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FRACAS AT THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE., Star, Issue 4499, 25 September 1882
FRACAS AT THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE.
At the Besident Magistrate's Court this morning, Maurice Harris and Charles Louisson were charged) on the information of H. E. Nathan, with violently assaulting him on Sept. 13 at the Christchurch Synagogue. Mr Watson appeared for the complainant, and Mr Joynt for the defendants. The complainant stated thaf?*bn Wednesday evening last, Sept. 18, he was in the Synagogue. On entering he went to the seat he had occupied for the past 11 months. He had been sitting there for some time, when Mr Louis* son came to him, and desired him to leave that seat, saying he had got another seat for witness. Witness asked Mr Louisson if the seat he occupied waß let, and Mr Louisson replied in the negative. Witness then said he would not leave it -hit evening. Subsequently, on the same evening, Mr Louisson had shown Mr Victor the seat witness oooupied, and told him he (Mr Victor) was allotted that seat. Witness refused to remove. Then Mr Harris ordered witness out of the seat. Some altercation took place, and a policeman was sent for. The policeman came, and declined to interfere unless there was a disturbance. Mr Harris collared witßess by the throat, and with tbe assistance of Mr Louisson forcibly ejected witness from the seat. Mr Harris' son atruok witness in the face. Mr Joynt : " Then you were sun-Btrnck." (Laughter), Witness : _*?o. 3_», of the Synagogue rules, stated that the Treasurer should allot the seats of the Synagogue with the consent of the Committee, and witness considered he should not have been interfered with except by the Committee. A ciroular was issued when the new Synagogue was opened, dividing the seats into classea— A, B, and 0, at 3s, 2s, and Is per week respectively. Witness had applied for a C seat, and was teld that as there were only two applicants for suoh seats none would be allotted. Witness had taken the lowest possible seat shortly after the Synagogue wasopened, and had Bat in it unchallenged till the evening in question. There were chain whioh were free in the 0 division, but witness had objected to take one of these, because they were not convenient. To the Bensh : The Beat witness was occupying was a 2s seat, but he had only paid Ib a week for it. Cross-examined : Had understood that the Treasurer would attend to point out seats for the ensuing year half an hour before the service began. Considered that any person had a right to oooapy an unlet seat in any part of the Synagogue without paying for it. Mr Harriß is President and Mr Lewis Treasurer. Neither of those had authorised witneeß to occupy the Beat he was in at any time. Had applied for seats in subdivision C, but no ballot took plaoe in that class. There were some seats in division 0, on Sept. 13, which had been brought from the old Synagogue. Had not called Mr Harris a liar, nor boasted that he (witness) was the most cantankerous member of the Synagogue. R. S. Baphael, late Secretary to the Synagogue, stated that the seats in the new building had been classed as A and B. There were no C seats during witness' secretaryship. Knew the complainant wished to apply for 0 seats, but he occupied seat 829, and had doae so since the opening of the new Synagogue. Lewis Cohen, the present Secretary to the Synagogue, said there had been no allotment of 0 seats. There were seats brought from the old Synagogue to the 0 division for the accommodation of Mr Nathun, and they were in place on the Jewish New Year's Day, whon the disturbance took place. Hyam Wolfe, the beadlo and assistantreader at the Staagogue, also gave evidence. He stated that it was during an interval between the ordinary and special services that the President, Mr Harris, asked Mr Nathan to leave his Beat. He heard no angry words and saw no acts of violence used. Lewis Lyons, who was sitting behind Mr Nathan, also g}ve evidence of tie disturbance. P. Seiig stated that a " slight scuffle " took place, and Mr Nathan was put out of the Synagogue. Mark Abrahams gave similar evidence. Constable Costin, who had been sent for on the occasion, said ho had seen no blows struck, only a struggle. This concluded tho oaso for the complainant. For the defence Mr Joynt called Mr Harris, President of the Jewish congregation and a trustee of tho new Synagogue .* Produced a plan of the building, snowing division of seats ; also original rules, signed by all members of the congregation, including the complainant. Rule 113 provided that every person occupying a seat should pay for it. Mr Louisson had the consent of the Committee, as required by rule 39, to let tbe seat Mr Nathan had occupied to Mr Victor. f Xhero was no right entitling any member of tho Jewish faith to sit where ho pleased, but there were free seats specially provided. Is was necessary for the good order of the congregation that Mr Nathan should sit in the seat allotted to him in division C, in tho previous holidays. Mr Nathan's namo had been affixed to a chair in the 0 division, but it was not occupied, and, on Wept. 13, there were seats with book loxes in place of chairs, j At a public meeting of the congregation, held before Sept. 13, Mr Nathan bad Baid he wou'd defy tho officers to romovo him from any 6eat he chose to occupy. On tho evening in question witnees had aeked him quietly to leave the seat he occupied in division B, and take one provided for him in the 0 division. Mr Nathan refused, and called witnoss a liar, and made use of other objectionable expressions. Ho also said he would not move unless ho waß carried out. Witness lifted h;m up by the collar of the coat, and with assistance carried him to the veatry. Had not caught him by the throat, or used any undue violence. Witness had been connected with tho Christchurch Syn.goguo for 18 or 20 years. Mr Nathan had given a deal of trouble to the congregation. 0. .Louisson gave corroborative cvidonco. It was necessary that the arrangement of seats should bo adhered to during holiday services like that on Sept. 13. Scats had been placed in the C division especially for Mr Nathan's convenience. Had pointed out to Mr Nathan (before he took any soit) the seat allotted to him in tho 0 division. Mr Nathon would not take it, but sat in the B seats, and persisted in keeping there, although requested to leave for another member to whom the scat had been allotted. All the Beats were let in tho B ches. Mr Joynt called Mr Victor, but hia Worship said that there was no occasion for him to call further evidence for the defence. Mr Joynt was willing to leave the merits of tho case with the Bench, and called attention to Section 185 of the new Justices of the Peace Act, which stated that Magistrates could not decide cases of assault involving any qucßtion of title to any tenement, or holding such as he contended a pew was. Mr Wotson loft tho case with the Bench to pecide on its merits. | Hie Worship had no doubt as to his decision. 1 Thero bod been e> deal of contumacious ob-
stinaoy on the part of Mr Nathan in asserting a right to what he had no claim. There had been no unnecessary violenoe used, and 88 the defendants were the proper officers of the Synagogue, they were justified in expel* ling Mr .Nathan from this particular seat, to which, it appeared, he had no right. The case was dismissed, and complainant ordered to pay costs, £1 Is, and solicitor's fee, £3 3s.
FRACAS AT THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE., Star, Issue 4499, 25 September 1882
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