With the Temperance Movement at its height, cases like the following are hardly surprising. The authorities were keen to prosecute those who illegally sold beer. And, the tickets story just made matters worse. Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club had only opened the previous year, it operated from premises in Trough Well Lane.
Yorkshire Evening Post
Monday 29 September 1902
ALLEGED PERJURY AT WAKEFIELD.
A WRENTHORPE CLUB CASE.
SECRETARY, STEWARD, AND MEMBERS SUMMONED
Considerable interest was evinced at the West Riding Court, Wakefield, to-day, in the hearing of charge of perjury brought by the police against four members of the Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club and defendant. Their names were Scott Clough, club steward; Isaac Brown, miner; Henry Hartley, miner; Alfred Hudson, club secretary; and Jane Wright, widow, all of Wrenthorpe. Mr E Lodge defended.
Superintendent Crow, in opening the case, said it was not often that a case of this character was brought into Court. There were often discrepancies in the evidence of witnesses, but even the police did not say that every discrepancy of evidence in court amounted to perjury. In this instance, however, it was not a case so finely drawn as mere discrepancy between the evidence for the prosecution and for the defence; and he thought, after hearing the witnesses, the Bench would come to the conclusion that the evidence given by these five defendants was a pure invention and pure concoction to defeat the ends of justice. He ventured to say, too, that by that evidence they did succeed in upsetting and defeating justice.
On 1st September charge was brought against Scott Clough, the steward and caretaker at the Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club, the complaint being that on 16th August he sold beer without a licence to persons he was not entitled to sell to. Detective-officer Wagstaffe, in his evidence, stated that the evening 16th August he was watching the club, and saw number of women, including Mrs Wright, go there and come away with jugs containing beer. When the women got to their respective homes there were no men, who might have been members the club, to receive the beer. For the defence witnesses were called to prove that the beer was sent for members, and, as substantiating that, in the case of Jane Wright there was actually produced an order purporting to be filled up and signed by Isaac Brown, Mrs Wright’s son-in-law. The order was in this form: “Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club – Please supply my mother with pint of beer, and charge to my account – I Brown.” Each witness spoke in one way or another to the ticket. Clough said the order was given to him at the time the beer was supplied; Isaac Brown said he wrote the ticket out in a fish shop; Jane Wright said she received it; Hartley said was handed to him by Mrs Wright at the door of the club; and Hudson said he was shown the ticket, and also stated that the tickets were in general use. As a matter of fact, however, he (Superintendent Crow) would call witness to prove that the ticket was not printed until after the alleged offence! On the day after the summons was served a ticket belonging to the Westgate Common Working Men’s Club was taken to a printer’s, and 1,000 similar tickets ordered, 100 of which were supplied next day.
Evidence bearing out Mr Crow’s statement was given.
Mr Lodge submitted that in the absence of any evidence to show that defendants or any of them were the parties who gave the order for the printing of the tickets in question, there was no case to go before a jury. Prisoners were committed for trial at the Assizes.
Coverage of the trial, which took place in early December that year, is taken up by the Sheffield Daily Telegraph.
Sheffield Daily Telegraph
Wednesday 17 December 1902
WEST RIDING ASSIZES.
LEEDS TOWN HALL – TUESDAY. CROWN COURT.
(Before Mr Justice CHANNELL.)
Perjury at Wakefield.
Scott Clough (30), club steward, was indicted for perjury at Wakefield, the 1st September last. Mr Harold Newell prosecuted, and Mr C Mellor appeared for the defendant.
Saturday, the 16th August, Police Constable Wagstaffe was on duty at Potovens, Wrenthorpe, where there was a working men’s club. He saw a woman named Wright go into the club, of which the defendant was steward, produce a jug, and get something in it. She handed to him something which sounded to him like money. Wagstaffe followed her home, and she told him that she often went to the club for beer, because it was nearer than the public house. He returned to the club, and charged the defendant with having sold beer without a licence. Defendant replied that it was all right; if there was anything wrong he would stand by it. On the hearing of the charge prisoner swore that on the night in question a man named Hartley, who was member of the club the time, brought a ticket to him, with a note. The note was headed “Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club”, and said “Please supply my mother with a pint of beer, and charge my account.” It was suggested for the defence at the trial that the ticket had been given to Mrs Wright by her so-in-law, that she went to the club with the ticket, which was given for the beer, and that no money passed, the woman simply acting as his agent. Just prior to the licensing prosecution, and after the commission of the alleged offence an order for 1,000 tickets was given to Mr Mclnnes, printer, for the Wrenthorpe Club, the specimen given being one of the Westgate Club. This specimen had belonged to a man named Raby. No such tickets, it was stated, had previously been printed for the Wrenthorpe Club. Prisoner told the magistrate that Jane Wright gave her the ticket, and Ike Brown, her son-in-law, paid for the beer afterwards. Supt Crowe said that when the defendant was tried for selling drink without a licence he put in the ticket, and the case was dismissed.
Mr Mellor’s defence was that there was nothing to prove that the Club was not in possession of the tickets before the prosecution for selling without a licence, and that the order to Mr Mclnnes was for a fresh supply.
The jury, after a long absence, returned a verdict of Guilty.
Isaac Brown (31), miner; Jane Wright (60), widow; Henry Hartley (46), miner; and Alfred Hudson (30), miner, were indicted for having committed a similar offence in connection with the same case.
Mr Mellor said that after carefully considering the case he had advised the prisoners to plead guilty, with the exception of Mrs Wright, who could neither read nor write, and might have been misled over the ticket.
No evidence was offered against Mrs Wright and she was acquitted. The rest of the prisoners were each sentenced to six calendar months’ hard labour.