1859 Free Press

March 12th – Police Court

Saturday- before Charles H Williams and Frederick Leverit Esqs

A Parochial Squabble – The surveyor of the highways, Thomas Watkins, summoned Wm. Harris, poor-rate collector, for refusing to give him the rate-books for the purpose of making a rate.
Mr Alexander Edwards appeared for the defendant:  It would appear that some apprehension was felt among a portion of the parishioners, that the surveyor was not acting as impartially as he ought to do in his official capacity and they therefore thwarted him as much as possible in the performance of what he considered to be his duties. Defendant it would seem was acting under he influence of other parties and it appeared in evidence that the book was in the possession of Mr Evans.
The magistrates regretted that such a case should have come before them and suggested that the parties should endeavour to come to some amicable arrangement. The defendant was ultimately ordered to give up the book and pay the expenses.

April 16th – Saturday – A Fowl Affair

Henry Plasted (Pudda) charged Mary Gibbon with having assaulted him. Mr Owen (Oak Cottage) appeared for the defendant.
The parties reside at the Goytrey and had been on friendly terms but complainant having, it was alleged, enticed defendants’s hens to lay in his barn and appropriated the eggs, a rupture had ensued. – These revelations created some merriment and the case was ultimately dismissed.

The Goytrey – Wm. Nicholls was charged with being illegally appointed as overseer for the above parish.
Mr Watkins laid the charge. – Defendant was ordered to call another meeting and come up next week to have his appointment confirmed.

May 21st

The Goytrey – Mr Owen made an application on behalf of the parish of Goytrey. He said through the course of the last two months their worships had appointed Mr Nicholls as surveyor; but the person who has been superseded refused to deliver up the books.
He therefore asked their worships to grant a summons against the ex-surveyor and it would be for him to state upon what grounds he detained the books. – The appointment was made by the parish first and afterwards confirmed by their worships.
The summons was issued for this day fortnight.

May 28th

The Goytrey Case – This was an adjourned case of assault, brought by William Harris, assistant overseer for the above named parish, acting for Mr James, the overseer, against Wm Gwatkin, an assistant of the rival overseer.
It appeared from complainants evidence that on Sunday morning about a month since, he was proceeding from the vestry meeting relative to the Railway’s Company’s appeal against the parish rates, when he met defendant, to whom he showed the notice.
This took place just before the commencement of service and in about a quarter of an hour after, he saw defendant engaged in putting up another notice beneath the first and complainant told him to desist, it was not required.
Defendant persisted and complainant pulled it off, when Gwatkin commenced “swaggering” his hand backwards and forward and eventually pushed complainant round by his elbow and put his fist in his face, when, of course, complainant “retired” thinking it very disgraceful conduct for defendant to exhibit before persons going into church.
This formed the grounds for complaint.

In cross-examination by Mr Greenway, witness stated that he never threatened to serve defendant out and entertained no ill-feeling towards him. He had not been instructed by any person particular to bring forward the charge, although there were several who had indirectly persuaded him to do so but he was not bound to give their names.
Defendant had no right to publish the notice, because it was his (complainant’s) duty. Did not closely examine the notice which Gwatkin had posted, but could see it was in his handwriting.
Mr Greenway was proceeding to question the complainant regarding his right to pull the notice down and whether it referred to other matters that that previously posted, when the bench stopped the case by expressing an opinion that there were grounds for the charge of assault.
Mr Greenway applied for the costs of this and a former adjournment but the magistrates advised each party to pay their own expenses.

June 4th

The Goytrey Surveyors – Mr Wm Watkins, ex-surveyor, was summoned for neglecting to deliver up the parish books, writings and other property belonging to the parish.
Mr A Edwards appeared on behalf of the parish and called Mr Wm Nicholls, who stated that he was recently appointed surveyor of highways for the parish of Goytrey and that on the 20th of April he applied to Mr Watkins for the books and papers. He refused at first to give them up but arranged to meet on the 28th and promised to do so then. He accordingly went to his house on the day named and showed his appointment.
Defendant went into another room but returned in about a quarter of an hour when he refused to give up the books and had retained them till the present time.
Mr Watkins asked witness whether the fourteen days had expired from the time he gave notice of his appointment, when he applied for the books.
Witness answered in the negative, nor had he made any demand for them since. Defendant thought the bench had no authority to make this appointment and he should not have refused if he had not been persuaded that he was right. He still considered that he held the appointment and should therefore refuse to give up the books.
The magistrates said they were quite justified in making the late appointment and defendant had full intimation of the fact from his successor who had called upon him to surrender the books &c., which he ought to have done.
They should therefore inflict upon him the full penalty of £5. A rate of 19s 6d collected by him was also ordered to be paid.
Mr Watkins gave notice that he should appeal at the next quarter sessions.

September 17th

Violent Assault on a Police Officer – James Williams, Wm Waters and Enoch Waters, three powerful looking young fellows, were charged with violently assaulting PC Thomas Lewis at Goytrey on the night of the 3rd inst.
He stated: I was returning from Pontypool on the night in question and when about half a mile from the station on the Goytrey-road, I heard the defendants coming along, making a great noise, shouting and singing.
When they came up I asked them to be quiet and not to disturb the people in bed. Enoch Waters began to curse and said “you are too big a man for your clothes.”
Witness replied “you are always the same when I speak to you.” He then pulled off his coat and challenged me to a fight and when he came towards me I caught hold of him by the collar and taking the handbolts out of my pocket, told the others to stand back and not interfere. Wm Waters rushed in-between us and I struck him with the hand cuffs. James Williams then gave me a severe blow on the fore-head which stunned me and knocked me down. Felt the kicks coming but could not say a word. I remained on the ground till Mr James came and assisted me home, where I have since been in bed until today. I have three cuts on my head which were sewn up by Mr Steele, who attended me and the whole of my back is very much bruised.
In cross-examination by Mr Owen, he stated he had three glasses of beer in Pontypool and two at Mamhilad before he met with complainants.
Mr James of Goytrey, deposed to hearing the row in the road near his dwelling and some-one called out, “if you let me go I’ll give it you.” They moved further off and subsequently he heard some-one groaning and on going out to see what had occurred he found Lewis on the ground and assisted him to get up. He said he thought his arm was broken. The defendants afterwards came up and Waters said they had done nothing to annoy the policeman but that he interfered with them.
Did not think that the policeman was drunk at the time. Evan Jones was also called and disposed to hearing the row while in his house and also to seeing the defendants on their return to the spot…a man named Roberts, who’s wife dressed the wounds, spoke of the severe nature of the injuries received by Lewis, as did also Serjeant Wright.
Mr Owen addressed the bench at great length and called several witnesses to prove that the policeman had exceeded his duty previous to meeting with the defendants, one of them, named Thos. Jenkins, stated that he stopped him as he was going home across a field and threatened to take him into custody, telling him he had no business out that time of night.
The bench having consulted for about ten minutes, returned into court, C H Williams Esq., addressing the defendants thus:- We are fully satisfied from the evidence addressed, that the assault has been of a very aggravated character. It is true there is no direct evidence to show what took place at the commencement; nor have we sufficient reason to suppose that the constable exceeded his duty on this occasion.
Granting these allegations, however, to be true, it would take a great deal more than to palate the very violent assault committed upon the policeman; and you are fortunate in not being arraigned on a more serious charge, for it is quite clear his life was in danger. It behoves us to throw especial protection around men occupying the position of a policeman and we shall therefore fine each of you £5 or in default, two months imprisonment…The money in each case was paid.

November 5th

Wednesday before Wm Williams Esq.
Sheep stealing – Wm Plaisted was brought up in custody with stealing a sheep, the property of Mr James Cook, farmer of Goytrey…Serjeant Wright deposed that he went to the prisoner’s house on Monday last and found the carcase of a sheep which had recently been slaughtered.
He then proceeded to the field where the sheep had been killed and found the entrails and skin. He tracked footprints leading across the field to prisoner’s house, where he subsequently returned and apprehended prisoner, who said in answer to the charge, “it was not my fault, it was another man who did it.”
Remanded till Saturday.

November 12th

Stealing a pick-axe – William Cobner (Pelham or Pear Cottage) was charged with stealing a pick-axe, the property of Owen Davies on Tuesday last.
Mr Greenway for defendant… the prosecutor identified the pick-axe as his property, although in cross-examination he acknowledged that he had not seen it for three years.
Defendant’s son also swore to the pick-axe, which he found in a blacksmith’s shop where it had been conveyed by the defendant. This witnesses subjected to a severe cross-examination, in the course of which he admitted having once given a man into custody on suspicion of stealing a watch and afterwards found the had confided it to the safe keeping of a friend.
The Bench, after some further evidence, said they were not satisfied as to the identity of the article in the present instance and dismissed the accused.

Sheep Stealing – Wm Plaisted was brought up on remand, charged with stealing a sheep, the property of Mr Thomas James, farmer, of Goytrey.
Complainant’s son stated that he had 80 sheep on tack in Mr Jenkin’s field, Pentyvach and on the 31st ult., he missed a sheep, the skin of which he found in an old quarry near and identified it by the ears and the pitch mark.
He proceeded to the residence of PC Lewis and gave information, who accompanied him to the prisoner’s house and found the carcase upstairs.
PC Lewis corroborated this portion of the evidence and deposed to apprehend the prisoner.
Sergeant Wright stated that he went to the field where the sheep had been slaughtered and tracked footprints leading to the prisoner’s house, which he found to correspond with his boots.
Prisoner said “It was not my fault, it was another man who put me to do it.”
Thomas James senior, was also sworn and identified the head and ears produced as portions of the missing sheep, prisoner met the charge by making a statement to the effect that his brother (who rented a field near the place) had sent him to kill it. A second charge was preferred against the prisoner for stealing a bushel of wheat the property of his brother and which had been taken from a barn.
Henry Plaisted appeared and identified the wheat and after some further evidence had been taken, the prisoner was committed to take his trial upon both charges at the next quarter sessions.


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