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Summonses against three members of the Nottingham Branch of the N.C.F., taken under the by-laws, were dismissed at the Nottingham Summons Court on May 24th, on a technical point raised for the defence.
The defendants were H.W. Lowe, of 174 Birkin Avenue; Richard Papworth, of 105, Egypt Road; and Thomas Parker, of 106, Bluebell Hill, who were charged with distributing handbills on the footway to the obstruction and annoyance of pedestrians. The “handbills” consisted of copies of the Tribunal, which were being distributed to people as they left the churches.
The names of two other members, Messrs. Levy and Bird, were also called, but in respect of these Inspector Hewett informed the magistrates that the men were in the custody of the military, having been fetched under escort. In consequence of that fact, he asked the summonses against the men should be allowed to be withdrawn. This was granted.
Inspector Bingham produced a certified copy of the by-law under which the proceedings were taken, from which, under cross-examination, Mr. Young, who defended, read an extract explaining to the magistrate that the by-law made it an offence for any person who “in any street or market-place of the city of Nottingham” distribute any handbills “advertising any trade, business or profession, or the sale of any goods, wares, or merchandises, or any lecture, entertainment, or performance.”
Mr Young: Have you looked at these papers they were distributing? – Yes sir.
What profession or business do they advertise? – None.
What goods, wares, or merchandise? – None.
Lecture or entertainment? – They advertise the tribunals.
But those are supposed to be courts of justice!
After corroborative evidence had been called, Mr. Young submitted that there was no evidence of any advertising. There were three small advertisements, but these advocated a cause and literature supporting that cause, and were not at all the sort of thing the by-law was intended to stop.
Tribunal, June 1 1916