CHARGE OF NEGLECT OF DUTY.
Huddleston PATTERSON, a young man in the employ of the Lancaster and
Carlisle Railway Company, was charged by the Company, under the 5th and 6th
Vict., c. 55, with neglect of duty.
MR. SAUL appeared for the Company, and MR. DONALD for the defendant.
Mr. SAUL having read the section of the Act under which the information had
been laid, said that the defendant was a signal man in the employment of the
Company. On the 3rd of this month he was directed to go out and signal so
as to stop any train that might come from Carlisle on its route to Penrith,
there being some ballast waggons on the line towards the latter place. That
was his duty. The superintendent was on duty also, and he went in search of
the defendant to see if all was right. He found him lying asleep on the
bank, neglecting the duty he was sent there to perform. The superintendent
went up to him and shook him, and it was with difficulty he awoke him. The
superintendent would tell them that a train might have come upon them, and
if that had occurred the consequences must have been very serious.
George HARKER was then called. He said he was in the employent of the
Company. On the 3rd of this month the defendant was sent out to signal.
There were some ballast waggons on the line between Wreay and Southwaite.
It was the defendant's duty to go in front of them and stop any waggons from
coming up. As they were about to move the ballast waggons he (witness) went
to caution the defendant to move further down. He found him lying asleep on
the slope of the line. He went in front of him to see whether he was asleep
or poorly. He gave him a good shaking and roused him up. He took up the
signal and gave it to him, and said "Be off, you rascal." If a train had
come up while he was in that condition, they would have been in great
danger. There were 30 men with the waggons besides witness.
MR. REES-But for your shifting the ballast waggons you would ***** looked
WITNESS-We would have "blown" him in.
MR. SAUL-What time of day was this?
WITNESS-It would be 3 o'clock when he got there, and perhaps 3.40 when I
went to him.
MR. REES-Was a train expected soon after that?
WITNESS-We never know when they might come. We had notice of one to come
past at 4.20.
MR. DONALD-Was he not sitting with his face in the direction of Carlisle?
WITNESS-No, he was not.
MR. DONALD-Was there not a down train passed before that on the other rails?
WITNESS-There was one between dinner time and then.
MR. DONALD-Was there not one a few minutes before that?
WITNESS said there had not been one. He did not see one.
MR. DONALD-You sent him out after this to signal?
WITNESS-He was out on the same duty with a ballast engine.
MR. DONALD-He had only been two days in the service of the Company when this
Barnaby BAINS, inspector of the line, spoke to sending the defendant out to
signal, and also to ordering HARKER to tell him to move.
MR. DONALD said he was instructed by the defendant to say that he was not
asleep, and that a mineral train passed a few minutes before this occurred.
If the case were adjourned he could prove that.
MR. REES-Was there a mineral train?
BAINS-I recollect it passing, but it did not interfere with us in our work.
I can't say whether it passed before or after.
MR. SAUL-The Company don't wish to press the charge if he can say anything
MR. REES-But there is the question, how came this man after he had
transgressed, to be sent on the same duty again? Can you account for that?
MR. SAUL explained that the Company found the report on the books some time
after it occurred. They thought it their bounden duty, for the safety of
the public, to bring this charge when they became acquainted with the
circumstances; the man going on with his duty in the meantime.
The case was ultimately adjourned till Wednesday to enable the defendant to
prove the passing of the mineral train.
COUNTY MAGISTRATE'S OFFICE,
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 17
Present: REV. WM. REES, and THOMAS BARNES, Esq. M.D.
CHARGE OF NEGLECT OF DUTY.
Huddleston PATTERSON, remanded on Saturday, charged by the Lancaster Railway
Company with having neglected his duty came up again to-day.
MR. SAUL called several witnesses for the prosecution. They spoke to seeing
the defendant lying on the slope of the line after having been sent out to
signal trains approaching from Carlisle. One of the witnesses said that
defendant ought to have stationed himself upon the line; if a train had
come up and he had signalled to it from the slope, no attention would have
been paid to the signal, and most probably it would have run into the
ballast waggons, and most serious results must have ensued.
MR. DONALD, for the defendant, cross-examined the witnesses to show that the
man with the ballast engine ought to have used his whistle; but the Bench
did not think that his neglect to do so at all affected the charge against
MR. DONALD then called Joseph BLACK, fireman on the down train, which passed
Wreay about three o'clock on the 3rd inst. He said that when they passed
defendant he was standing up; and they nodded to each other in passing.
MR. SAUL-You don't know whether this was before or after he was found lying
WITNESS-No I don't
MR. DONALD-Where were the waggons when you passed.
WITNESS-They were filling them.
The case was heard at some length, and Mr. BEEBY, superintendent of police
on the line, defined the duties of defendant, after which
MR. REES said that defendant's neglect of duty might have endangered the
lives of many men, for he was a kind of sentinel placed there; and if he
had been in the army he would have been shot. The Bench, therefore, would
fine him £2 and in default of payment, a fortnight's imprisonment with hard
labour. The offence was committed whether he was asleep or whether he was
awake from his lying down upon the slope. The costs to be paid out of the
Mr. BEEBY applied for the expenses of several witnesses who had had to
leave their work to attend. The Bench said that defendant must pay them if
he pressed his application.