Kimpton painter's alleged theft

Hertfordshire Mercury, 13th March 1915


At Hitchin Petty Sessions on Tuesday, Edward South, painter, of West End, Kimpton, was charged with stealing a quantity of wood, value 2s., the property of Mr J.R. Chichester, at Kimpton, on February 20.  The defendant, who pleaded not guilty, was defended by Mr G. Passingham.  According to the evidence of P.C.  F. Fordham, it appeared that he was informed about 6.40 in the evening that someone was chopping wood in the meadow.  While proceeding there he met the defendant coming along the road with some wood, which on examination proved to be pea sticks.  The defendant told him that he had got permission from Mr Lawrence, but when he (the witness) saw Mr Lawrence he denied giving permission or having been asked.  The defendant was present at the time.

In cross-examination the witness admitted that South was carrying the sticks quite openly.  Mr John Lawrence, bailiff to Mr Chichester, said he first heard about the matter when South came to him about 7 o’clock.  The witness told him that he did not remember being asked; had he been, he would not have given permission as he had no authority to do so.  The hedges had been cut before and they wanted a stop put to it.  In cross-examination the witness admitted that he had known South for some considerable time, and had frequently spoken to him.  If he had asked for permission to cut some sticks the witness did not remember it.  The defendant said he had lived in Kimpton all his life and had worked with one employer for over 20 years.  He was positive that he had got permission from Mr Lawrence about two months before he went to cut the sticks.

After a lengthy consultation the Chairman said the Bench thought it was a case of one man’s memory against another’s, and in consideration of the defendant’s previous good character they would dismiss the case.

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