At Stevenage Petty Sessions Walter Vine, ‘The Gate’ public house, Whempstead, was summoned under the Defence of the Realm Act for keeping his premises open for the sale of intoxicating liquor to a member of His Majesty’s forces after 9 p.m. on August 8. The defendant pleaded guilty. He was not aware that he was not entitled to serve the soldier, as he was home on leave. The Clerk: ‘I am not surprised, as the regulations are somewhat difficult to interpret.’ Inspector Bowyer said that on the night in question a constable saw the soldier in the bar at 9.30, and he had a quart pot of beer in front of him. The matter was reported to the military authorities, who instructed him to prosecute.
P.c. Spencer, Walkern, deposed that he was in company with P.c. Edwards, of Ware, on August 8 at 9.30. They were making inquiries about a fowl robbery. When they called at ‘The Gate’ they saw Pte. S. G. Draper, of the Beds. Regiment, standing at the counter with a quart pot in front of him. The witness spoke to the landlord, and asked the soldier for his permit. He produced his passport, and the landlord said he could serve him as long as he liked, as the man was on pass. The witness told him he could not do so, and called his attention to the copy of the Order which was hanging in the bar. The soldier admitted that he had been served.
Inspector Bowyer pointed out that before a soldier can be served during the prohibited hours he must be in possession of a written permit, signed by the officer commanding his regiment. The defendant said he made the mistake of taking the pass for a permit. P.c. Hall proved the service of a copy of the Order on the defendant on July 8. The Chairman said the act had not been done by premeditation, and that the defendant had misread one of the clauses of the Order. They would treat the case with leniency, and order the defendant to pay a fine of 10s..