Thu. Aug 11th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

A LOOK BACK IN TIME: Practical jokes

2 min read

This account of a man brought before the magistrates, which appeared in the Isle of Wight Observer of 26th June 1880, shows that magistrates had no hesitation in speaking their mind about the behaviour of certain members of the public. Whilst Mr Gutteridge appears to have got away with his misdemeanour due to a lack of evidence, Mr Pittis told him exactly what he thought of him!

PRACTICAL JOKES.- On Monday morning Frederick Gutteridge was brought before the Borough Bench charged with being drunk. – Mr Josiah George Jones, living at 108, High-street, Newport, stated that on Saturday, the 12th inst., about 7 p.m., he was in his back shop. He heard the bell of the front door ring, and went out into the shop, where he found the defendant, who muttered out something about a “donkey.” He asked him what he meant, but defendant still said something about either buying or selling a donkey. He was drunk and said a friend had sent him there. Mr. Jones added that he ordered him out of his shop. He had no animus against the defendant, but wished the Bench to know that for a long time past a series of most cruel practical jokes had been played on him. – Edward Newbery, in the employ of Mr. Jones, corroborated the evidence of the last witness, and added that when asked who sent him defendant said he would not tell. – In answer to the charge, prisoner said “I weren’t drunk.” – Mr Francis Pittis, who presided, said that if a donkey was about there was no doubt who the donkey was, and that was the defendant. He was sorry the evidence was not strong enough to prove that defendant was drunk in the street. He, as well as others, was aware that practical joking of the most contemptible kind had been carried on for a long time by people who had not the pluck to do the dirty work themselves, but employed such “silly, half-drunken fools” as defendant to do it for them. The sooner these cowardly and ridiculous jokes were put a stop to the better. He would be only too well pleased to be on the Bench when the ringleaders could be brought before him, and he would then visit them with the most extreme penalty it was in his power to inflict.