Officer fined for having bright lights

Hertfordshire Mercury, 4th December 1915


At Hatfield Petty Sessions on Monday, Lieut. George Sidney Richardson, whose address was given as the Newcastle Arms, Tuxford, Notts., was summoned for driving a motor-car with powerful headlights in contravention of the Defence of the Realm Regulations, on November 6, at Hatfield.  The defendant did not appear.  Supt Sullivan said that when the summons was served on the defendant he was ill in bed, and the police at Retford had informed him that it was very doubtful whether he would able to attend.  That was on November 20.  Lieut. Richardson promised to write, but he had not sent any further communication.

The Bench decided to adjourn the case for a fortnight, and Supt Sullivan was asked to write and tell the defendant that the magistrates were surprised that he did not send someone to represent him, even though he could not attend himself.  After the court had risen Mr G. D. Dean, a London solicitor, appeared on the defendant’s behalf and apologised for being late.  The magistrates consented to return to Court and dispose of the case.  Mr Dean said the defendant pleaded guilty.  PS Olding stated that on Saturday, November 6, at 6.55 p.m., he was on duty in the London Road near the Post Office when he saw a brilliant light shining from the direction of the Brewery Hill and the Square.  Immediately afterwards he saw a motor-car turn the corner with four lamps, throwing a beam of light 60 or 70 yards ahead.  He stopped the defendant who was driving and told him that his lamps were too bright.  The defendant said: ‘I have just come from Nottingham and did not know the Lighting Order applied to the county’.  Afterwards the defendant put out the two bright headlights.

Mr Dean: ‘How long has the lighting been reduced in Hatfield?’  The witness: ‘About two months’.  ‘And prior to that there were no restrictions?’  ‘No’.

Mr Dean, addressing the Bench, said that the defendant was a purchasing officer in the Army, and it was necessary for him to go all over the country in his car in connection with his duties.  He had not had occasion to be on this particular road since the summer, and at that time he was aware there was a lighting order that affected the London area, and was under the impression that he would be all right until he got to Potters Bar, where the Metropolitan Police area began.  It was not a wilful breach of the regulations, and now the defendant had had his attention called to the matter he would not repeat the offence.  The Bench inflicted a fine of 20s..

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