Evangelists summoned to answer street obstruction charges

From the News Letter of August 1911

Saturday, 21st August 2021, 10:00 am
Crowds enjoy the heatwave in Northern Ireland this summer as the record temperature of 31.3c was set. Portrush East Strand. Picture: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Crowds enjoy the heatwave in Northern Ireland this summer as the record temperature of 31.3c was set. Portrush East Strand. Picture: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Several cases of alleged street obstruction were heard at the Portrush Petty Sessions, before Mr James Boyle, presiding, and other justices during this week in August 1911, reported the News Letter.

Much interest was taken in the cases in which Miss Jane Baxter, deaconess of the Portrush Evangelical Mission, and Mr Robert B Adams, one of the mission’s “most prominent workers” had been called as defendants.

They were charged with having, on different dates, “obstructed the public thoroughfares” by “collecting and addressing” a crowd of people.

The urban council at the suit of the town clerk were the complainants in the case against the evangelists.

Mr William Lewis of Ballymoney, for the defence, said, in his opinion an important point of law was involved, and it was his intention to employ counsel.

He asked that the cases should be adjourned for a month.

Mr H A Maculay said the urban council wishes to put a stop to the practice which was being followed by different sections of holding open-air meetings at a congested corner opposite the Methodist Church.

He said that there were other places in the town where open-air meetings could be held without obstruction being caused.

He added that if the defendants gave an undertaking that no further meetings would be held in the square at the Methodist Church during the interval then he would not oppose an adjournment.

Their Worships adjourned the cases, Mr Lewis undertaking on behalf of the defendants that they would refrain from holding meetings at the place in the meantime.

ICE-CREAM VENDOR AND BANANA SELLER FINED

Meanwhile, the urban council summoned Jack Dloogditch, “a foreigner”, for obstructing the public thoroughfare 
on 17th July, 1911 and other dates. The defendant, who was stated to have been selling bananas on the square adjacent to the railway station, was fined 10s, with 10s 6d extra costs.

For having offended in a similar manner, Jack Cumming of Main Street was fined 10s 6d and costs, as was Alphonso Boli, an Italian, for selling ice-cream in the vicinity of the station.