RAILWAY AND INDUSTRIAL HISTORY OF THE SOUTH WEST BLACK COUNTRY
Vol. 1, No. 33 ] SATURDAY, 17th., AUGUST, 1867 [ Price 1d.
AND DISTRICT PETTY SESSIONS
Charge Against Brickmaker Of Evading Railway Dues.
"Benjamin Henry Everard of the Old Hill Blue Brick Works, was charged by the Great Western Railway Company with making a false declaration for the transmission of a certain quantity of bricks by railway from Old Hill station. Mr.Motteram (instructed by Mr.Underhill, solicitor of the company), appeared for the prosecution, and Mr.Shakespeare for the defense.
Mr.Motteram said he appeared on behalf of the Great Western Railway Company, and the charge against Mr.Everard was that he gave a false account of the weight of a quantity of bricks which the company had carried to Tongham. He said the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act, 8th.Vic chap. 20, by the 99th. section enacted that if any person gave a false declaration (and that was mentioned in the 99th. section) he should for every such offence forfeit to the company a sum not exceeding £10. The section enacted that if any person gave a false account, that for every such offence he shall forfeit a sum not exceeding £10 for every ton of good so falsely declared. It was an offence to give a false account with intent to evade the payment of tolls. The facts were these: Mr.Everard was a brick manufacturer, and had his yard or manufactury near to the Old Hill station, and he was desirous of sending by the railway company a quantity of bricks to Tongham, and he gave the usual consignment in to the station master, stating that the truck contained nine tons of bricks. He declared by the notice that he had sent nine tons of bricks, and that ought to be true. Of course the company were not over particular as to a quarter of a ton or a few hunderedweights; but instead of there being nine tons there were twelve tons, and it therefore became not only a very serious matter to the company, but also serious in other respects, because they knew that the trucks were made to carry a certain weight; whereas if they were weighed with twelve or thirteen tons it became a very serious matter and might cause damage and loss of life. He would prove the delivery of the bricks, and he would also prove that when they came to Reading they weighed over twelve tons. It would therefore be for the magistrates to consider the intent, and if the company carried twelve tons and only received payment for nine no doubt but that it was with intent to evade the toll. It was not of the least consequence that Mr.Everard had not himself to pay the carriage of the goods. Everyone knew that if the consignee did not pay the carriage himself he got it some other way.
The learned gentleman then called the following witnesses :- Charles Tottendell, manager to the defendant, said Mr.Everard was a brickmaker near Old Hill Station. The consignment note produced was the form of the note used by Mr.Everand in his business. The hand-writing was Mr.Everards. He (witness) delivered the notice to the station master at Old Hill on the 1st. of June. That consignment note was in respect to a truck load of bricks to be delivered to Mr.Martin, the goverment contractor at Tongham. The bricks were loaded by carts. Mr.Shakespeare asked the bench to allow him to defer his cross-examination of the witness until the others were called, which the bench acceded to.
was next called. Was guard in the employ of the Great Western Railway
Company. Took a truck of bricks from Old Hill Station to Stourbridge on
the 1st. of June. They arrived at Stourbridge at 10 am.
James Brown was next examined. Was number taker at Stourbridge. He was on duty on the arrival of the train at 11.10 on the 1st. of June. Tranter was with the train. One of the trucks was loaded with bricks from Cradley to Tongham. The label produced was that on the truck. By Mr.Shakespeare: Did not take the label off the truck but copied the number.
John Grice said he was a yardsman at Stourbridge. When the train arrived on the 1st. of June, at 10 am, it was put in the siding, Was on duty at the yard until seven in the evening. The truck was not examined when he was there.
William Alcock said he was foreman at the Stourbridge Station. Had charge of the truck from the 1st. to the 2nd. of June. Had not charge of the truck the whole of the time until it started. Its destination was Tongham, from Cradley. - By Mr.Shakespeare: It was their duty to take notice of the labels on the trucks. - By Mr.Motteram: It was his duty to take care of all of the trucks that came to the station.
William Ashwell said he was watchman at Stourbridge. Had charge of all the goods that came there while he was on duty. Was there from June the 1st. to 7 am. on the 3rd. There were several trucks of bricks on the sidings, none of which were interfered with. The yard man started the train to Tongham - By Mr.Shakespeare: Did not know the number of the trucks.
William Farmer said he was a number taker at Stourbridge. Started the train at 10-30 am. on the 3rd. of June, and took the numbers. There was a truck in the train numbered 2027. By Mr.Shakespeare: Would not swear that the truck 2027 contained bricks. - By Mr.Motteram: Was sure that the truck 2027 was in the train.
Frederick Cousins said he was guard in the employ of the company. He was the guard on the 10-30 train which started from Stourbridge on the 3rd. of June. The truck 2027 was in the train, and it went to Morton-in-the-Marsh. It was not interfered with on the journey. - By Mr.Shakespeare: Did not know what the waggon contained.
Jonathon Cooper said he was the watchman at Stourbridge, and was on duty from Sunday the 2nd. of June till the 3rd.
Thomas Treacher said he received truck 2027 at Reading. It contained bricks. They were consigned from Cradley to Tongham. He received them on the 5th.; and on the 16th. they weighed them. They had not been interfered with. Was present when they were unloaded into two trucks. They were weighed before they were unloaded. They were weighed by the South Eastern Railway Company. - By Mr.Shakespeare: Knew what the truck contained, could not tell what any of the trucks contained. The label was taken off the truck and transferred to one on the South Eastern line. By Mr.Motteram: They entered the number of the trucks as they arrived. He understood to say that No. 2027 was one of the trucks that arrived on that day.
John Weightman, goods manager at Reading, said he removed the label produced from the truck 2027. He also removed from the same truck the invoice. Ordered the bricks to be weighed. The invoice gave the weight as nine tons. Did not see them weighed. By Mr.Shakespeare: Oxley saw them weighed. The consignee paid the carriage of the bricks. Took the invoice from the truck 2027. By Mr.Motteram: Had an object in taking the invoice off. It was to ascertain the weight, as his attention had been called to it.
John Oxley said he was foreman porter in the employ of the South Eastern Railway Company. He had truck 2027 weighed. It contained blue bricks. The weight was 12 tons 5 cwt. The bricks were then unloaded into two trucks. - By Mr.Shakespeare: The number of the truck weighed was 2027. The amount the truck can carry is stated in the trucks. - By Mr.Motteram: Took the weights as indicated on the truck.
William Baker, station master at Old Hill, said he received some bricks form Mr.Everard to be conveyed from Old Hill, to Mr.Martin the government contractor at Tongham. Made out one of the two invoices produced. Also made out the label on the truck 2027. The truck left Old Hill for its destination on the 1st. of June. - By Mr.Shakespeare: Had not a weighing machine belonging to the railway at Old Hill. They had the use of a weighing machine. Bricks from other firms were sent from the Old Hill Station.
Mr.Shakespeare then addressed the bench for the defense. He said Mr.Everard was a highly respectable brick master, and had carried on business for some period in a straight forward manner, although the railway company had attempted to fix that charge upon him. His whole life had been of a very different character, and what had occurred was through no fault of his own. The charge was that he had sent a certain quantity of bricks and given a false statement, with intent to defraud the railway company, the offence being laid under the 99th. section of the act. He here referred the bench to the 88th. section, and contended that the responsible party was that to whom the bricks were consigned. The bricks he believed were at the risk of that person. He asked the bench to decide that Mr.Everard was not the owner of the bricks. Supposing that after the bricks had left the yard some person had stolen them then Mr.Miller would have been the proper person to prosecute.
The bench ruled that the bricks were Mr.Everards' property until they were out of the cart.
Mr.Shakespeare continuing, said that it was customary among all persons sending goods by railway to declare the goods at a certain amount. The defendants manager who had been subpoenaed by the prosecution had been in the trade for a long time, and he told them the way in which weight was calculated. It was for the other side to say that Mr.Everard had made out a weight for nine tons when it was twelve. Mr.Everard employed men on whom he relied upon, and these men told him what was done in other places. Even when the man came into the office he did not tell how many bricks he was sending away, but simply that he was sending away nine tons, and that he wanted a declaration for that amount. He relied upon his workmen for the bricks being right and he sent away the bricks as nine tons. How therefore could they come to the condition that he intended to defraud the railway company? The company said the bricks weighed 12 tons 5 cwt. After the company had weighed the bricks and found so much more weight, they told Mr.Everard that in future he should declare for 3 tons 10 cwt. per thousand. That he contended was sufficient to justify Mr.Everard, as it showed that the company made a certain allowance. Mr.Everards character was most respectable and he would ask the bench to come to the conclusion that there was no intent to defraud the railway company. Mr.Everard was a young man just commencing business and it would be a serious thing for him.
Charles Tottendell, manager for Mr.Everard was then cross-examined by Mr.Shakespeare: Had been a manager of different brickworks for many years. In sending bricks they generally calculated three tons per thousand. On the 31st. May sent away 3,000 bricks to Mr.Martin, the government contractor. Mr.Everard did not see the bricks at all. Witness went to Mr.Everard and the latter wrote out the declaration for nine tons relying on what witness had stated to him. First heard a complaint about the bricks on the 2nd. of July. The consignee paid the carriage of the bricks, and it made no difference to them. He wrote nearly all the tickets. - By Mr.Motteram: Knew that 1,000 bricks weighed more than 3 tons. Knew that the consignee paid the railway company by the weight. Knew that they weighed more than he stated to Mr.Everard. The company charged 11s. 8d. per ton. The railway lost too much and the customer gained so much by the statement. They declared the bricks at 3 tons 10 cwt. per thousand since the 2nd. of July. Mr.Everard made out the consignment from what was told him. Had been paid for the bricks by Mr.Martin.
The bench retired and after an absence of a few minutes they returned. Mr.Firmstone said the bench, after a very careful consideration of the case, thought it was proved entirely to their satisfaction. He did not think it was a case that should be visited with any very heavy fine, and they would impose a fine of £1 per ton on each of the three tons that were found to be contained in the truck over and above the weight declared. They would give common costs in the matter."