From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury,
2 March, 1900. 1d.
The case against Harry Williams for assaulting Annie Toms, which was
adjourned for defendant's witnesses to attend, was again called on.
The witnesses were ordered out of Court.
Defendant's statement was to the effect that on the Saturday night
before last he stood at the top of Ark Lane with some friends, when Mrs.
Toms and her son came by, and he asked them to have a drink, both of
them refusing to do so. Prosecutrix then said "my son shall kill you,
and you cannot kill him in the same as you killed my chap." They stood
there and her son ran indoors and got a poker and struck him three or
four times with it. One witness (Collins) took the poker away from the
lad and took him indoors, and defendant then went home.
William Collins, who said he was with defendant and two others on the
night in question, gave evidence in support of defendant's statement.
The Mayor: You want us to believe that Mrs. Toms wanted to put her
son, a mere boy, to fight Williams?
Witness: I took him indoors.
Mr. Bird: And the only offence was that he asked them to have a
Yes, sir. he struck Williams with the poker. I did not see Williams
strike Mrs. Toms.
The Clerk: Were you sober?
Witness: I was as sober as a judge. I had spent the evening at the
"Empire." I might have had four pints during the evening, but I don't
think a man could get the worse for drink on that.
The Clerk: It depends on the man.
Mr. Ramell: You don't say what drink you had before in the day.
Witness: I didn't have any. I am a hawker, and had been out in the
country all day.
Frank Simpson said he met the last witness and defendant at the top
of Ark Lane, and walked along Golf Road towards home with them. He had
not previously been in their company. Near the Gas works they met Mrs.
Toms and her son, and defendant, who had a bottle of beer in his pocket,
asked them to have a drink. He could not say what her reply was. They
looked like "having a few words," and he walked away towards Ark lane.
On coming back again, he saw young Toms strike defendant with a poker,
or a stick, and then he was taken towards his home by the last witness.
By Ald. Bird: Witness was present at the beginning, but did not see
Mrs. Toms struck.
By the Clerk: Williams was not drunk, but he might have had a glass.
Witness was sober, and recollected everything. He was in defendant's
company about five or ten minutes.
John Baker said he was in bed at the back of the house on the night
in question, and hearing voices outside, he came downstairs to see what
was the matter. According to witness' statement, the disturbance was
over when he arrived on the scene, although he asserted that he heard
Mrs. Toms make use of the words imputed to her by the other witnesses.
Previous convictions against defendant, for being drunk and
disorderly and for common assault, in February and December last
respectively, were proved by Inspector Ellender.
The magistrates having deliberated in private, the Mayor said that
they had decided to convict in this case. They had heard some
contradictory evidence, but they thought that Mrs. Toms had proved her
case. For assault upon Hawker, heard at the last Court, he would be sent
to prison with hard labour for 7 days, and for assaulting Mrs. Toms he
would have to undergo a further term of 14 days, making 3 weeks in all.