TAUNTS NO EXCUSE


Clipart image of a pair of scales

It is often believed believed that once conscription had been introduced during the First World War, the harassing of men who were not in uniform ceased. The following article from the Advertiser seems to disprove the theory.


In the 31st May 1918 edition of the Epsom Advertiser the following appeared:
The Advertiser Masthead

TAUNTS NO EXCUSE.

At the Epsom Petty Sessions on Monday, John Joseph Nash (25), of 24, Heatherside-road, Ewell was summoned for assaulting Lucy Grant (Gaunt), of Woodley-terrace, Plough-road, Ewell, on May 20th.

Complainant said that about 5 p.m. she went to a piece of waste land to call her children indoors. They were playing on some trees that defendant had cut down. Witness remarked that it was a pity to have cut the trees, whereupon defendant told her to mind her own business. Witness and another woman were in the act of moving a log so as to form a seat when defendant struck and kicked her. He also struck a woman who interfered. Defendant clutched complainant by the throat until a man came and dragged him away. Witness had to be medically attended.

In reply to Mr. MacMahon, who appeared for defendant, complainant denied that she spent the whole afternoon on the waste land "nagging and goading him." Complainant did say perhaps it would do him good to go to the front, but that was because he had said, "Do you think that because your husband has been fool enough to go and get killed that I ought to go?" It was untrue that she had quarrelled with practically everyone in the road.

Mrs. Rickwood, a neighbour, said defendant knocked complainant down twice and kicked her violently on the thigh. Defendant soon cooled down, however, and said that if he had kicked her it must have been by accident. Witness did not see complainant strike defendant. It was absolutely untrue to say that witness, her daughter, and complainant nagged defendant and were "all over him." Eva Chorlton (married daughter of the last witness) said defendant struck her as well; and a neighbour, Mrs. Quinney --, also corroborated in some particulars.

Defendant stated on oath that he had been medically rejected and was working in a munition factory. On the afternoon in question he lopped off two boughs that were overhanging his allotment. Complainant interfered, and defendant told her to go away, but she insisted upon her right to stop there, and taunted him with being a "shirker". Complainant kept this up for about an hour, witness continuing his work. He denied making the remark attributed to him about complainant's husband. He merely said he was sorry for her. He pushed complainant and she fell over a log but he certainly did not strike or kick complainant. Complainant and other women "came for him" and held on to him. Defendant tried to keep them off. Some men came up and the scuffle ended. Complainant struck him twice in the face.

Leonard Robinson, a munition worker, of Woodley-terrace, Plough-road, corroborated as to the "nagging." He saw defendant "on the defensive with three women round him," but did not see any blows struck. Complainant was in the habit of taunting people about not being in the Army. - The Bench decided that an assault was committed under some provocation and fined defendant 40s.

The Chairman advised complainant not to taunt people because they did not happen to be in the Army.



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