HC Deb 16 April 1888 vol 324 cc1312-3
MR. A. THOMAS (Glamorgan, E.)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with respect to the reply contained in his letter of the 29th ultimo, that the four Club appeals determined by certain Glamorgan County Magistrates in Quarter Sessions "were entirely heard and determined upon the merits," and particularly that in the case of the new Tredegar Club— The Court was of opinion that the Club was properly constituted, and that there was no evidence of illegal sale of liquors, and in the case of the Ellesmere— That the Court could not distinguish it from the usual local Clubs used by upper classes, and consequently allowed the appeal, If he will cause further inquiry to be made upon the following points:—whether, in the case of the new Tredegar Club, the Court, through the Chairman (Mr. Fowler), refused to decide the case upon its merits, by finding, as a fact, that the Club in question was either bonâ fide or not bonâ fide; whether the Court, after first stating that the onus of proof of bona fides lay upon the appellant, subsequently threw the onus of proving that the Club was not bonâ fide upon the respondent; whether this decision was in accordance with the law; whether the evidence of one witness, Jarrett, who had only been connected with the Club during a short part of its existence, was the only evidence upon which the Court gave its decision, "allowing the appeal" with costs; and, whether, in the case of the Ellesmere Club, the proprietor has been since—namely, on the 28th ultimo, prosecuted by the Inland Revenue, and convicted of three separate offences—namely, selling spirits without a licence to an officer of the Inland Revenue, fined £50 and costs or three months' hard labour; for the sale of beer to the same officer, £20 and costs or one month; and for the sale of tobacco, £20 and costs or one month, all upon the so-called Club premises?


I have received a further Report from the Chairman of the Glamorganshire Magistrates this morning as to this case, and he informs me that after hearing evidence on both sides the Court decided the case on its merits, and came to the conclusion that the new Tredegar Club was a bonâ fide Club properly constituted. There was some discussion as to the burden of proof; but the question did not, in the opinion of the Court, become material to the decision. The respondent was heard first, and the Court then called on the appellant to give further evidence. The Court was composed of four barristers and the Chairman, who is Stipendiary Magistrate for Swansea. I see no reason to question the validity of their decision. Jarrett, who had been treasurer since April, 1887, was the only witness called by the appellant; but the evidence for the respondent had already established a primâ facie case for exemption. The Chairman informs me that he had seen in a local paper the statement referred to in the last paragraph of the Question; but there was no evidence to this effect before the Court.