasion in question this very large ”, youth Lawrence Johnston was playing with another boy in the street when defendant was passing. The other boy said to ' Johnston ; “Call him ‘Cockey Moir,’ ’’ and the little fellow accordingly did so. Defendant took the law into his own hands, and, catching the youngster by the back of the neck, shook him for several minutes, the hoy crying all the time. The mother tried to get a policeman, but was unsuccessful. She eventually got a gentleman to come on the scene, and Mr Moir at once let go of the boy. The offence was not by any means; a serious one in the sense that anybody was seriously injured, but counsel'lelt disposed to submit that a man who had so little control over his temper as to do this sort of thing ought to be shown that he must not do it in future. The Bench would probably be met by the suggestion that they had power under the Justices of the Peace Act to dismiss a case of assault if they were of opinion that it was of a trivial nature." If, however, his learned friend thought he was called upon to put in such a defence, and the Bench acted accordingly, they would be giving a premium to men to misconduct themselves. The consequences of the affair on the mother were very serious. She believed that her boy was being murdered, and got hold of something—she did not know what—and was going to strike Moir with it, but he kept her off. Counsel submitted that by imposing a moderate fine the Bench would show defendant that he had been misbehaving himself. Mr Brindley : I will retire from the bench on this particular occasion for the reason that I have a certain amount of knowledge which I think, if I gave a decision in this matter, might be held to have made me biased. I will leave it to Mr Jones. I have a reason for retiring which is very valid to my mind, and I say now that whatever decision I gave, unless I gave that of Mr Jones, pure and simple, it might be said tbatl was biased.
't k°^ omon • don’t know anything about
Mr Sim: I don’t, either.. Mr Brindley: No, of course you don’t; but from what has transpired and from tho circumstances that I know it may be said afterwards, if I give a decision, that I was biased.
Mr Brindley then retired from the Bench, and his place was taken bv Mr W. D. Hanlon, who was in the court* Mrs Johnston, the boy’s mother, said that last Saturday her little boy was playing near her shop. She was called by her daughter, and, going into the shop, saw Mr Moir, defendant, shaking her boy very roughly. She told him to leave off shaking the boy, and he said he would' not. She went to get a policeman, but could not, and returned to the shop. Defendant was still shaking the boy. She went to the door again and came badk with a young man who was passing. Defendant kept shaking the boy all the time. The boy was six years old m June,
To Mr Sim: The most of the time defendant had the boy in the air. She picked up some sort of stick and tried to strike defendant, but he protected himself with his umbrella. Defendant and the boy were up on top of a heap of bags of wheat. The hoy ran up there in the first place, and defendant ran after him.
Lawrence Johnston, the boy alleged to have been assaulted, was called, and being too small to be seen when in the box he was placed on a chair. Ho admitted having called out a name to defendant, and said that defendant caught him by the back of the neck and shook him, hurting him. Jane Johnston, sister of the last witness,
said that she saw defendant and her little brother on a stack of wheat. Defendant had the boy by the back of the neck and was shaking him. This closed the case for the prosecution. said that notwithstanding what his friend had said, it certainly was a case which their Worships would be justified in treating and dismissing as paltry. After Mr Moir had given his account of the matter, he thought their Worships would be satisfied that the witnesses for the complainant had exaggerated the matter and would dismiss the case.
Mr Jones: DefAdant ought to have known better than to act as he did. Mr Sim said that Mr Moir had been subjected to a great deal of annoyance in this way. The fact of a nickname being called after one may be trivial in itself, but when it was frequently repeated it was calculated to annoy a man, and a man should not be subjected _to annoyance of that sort. On this occasion Mr Moir was so much annoyed
that he went back to the shop. He saw several boys there, and asked them which one it was that had called out to him. On being told which one it was Mr Moir simply took hold of him in order that he might ascertain his name. The boy immediately started to cry, and the mother came in and attempted to attack Moir with a picket, and would not discuss the matter with him. John Arthur Moir said that ho was relieving oflicer of the Education Board, and had been teaching at the Forbury School for some months. He taught the upper classes, and had nothing to do with the younger children. Ho had been passing Johnston’s every Saturday morning for some weeks. Last baturday morning when ho was passing he heard a remark called out from exactly the same place as it had been called on the previous two Saturdays, He turned round and saw two boys go into Johnstons shop. There were several small boys m Johnston’s shop when he went back, and he asked the biggest boy who it was that called to him. He pointed to a little fellow standing on a stack of wheat. Witness went up to the boy, who was crying, and put his hand on his shoulder and stooped down to ask him his name. The mother came in, and what with her manner and the boy crying he could not get at the name at all. Jd.e had no idea that be was a son of Mra Johnston. Mrs Johnston got a picket and began belaboring about witness’s legs with it, but did not strike him. He managed to keep the boy in between them, knowing that the woman would not hit him (the boy) He said to Mrs Johnston: “I have not hit your boy, but if you strike me I shall hit him. ’ He did not shake the boy intentionally, but he may have shook him when he took him by the shoulders. He did not lift him off his feet, but they were standing on a pile of bags, with one bag on the top, and it might easily be that when the boy was struggling he was occasionally clear of the pile altogether. When Mra' Johnston stopped using the picket he let the boy go, and told Mrs Johnston that she ought to teach her children to know better than to annoy decent people who were passing by.
To Mr Solomon: He was annoyed, but t «M Bry, ur H \ had been called Cockey Moir before by children, and on one occasion took a girl to the police station for calling out to him. He had heard what the three previous witnesses had said, and it was not true that he had hold of the boy. by the back of the neck. He did not intentionally shake him, but his feet may have been off the bags. He had hold of the boy’s arm, and prevented him from falling. This closed the case. °
After five with, his brother magistrate, Mr.'Jones'said: In this case the Bench are trf-opinion thatit was a trifling affair; at „ihe • same time we must eay that such things must be put a stop to. We do not want,to.injure Mr Moir’s position, in any way . whatsoever. _ But he did not show good sense"in molesting this boy in the way he did. , But I must say this: that I hope and, trust this will be a warning to the people of South Dunedin to teach their children to behave. They are getting notorious there in annoying the public in going and coming. No doubt Mr Moir acted on this occasion in hot temper, and with, no intention of committing an assault. He wished only, to got away and have no more said about it. But that is nob all. I think that Mr Moir should take no heed of children calling him any name, because, the more he notices it the more it will be done. Children, are children all the world round, and you cannot stop them. The Bench are of opinion that Mr Moir ought to be well reprimanded and not do ■uch a thing again. The case will be dismissed.
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NICK-NAMING SCHOOLTEACHERS., Evening Star, Issue 10416, 10 September 1897
NICK-NAMING SCHOOLTEACHERS. Evening Star, Issue 10416, 10 September 1897
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