Waving (or not) of a red flag

Hertford Mercury & Reformer, 24th June 1876

Transcript

Watford Petty Sessions Tuesday, June 20

Locomotive engine offence

Mr Sladen of Bushey, was charged with having a locomotive engine on the public highway, without its being preceded by a man exhibiting a red flag as required by the act of Parliament, on the 10th inst. Mr Turner was for the prosecution, and Mr McKenzie for the defence.

Inspector Chapman said that about 8:00 AM he was at the top end of the market place, Watford, when he saw locomotive engine belonging to the defendant in the street. Witness did not see anyone preceding it. On going further he saw man who was 125 to 130 yards before the engine with something rolled under his arm. The engine was then opposite to Mr Rogers, the Ironmonger. There were many persons in the street at the time. Witness followed the engine and then got onto it and asked the driver his name. His name was also on the engine. The man in front continued on until he got to the Colne bridge, but did not unfurl the flag.

Police Constable Thomas Pinner corroborated the above evidence. He said that the flag man’s hands were in his pocket all the time.

Mr Edney, dealer in coal, proved that the flag was not displayed.

William Nott, the driver averred that the flag was displayed during the progress of the engine.

George Oakes, the Stoker, corroborated the last witnesses evidence. He said that the man with the flag had his hands in his pockets and carried the flag over his arm so that it projected sideways from him. There might have been two folds of the flag unrolled. It was of a bright red.

Alfred Kitchener, the flagman, said he carried the flag the way described by the last witness.

George Rolph, a labourer, gave similar testimony.

The bench said they considered the case to be fully proved; even if the witnesses for the defence were correct in their statements, the flag was not displayed as it was required to be by the act of Parliament.

Defendant was fined £2.10 shillings and £2.07 shillings and sixpence in costs.

The Chairman said the bench considered the inspector did perfectly right in bringing the case before the court.

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