Sat 24th April 1895
Station Assault Case
- Parent Category: The Keswick Guardian
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The Station Assault Case - William Stuart - V - John Ewart
. Mr Paisley , Workington, appeared for the plaintiff. and Mr. Chapman, Whitehaven for the defendent.- The claim was for £15 in respect of assault and battery. A jury had been summoned but the advocates agreed to leave the matter in the judges hand and the jurymen were relieved from attendance.
Mr.Paisley, in opening the case said the plaintiff was a carter living in Bailey`s yard, Keswick, and the defendant, who lived at Brigham. near Keswick was an overlooker employed by the C. K. & P. Railway Company. The plaintiff sought damage. for an assault and battery committed on the 2nd August. Mr. Paisley narrated the circumsatance of the assault, and added that the defendant was not a consatable armed with the usual authority and powers which the law give., but merely a servant In the employment of the Railway Company. He said he thought that his Honour after hearing the evidense, would come to the conclusion that more unjustifiable treatment had never been inflicted by any person supposed to have some little authority to keep order and that the damagees claimed were only fair and moderate.
William Stuart deposed that he was a carter living in Bailey's yard, Keswick. He owned a horse and cart, and made his living by carting. He had followed that occupation for seven years. He had gone backward. and forward to the station with the luggage olf residents and visitors during that time. On the 2nd August he received instuctions to go to the station to meet the 5.50 p.m. train. He got to the station about five minutes to sixr. The train had then gone. He was sitting in his cart, and drew up just beyond the main entrance , he saw Ewart, the defendant, who said " Move on out of that" witness asked him where he had to go. Defendant replied that he would "let him -see where," and took hold of the reins close to the horse`s head with his left hand and struck the horse with a stick which he held in his right hand , Finding that he could not move the horse that way, as witness held the reins, he pulled them from
witness`s hand. Witness got off the cart, pushed defendant by with his left hand, and got hold of the reins with his right. Defendant tumed round and hit witness across the left cheek with the stick. !t was a very hard blow, and made witness a bit dazed. He felt the blood flowing down his cheek. witness again tried to push him from the horse, and defendant struck him a second time a little lower down on the same cheek. He continued to flourish his stick. and one of the company`s porter`s , John Nicholson, came and took the stick from Ewart's hand. Witness went to Dr. Crawfurd and got his wound. dressed. He suffered great pain for three or four days, and was knocked off work by it . His face was covered with dressings for several days. He was of work ten days. He earned from 1O shilling, to 12 shilling`s a day with his horse and cart.
The doctor had seen him five times, he felt the pain extending down his neck still, and had felt it sometimes in his head, - Cross examined lhe bad been allowed to have his cart in the position before, though he might perhaps not have seen Ewart he did not see a bus coming, and if there had been it could not have got to the door. He had received a summons for obstruction. The defendent's duty was often the cause of row; he dare say the defendant had a difficult job. The defendant asked witness twice to "move on'- before touching the reins. Witness wanted his luggage and then he would have gone away. The end. of the reins were on the ground when witness got out of the cart. The defendant was standing side way`s and witness gave him a " little bit shove." Witness was not rushing at defendant when he struck. witness could not say what he called the defendant after the blow; he might have used a disgusting expression, but he could not remember, for he was dazed. H!
e could not say how the defendant's cap was knocked off; he did not see it on the ground. Very likely witness would be doing the best he could before the second blow was struck but he " could not mind it. " The second blow was nearly as bad as the firs t. The top mark on witness' cheek represented the first blow. He did not hear anyone call out " go for the-----" Re.examined - If a Carriage had come up with people witness would have moved from the door he had loaded luggage there score`s of times and had never been interfered with before.
His honour said he was willing to hear the evidence but as a summons had been taken out before the magistrates he should not decide until after the criminal case had been heard. He did not know why. The summons had been taken out before magistrates, and since he had heard that he wes on the point of saying he would not hear any more evidence. The criminal charge should be taken first. -Mr Chapman explained that there had been some correspondence: a demand was made for an apology from Stuart, and as there had been no reply a summonis was taken out -Mr, Paisley was quite willing that His Honour should hear both.-His Honour declined to do that after hearing the plaintiff's evidence he was inclined to think that one remedy might be sufficient, He would not decide until he had heard the decsion in the criminal case. When he heard the witness he would like the advocates to reconsider what he had said.-Dr. Crawfurd, who took the " sanitary oath, " said tha!
t on the 2nd Aug. Stuart came to his surgery between six and seven o'clock in the evening. His left cheek was considerably swollen and blood was flowing from two coetnaed wounds each about 2 inches long. >From the upper wound the skin was hanging. He appeared to have lost a fair amount of blood, as his clothes were covered with It. The tissue about his eyes were swollen. Stuart appeared to he dazed and he subsequently complained of headaches which was a natural reaction to the injuries The wounds were each as might have been inflicted by the stick produced, used with considerable violence.
Albert Vickers driver Lake Hotel, deposed that he saw the plaintiff Come up to the station in a cart. When he had drawn up at the staltion door, Ewart went to plaintiff and said, " You have no right there; you will have to move on." The defendant did not give the man time to get out of the cart, but went and got hold of the horse's head Stuart held the reins but the defendant pulled them from him. Stuart got out and with his right hand got hold of the horse's head and shoved Ewart with his left hand. Immediately afterwards Ewart stepped back and struck plaintiff on the cheek with his stick. Stuart seemed dazed. After some further " to do " Ewart struck a second blow. John Nicholson , Porter pulled the stick from Ewart's hand , he had seen carts at the place many times , There was nobody complaining of obstruction. Cross.examined ·he did not see Ewart stoop to pick up the reins nor did he see Stuart strike a blow. Ewart had a difficul!
t duty, and he had seen him have to order busses to move.
DavId Powley driver, Blencathra Hotel, said he saw Stuart leap to the ground and push Ewart away from the horse. Ewart drew back and struck plaintiff a savage blow across the face. It was a cowardly affair.-Mr. Chapman: You need not give us your opinion. -Witness l am speaking of what I saw. Stuart hit the defendant in the face wlth his flat hand. Witness told Stuart not to do that but use other means . An old gentleman, who was standing near said the defendant was not fit for his place and that the Railway Company ought to be ashamied of themselves. Stuarts cart was where luggage was loaded and unloaded Anyone going for luggage would naturally go to the station door.
-Cross Examined Witness did not know that he disliked the defendant except for having seen him abuse horse`s . Witness had had no row with the defendant; the defendant had tried to pick a quarrel with him , He would not swear that he did not say " Go for him " for he was exited; but he advised Stuart to use other means. He saw Stuart push the defendant, who stepped back and struck Stuart , He
only saw the plaintiff strike once -- Re Examined ; The defendant stepped back for the purpose of hitting Stuart properly . If any person had been down at the coal cabin he might have heard the blow , He did not know how Stuart " bid " on his feet ,
it was a " terrible crack "
Thomas Fiddler , coach driver for Mr Rigg Windermere gave corobarative evidence as to the nature of the assault.-Cross Examined - He heard several shout ·" Go for him! " while others advised the plaintiff not to strike. He heard a gentleman say it was a very wrong thing for Ewart to strike. He 'quite believed the defendant had a very difficult Job, and that there was some bad feeling toward him.-
Re examined ;He thought if the defendant was more civil there would he less bother , John Nicholson said he was an assistant porter, and his attention was drawn from the platform by the noise outside. He saw the defendant strike the plaintiff a blow which "slipped." from the cheek on to the shoulder, and he took the stick from the lnspector He had seen carts loaded where the plaintiff's cart was standing.
Cross examined: He did not know the rules of the stands. He took the stick out of the inspector's hand because he was afraid of further injury to the plaintiff , Thomas GrisedaIe, said that while the cart was where it was a carrage might have delivered passenger`s but it could not have goy to the door. He also stated what he saw of th affair.Cross.Examined: He did not think the inspector had a pleasant job -
This was the case fo the plaintiff. -Mr. Chapman preferred to leave his remarks till the close of his evidence and he called first the defendant, John Ewart who deposed that he was an inspector in the service of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway Company and lived at Brigham , His duty during the summer was to arrange the buses and conveyances as they came to the stand immediately outside the station , In other words, he had to control the traffic; The place where, the carriage`s drew up was the company's property. He bad done this work for ten months, and this was the first serious unpleasantness that had happened. He had been in the Cumberland police force for 28 years. He left with a good character and pension. It was, an exceedingly difficult matter to control the traffic at the station There was a place set for carts, about twelve yards further forward than where Stuart Was. The would leave room for other carriage`s. witness went up and!
asked him If he would he good enough to move on. plaintiff's brother had a cart standin In the proper place, but plaintiff refused to move witness waited a minute and asked him agair saying, . " Don't be stupid-draw your horse and cart beside that other one. " plaintiff asked, "what for?" and witness replied, "You are blocking the way, no cart or carriage Is allowed to stand there. Plaintiff refused to go and sat still in his cart saying." Move it yourself, you have as little to do as I have " Witness again asked him to move before taking hold of the reins. witness got hold of the horse`s head, and as he could not move without doing so, he pulled the reins from the plaintiff. He moved the horse about six yards forward, and the reins fell to the ground. witness was in a half stooping position, taking the reins from among the horse`s feet, when plaintiff rushed up to him and grabbed him by the neck. Witness pushed him off and when Stuart came at him again , struck hi!
m in the manner described. witness said he was knocked off his guard and had not time for reflection. He heard hostile shouts on all sides "Go for him ! " He particularly recognised the man Powley as shouting. Witness did not know that he had a single sympathiser in the whole crowd. The plaintiff continued to rush at witness and struck him three or four times on the side,of the head, an knocked his hat off. witness was not marked Witness struck the plaintiff a second time. There would be a block of the traffic but for witness. He admitted having struck severely and he sincerely regretted having done so.
- Cross Examined :
He had not a written appointment. He received his orders verbally from the manager. He could not say his orders would be one thing one week and another another. The manager was not so changable. The manager directed his attention to an act of Parliament about two months ago. It was the Act under which the plaintiff had been summonsed There was no carriage coming at the time the plaintiff was at the station, but the thorougfare was completely blocked. He could not say if the plaintiff would have got out of the way If carriages had come. He said the plaIntiff was under the influence of drink. Mr Paisley asked how was that question dare not be put even to the doctor. witness in reply to further question said he did not step back to strike. He regretted that the blow was what it was ; but at the same time he was driven to it He did n ask for asaistauce, All was done in a moment ; - He lost his temper. After the plaintiff got his face dressed he came !
and challenged witness to fight in the park. witness had to get out of the way -- Joseph M Cutts foreman porter. said the defendant's berth was a difficult one to fulfil. There was always some grieviance
Mr Chapman ; I think you said that It would require an angel.- Mr Paisley Oh ! don't, please, make Mr. Cutts an angel. I would rather have him as he is , I have no question to ask him.-
John W Jennings - clerk at the Railway said he was just outside the main entrance and saw the affair. Stuart's cart was in such a position that a carriage could not have come to the door on account of it
He heard the defendant ask Stuart three time. to move. witness thought he asked civilly. Stuart did not move while the defendant was moving the horse the reins dropped on the ground and while Ewart was stooping to pick them up Stuart jumped out of the cart and grabbed the defendant by the neck. There was some pushing between the defendant and plaintiff. Defendant stepped back and rushed at him ; then the defendant struck the first blow. A few busmen shouted “ Go for him ! " The plaintiff followed defendant and knocked off his hat. -Mr. Paisley did not cross examine the witness His Honour said he understood there was some possability of the advocates settling both summonses on this occasion.' and he thought it was desirable. -Mr. Chapman said there Was the difficulty of the petty sessional summons
-Mr. Paisey: His Honour has heard the facts , his Honour: My strong impression is that I cannot deal with that. I think this occasion should settle the whole affair. -Mr. Chapman my difficulty is that my friend is under the impression that the Railway Company would pay. The defendant would have to bearr the whole brunt. Except perhaps my fee`s , He is a man with ten children. It would be really a question of terms I quite agree with the suggestion of your Honour if reasonable terms can be come to. My friends must not run away with the idea that my client is a capilalist .
-Mr. Paisley remarked that he thought it would be better for all concerned If an amicable settlement could be arrived at than for them to stickle at legal righlts. He was willing to leave the whole thing in his Honour's hands.-His Honour thought it would be better to let this settle the the whole and he invited the advocates into his room.-The learned gentlemen retired with his Honour, and after a brief absence, on their return into Court, his Honour said he was glad the parties had come to terms, which included the withdrawal of the two other summonses , so far as the court was concerned he saw there was a great deal of feeling in the matter everybody who knew what Keswick Station was during the summer time on the arrival of a train. Knew that the officer charged with the regulation of the traffic outside the station had an exceedingly difficult place to fill The bus and carriage drivers, eager to get custom, resent any interference with their business, The!
officer whom the Company appoint is charged with the duty of regulatiug that traffic and drivers must conform to the regulations . It was perhaps better for the drivers that the officer did not happen to be a police constable; but he trusted a regularly sworn in officer would hold the office, In this case there was not the usual excitment on the arrival of a train , but there had been shortly before
and that would shortly recurr . He was glad the officer had admitted, and was sorry, that he had struck the blow. To strike with a stick in the way he did was wholly unjustifiable. Had he opposed such force as was opposed to him , that is with fists or hands or manuel strengh he would have been justified , Having said that , he hoped it wouldn assist the officer and bus drivers in the regulation of the traffic at the station .
( the terms of the settlement were not stated , but we hear that the defendant agreed to give the plaintiff £5 and pay costs )