Laughter in Court

For trespassing on an American Air Station on 20th February 1945, Fredk. A. Carter and Dennis W. Boreham were each fined 10s. by an East Anglian Court on Friday.

Lt. Wm. Culp, A Base Defence Officer, said that while inspecting the guard at 11.30pm on February 20th, he saw Carter with two other men on the aerodrome near the exit from the bomb dump. He asked them their business and one of the three said he was going home. He took them to the Base Defence Office and showed them to the corporal on Alert duty, then escorted them out to the road and told them not to travel that way again. Lt. Culp said he tried to make it clear to the men that they were not regarded as saboteurs but they were running a grave risk from crashing aircraft. Further he did not want their men firing on then not knowing who they were.
Asked if he wished to cross-examine, Carter replied:
“ My summons is for February 29th, there is no such date.”
The Clerk (Mr. J. O. Steed): The information states the 20th. He is present in answer to the summons so he must have known the date.
Supt. Hurst prosecuting, said no doubt the difference was due to a typing error and he would, if necessary, ask for the summons to be amended.
The Chairman (Mr E. F. Colvile): Do you wish to ask for an adjournment?
Carter: Will it make any difference? (Laughter).
The Chairman: I cannot personally see that it will make any difference whatever.
Carter: Then we may as well go on with it. (Laughter).
Detective Constable W. White, said that in consequence of a complaint from the Provost Marshal he saw Carter who admitted the offence and made no reply when asked if he knew that he had no right to be on the aerodrome. Told that he would be reported he said that when he was crossing the aerodrome he was stopped by an American officer. He had not been that way before.
The police officer said that by crossing the ‘drome the man got a direct route to his house.
(Evidence was then heard identifying Boreham as one of the other men who were stopped. He denied being anywhere near the aerodrome on February 20th but they had checked his Identity Card when he was apprehended.)
The Chairman said that the magistrates took into consideration those were the first charges brought against the defendants and were brought chiefly for the purpose of publicity. There would be a fine of only 10s. in each case, but the Bench wished to emphasise that future trespassers would be dealt with severely. The magistrates had every sympathy with them in having to make a detour to get to their homes but they must understand that it was in their own interests and for their own safety to keep off the aerodrome.

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