Monday, 23 November 2020

Disturbance in Public-House

Another crime story. But this time just a bunch of over-refreshed sailors getting a bit naughty.

Kirkcaldy Court Sequel

Evidence was led Kirkcaldy Police Court on Thursday in the case in which six navymen were charged with having 1) on 6/5/44, within a public-house shouted and bawled, cursed and swore, used lilthy language, and conducted themselves in a drunken and disorderly manner; and (2) at the same lime, o, the same date and in the same public-house, wilfully and maliciously broke a glass panel, valued at 10/-,

The first witness for the prosecution, George Smith Anderson, publican, Townsend Place, Kirkcaldy, stated that he carried on business at Rose street. On the night in question the accused entered the public bar and asked for drinks. He refused them, however, as he thought that they had had too much already. One of the accused then banged tray down on the counter and demanded six beers. He asked them leave the premises, but they replied by asking for more drinks. They then began to curse and swear and use filthy language, remarking that they were fighting for him. They then left, but returned several minutes later to the lounge and tried to force their way behind the bar. They were again refused drinks and told to leave. They went out, but as they left the door leading into Rose Street, he heard the sound of breaking glass. He went to see what had happened and found that the glass panel in the door had been smashed. There had been no one else entering or leaving premises at that time. He looked outside and saw the accused running up Rose Street, towards the High Street. He phoned for the police, and when, the constable arrived and was given a description of the accused, said that he had seen several lads on the High Street, bearing that description. The accused were later arrested, and he went to the police station later that night to identify them.

George Wilson, barman. 51 Market Street, Kirkcaldy, who was behind the bar when the accused the public-house, said that he did not think they were drunk. They were in rather a rowdy mood. They asked to be supplied with drinks, but they were trfused and began to curse and swear. They went out, but came back again and went into the lounge, but were again told they would not be served. They again went out and as they were leaving he heard the sound of breaking glass and found that the glass panel of the door bad been smashed.

James Gordon Barclay, King Street, Kirkcaldy, and David Campbell, 29 Simpson Street, Kirkcaldy who were present at the time corroborated the previous witnesses’ statements as to the condition of the accused. 

Constable Walker, who was on the High Street the night in question, said that he was informed of a complaint against some young lads for a breach the peace om Anderson’s premises. He obtained a description of them and later found them on the High Street and took them to the police station, where they were later identified by Anderson and Wilson.

In reply to Mr David Usher, Burgh Prosecutor, Constable Walker said that when saw the accused on the High Street, they were under the influence of drink and very noisy. 

Three of the accused entered the witness-box, but while they admitted being drunk, then denied used filthy language. The glass panel had been broken in a mistake. 

A naval officer, who appeared on behalf of the accused, said that this was their first offence, and although they were a bit energetic, he knew them to be very well behaved. He hoped that the fact that they likely to be called away at any moment would be taken into consideration.

Mr Usher corroborated the officer's statement to the extent that this was their first offence, and added that he thought they had been Just a little too boisterous during their time off. 

In finding the accused guilty as charged, Bailie Fleming said that he had taken into account what had been said in their favour, and imposed a modified fine of 5/- on each.
Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian - Saturday 13 May, page 2.

A 5'- fine was basically a slap on the wrist. About the same as the price of 5 pints on Mild in 1944.

Love the description of the sailors as being "a bit energetic". It seems like the court went easy on them because they were likely to be sent into action at any moment. I can imagine how stressful that must have been.


InSearchOfKnowledge said...

Was that 6 May or 5 June 1944? Either way, it would seem that they would indeed see some action fairly fast!

Ron Pattinson said...


6th May.