A similar summons was then heard against an officer in the Salvation Army named Thomas Trevorrow, who was conducting a meeting on July 26th previous to the meeting complained of in the last case.
The defendant pleaded “not guilty”, and was represented by Mr. William Frost, solicitor, of Ranyer, Burton, and Frost, London, who said he was willing to admit the holding of the meeting, and the main features of the case.
PS Dengate gave similar evidence to that in the previous case, and said the Salvation Army and other people, between 30 and 40, were being led by the defendant. They formed a ring in the road, and commenced at six pm. The brass band played, and there was also singing and preaching until 6.35pm. There was a large number of people on both sides of the road in the High Street on the pavements. The entrance to Terry’s Lane was completely blocked. He saw several pedestrians obstructed on the pavements. A man kept part of the road clear, which caused more obstructions on the pavement. He saw no vehicles obstructed. As soon as they cleared one part of the pavement the people congregated on the other.
In his cross-examination, Sergt. Dengate said he could not dispute that the Salvation Army had held meetings there for the past 23 years. He had had complaints from foot passengers, who had had to step into the roadway.
Corroborative evidence was given by PC Ward.
Mr. Frost said he thought there was something more behind the case or they would absolutely dismiss such a case without occupying another moment of their time. There had been no obstruction, and only two or three persons had had to step off the pavement. It was absolutely absurd and ridiculous. For 23 years those people had been holding their meetings at that spot without a police complaint or prosecution, and it seemed to him that one was justified in saying a conviction ought not to take place in such a case as that. He had six witnesses who could prove that every effort was made to keep the roadway open. He called Richard Stephen Phillpotts, of Sydenham Street, who said he was present at the meeting, and he thought that no obstruction was caused by the meeting. A “comrade” was told off to keep the road clear. The police stood in the narrowest part of the road and obstructed it. They talked to one another.
Mr. Frost said he had six or seven more witnesses like that. (Laughter.)
The Chairman said the Bench came to the same conclusion as in the previous case - a farthing fine and costs. The magistrates had dealt with the case on its merits with reference to that particular meeting, and they had no wish to stop the meetings. If any other cases were brought they would be dealt with on their merits also.
Later in the Court Mr. Trevorrow re-appeared and explained that he would not pay the money and asked what the alternative was.
The Chairman said a distress warrant would be issued if he had any goods.
Mr. Trevorrow said he had no goods. His furniture belonged to the Salvation Army.
The Chairman (Mr. Wilbee, Col. Dickenson having left) asked whether he was acting under instructions, or was he doing it of his own accord?
Mr. Trevorrow said he was under instructions.
The Chairman: It is best to be open with you. We don’t want to make a martyr of you, you know. Why do you object to paying?
Mr. Trevorrow: On principle.
The Chairman: Well, in default of paying the money you will be sentenced to one day’s imprisonment, which means that you will be released at once.
Mr. Osborne: What is the alternative in my case?
The Chairman: A distress warrant, so you had better pay.
Mr. Osborne thereupon paid his 12s. 6d. (62½p) costs.