At Hertfordshire Assizes on Monday, Frederick Bates (31), described as a labourer, was charged with feloniously wounding James Nash, a farmer, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, at Bovingdon, on November 7. The prisoner pleaded guilty to wounding. Mr Ronald Walker appeared for the prosecution, and Mr E. H. Tindal Atkinson for the prisoner. It appeared that on the evening of November 7 the prisoner was seen poaching in a wood on Mr Nash’s farm along with other men. Mr Nash and his two sons went after them, and the prisoner was caught with a gun in his possession. The senior Nash tried to get the gun away; there was a violent struggle, and the prisoner struck Nash on the head with the gun, inflicting a serious wound.
Mr Tindal Atkinson said the prisoner was a man with an excellent character, and had worked for one employer, Mr Foster, at Boxmoor, for seven years. It was not a case of hitting an inoffensive old man on the head without provocation, because the farmer had attempted to arrest the prisoner and take away his gun. The prisoner had applied to join the Army, had passed the doctor, and was willing to be attested.
The Judge said that a good many people looked upon poaching with sympathy, but that was no excuse for using violence when caught. This was a very serious offence, and one which might have subjected the prisoner to very severe punishment. However, on the ground that it was much better for the prisoner and the State that he should be in the Army than in prison, he was going to take the lenient view that had been suggested, and the prisoner would be bound over on his undertaking to join the Army. If he did not join he would be brought up again.