Patrick WALSH (27), collier, 6, Atkinson’s Buildings, Whitehaven, was charged with having stolen a bicycle lamp from off a bicycle standing in James Street, Whitehaven, the property of Richard HOLLIDAY, lanourer, 2, Havelock Terrace, Workington, between seven and nine p.m. on the 12th July.
Complainant stated that he was at Whitehaven on the 12th July, and he had a bicycle with the lamp (produced) attached to it. He left the bicycle in a Lane off the St. James Hall about seven o’clock in the evening. He returned about ten minutes to nine and the lamp was missing. He valued it at 2s 6d. The police were informed.
Acting Sergeant STEWART said that at about 8 p.m. on the 19th he was on duty in the Market Place when he saw the prisoner standing amongst a group of men. As witness passed him he saw the top of a bicycle lamp under his coat. Knowing that one had been missing he watched the prisoner for some time. He saw prisoner pass the lamp under his jacket to a second man standing close to him. He in turn passed it to a third man standing to the left of the prisoner. Witness asked to be allowed to examine the lamp.
Prisoner spoke up and said, “What lamp? There’s no lamp here.” A large crowd of people had assembled, and Inspector THORNBORROW and P. C. WALLING came up. The three of them made a search, and witness found it in the pocket of the third man, named Henry SMITH. Prisoner took the lamp from SMITH, and handed it to witness. Witness questioned him as to how he got possession of it, and prisoner said, “It’s mine. I have had it over a month.” Witness asked him if he had a bicycle, and he said no. Witness asked him how he came to possess a lamp when he had no bicycle, and prisoner said, “I got it given from a man, but I don’t know his name, and never saw him before.” He also said he got it a little over a week ago. Witness told him to be very careful and to tell the truth, and prisoner then said, “Well, I got it out of the house. Witness said he would take possession of the lamp and make more inquiries, and at 2-20 p.m. on the 20th apprehended the prisoner, who at the police station was cautioned and charged. He replied, “I don’t know how I got it. It was in the house when I got up on Sunday.”
The Chairman (to the prisoner): Do you want to give evidence yourself?
Prisoner: No, sir.
The Chairman: Have you got anything to say?
Prisoner: No, sir.
The Bench retired, and on their return the Chairman said they had considered the case carefully, and they thought there was a doubtful element in the question and had decided to give prisoner the benefit of the doubt and allow him to go.