Under age ?

Hertfordshire Mercury, 31st January 1914


At Hatfield Petty sessions, Harry Duncombe, of the Boar and Castle Public House, New Town, Hatfield, was summoned for selling beer to a child under the age of 14.

PC Holding said that on 1st January 1914, at 6.55 p.m., he had been in St Albans Road, Hatfield, near the Boar and Castle beer-house when he saw a boy named Stanley Richardson on the step of the house.  The boy was handed a bottle (produced) containing porter, by Edith Skeggs.  As the boy had crossed the road the PC had stopped him and asked him what the bottle contained.  The boy said “A pint of porter.”  The witness then asked him his age and the boy replied “Eight”.  He took the boy back to the beer-house and saw Edith Skeggs.  She admitted serving him, and also not putting a seal on the bottle.

The Constable showed the defendant’s wife the bottle and she said “We never trouble about that, sir.”  He showed the defendant the bottle, and he said “There was one on, and it must have blown off.”

Stanley Richardson said that he had gone to the beer-house to fetch the bottle of porter produced.  He did not go into the beer-house, but had been served by Edith Skeggs.  He said that there had been no label put over the bottle.  The defendant produced a label and said that this was similar to  those normally put on bottles but that they were easily rubbed off.  The defendant handed the Bench a written statement.  The Chairman of the Bench said that the statement amounted to an admission that it might have slipped the girl’s memory to put the label on.  The Chairman asked “You can’t then say of yourself that you know it was put on?”  The defendant replied “No.  I was not there.  I was hard at work that day and the missus was getting my tea.”  In a further answer to the Chairman, the defendant said that it was the first time that any complaint had been made against him.

The Bench fined the defendant 2s 6d and 5s costs.

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