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Mr H. W. Bishop, S.M., sat at the Magistrate's Court this morning, when the hearing of the charges arising out cf the recent police raid on alleged gaming houses were commenced.

Mr Stringer appeared for the prosecution.

Matthew Livingstone (Mr* Harper) pleaded guilty to a charge of having, within six months past (oil December 26), kept a common gaming-house in premises at Hereford Lane. Sentence was deferred.

Matthew Barnett and Peter Grant (Mr Harper and Mr Cassidy), chargea with a similar offence w^th regard to premises situated at 163, Hereford Street, elected to be tried by a jury.

"William Chrystal, chief detective at Christchurch, said that tho defendants had carried on bi^iness together for many years as bookmakers, at 163, Hereford Street. In the afternoon of January 1 he entered the premises by virtue of a search-warrant. Grant and an oflice-boy were there. There were tv/o rooms and a strong-room. Grant was in the front office at the time. A large number of circulars were found, bearing the name of the firm. A book, produced, recording 664 betting transactions on double events for the last year, was also found. A record of double events bets on the Auckland Cup was also found. Telegrams of a recent date, referring to horse-racing, were also seized. . A large quantity of racing cards and other papera relating to the business of the firm were also secured, as well as about 1800 blink cheques. All papers in the office related to betting transactions, except some receipts. The office, which was not visited by very many people, had been under observation by Detective Ward for some time. Detective Cox, Sergeant Donovan and Constable Harvey participated in the search. Barnett had come, to the front door during the search, but Grant advised him to go away, as he might get into trouble. The defendants had been in their present premises for about five months. For some years previously they had occupied premises opposite. John Donnelly, constable, stationed at Christchurch, a recent arrival from the North Island, said that on December 26 he had gone into the Hereford Street office, wtere he saw both defendants. He said to Barnett, "I want to make a bet on Paritutu in the Auckland Cup." Barnett replied, "I don't bet with strangers," and he left the offioe. On December 27 he again entered the office, when both defendants were again present. IY&' said he wanted to back Rubrette in the Farewell Handicap at Dunedin for 10s. Barnett asked him his name, and he replied "Donnelly." Barnett wrote the name, ae weli ae that of the horse, on a pieoe of paper, spelling "Donnelly" with only one "1." The money was taken, and the slip of paper handed to Grant. On Deoember 28 he again visited the office, Grant alone being prer eent. Witness asked to back Whakawihi at Taranaki for 10s, but Grant replied, "I don't bet with strangers.. 1 have investigated your case." He told Grant that he had betted with Barnett on the previous day, and Grant said he did not care. He said he would come again and see Barnett, and Grant replied, " We have to be rather careful on this side of the counter,' as we are liable to a heavy penalty.*' He also remarked, <c You are big enough for a policeman." Witness returned later in the day, when Barnett and the boy were in the office. The boy was speaking through the telephone about horses. Barnett refused to bet, saying that witness would have first to get someone to vouch for him. He said that he oould easily bet in Wellington, and Barnett replied, " You oould get a note from a Wellington bookmaker, and then I would "bet Tvith you."

To Mr Harper : He was in the police force when he visited the offioe. He received his instructions from Detectives Ward and Bishop. He got money for the purpose of betting. He had told the defendants that he was a blacksmith. He was a blacksmith before he joined the force.

Constable Roberts said that on December 27 he went in plain clothes to the defendants' office, and told Barnett that he wished to back a horse". Barnett replied that he did" not bet with strangers.

This closed the case for the prosecution." •

The defendants reserved their defence. '

Mr Harper asked that the Magistrate should consider whether, on the evidence, there was a prima facie case whioh would justify the expense of a Supreme Court trial. The material brought out for the prosecution simply showed that the office was used for the purpose of recording betting transactions. There was no evidence of betting having been carried, on there,/except on the word of one witness. There was no evidence that anybody had been asked to come there and bet, and there was nothing on the faoe of tlie docurte produoed that anybody might have on his person or in hie private house.

Mr Bishop said he did think there was- a prima facie case. Both defendants would be committed for trial at the next session of the Supreme Court. Bail was allowed, each in £100 and one surety of £100.

On behalf of Livingstone, who had pleaded guilty, Mr Harper said that he would ask for & moderate penalty. It was the first time the defendant had been before the Court on a similar charge, and he believed that on the evidence there 'was nobody on the premises at the time of the raid with the exception of , Livingstone's wife. Mr Bishop said that the maximum' penalty was £100, and he could not inflict a nominal fine. He was not going to deliver a homily on the general question, although he held very strong opinions on the subject. - But as long as the Legislature did not take steps to majte it easier to put a stop to the practice of betting, he did not purpose to deal differently with the matter. He did not know whether it was any business of hi6 to draw any further attention to the questicn than it had reoeived for a long time past. Every thinking man in the community deplored the present condition of things. Defendant would be fined £50 and costs. r .

John Ross (Mr Erwin) was then charged that cn December 26, being the occupier of premises known as 176, Colombo Street, he had used them as a common gaming house.

He eleoted to he tried -hy a jury. Richard Williams, stationer and bookseller, stated that Ross had rented a room above his shop for a year and ten months, paying 12s 6d a week. Access was obtained to the room from a right-of-way alongside .the shop. Constable Donnelly stated that on Do • cember 26 he visited Ross's room, where he found the defendant and a man named Hislop, as well as about fifteen others. He said, "I want 10s on Armistice im the Auckland Cup." Ross accepted the money, afld wrote down witness's initials. At _ the same time he saw a woman negotiating bets with'. Hislop, mentioning Mahutonga, Ou-arryman and Savoury for ■ different races. She handed £2 14s over the counter. On the following day, at the office, he paid Hislop 10s as a bet on Makaroff rn the St Andrews Handicap at Dunedin. On January Ihe went again to the office. Hislop, but not Rosa, was there, and there were six other persons in the room. He made another 10s wager with Hislop, and a 5s wager on Frederick in the Railway Handicap at plumpton Park. He tendered in payment a £1 note, marked

A B, of which he had taken the number.

Constable Roberts said that he had gone to Ross's on two <b ;. >. but could not got his money "on," n:~ Ross refused to bet witli strangers. However, he saw Donnelly making a bet with Hislcp. .

(Left sitting.)

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Bibliographic details

BOOKMAKERS AND THEIR BOOKS., Star, Issue 8517, 9 January 1906

Word Count

BOOKMAKERS AND THEIR BOOKS. Star, Issue 8517, 9 January 1906

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