1896: Drunk and disorderly quartet fight at the top of Place Walk

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 28 January 1896


—Cuckfield ,


Edward Bourne, Bolney, was summoned for drunkenness and riotous behaviour on the highway at Cuckfield on the 18th inst., pleaded not guilty.

Cuckfield High Street circa 1900

—P.C. Safer said he saw defendant and two other men come out of a shop at 11.40 p.m. They used filthy language. Witness told them to stop such conduct and get away home. Defendant, who was drunk, said “Who's that?” and one the others replied “A policeman.” Defendant then made use of a filthy expression regarding witness. After four or five minutes defendant went away with the others. Witness knew defendant was drunk because be was staggering about.—Defendant denied using the language attributed to him—he “never used no language.”


—James Selsby, hoop-shaver, Ansty, called as a witness, said he had been drinking with the man. Defendant was not drunk, and had only had a pint of ale and some rum.


—By Superintendent Smith: Witness did not see any fighting. He would swear that. He saw some play, but neither the men had their clothes off.


—Defendant was fined 6d., including costs, seven days.—The money was paid.


Thomas Selsby was similarly summoned. —P.C. Suter said defendant was outside the shop mentioned in the last case, when three men came out. Quarrelling ensued, and the men went down the road about fifty yards. Witness next heard a scuffling noise, followed by a voice saying “Arms up, Tom. Get away, Jack.” Witness went to the spot, and defendant denied having hit anyone, but squared up and said “You can have more”. Willett (another defendant) had a fresh looking scar on his face. Defendant was drunk and staggering.—Defendant denied being drunk, but called no witnesses.—Fined 7s. 6d including costs, or seven days.—The money was paid.


John Willett, summoned for being drunk at Cuckfield, pleaded not guilty.—P.C. Suter’e evidence was on similar lines to that given in the previous cases. Defendant was drunk, and had a freshly-made wound on his face. On persuasion Willett went away.—By defendant: Witness called at the shop mentioned and was told the people thought the two previous defendants were drunk, and defendant was thought to be sober.—James Selsby said defendant was not drunk; he had only had a pint of beer and threepenny worth of rum.—By Superintendent Smith; Witness did not see the play, and would swear no one said “Hold your arms up, Tom.”—Defendant said they were not fighting, but scuffling, and never intended to fight.—The Bench said there was a doubt in the case, and dismissed the summons,


Charles Truman was similarly charged.—P.C. Suter again gave evidence, and said that when he ordered defendants to stop their bad language, Truman pulled a bottle of beer, or what witness thought was beer, from his pocket, and invited witness to have a drink. Defendant added he was nearly “sprung,” and was quite the other Saturday sight.—Defendant staggered about—James Selsby denied that Truman was drunk. He did not see him offer the policeman drink, nor did he see a bottle. The affair came off at the top of Place-walk.—Defendant, who contradicted the constable's evidence as to offering him drink and having a bottle, was fined 5s. including costs. - The money was paid.

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