Thanet Advertiser 22nd April 1922
THE THIRTEENTH OFFENCE
The adjourned proceedings against Mr Edwin C. Ashwood, of Eaton Road, Margate, for allowing a motor van to be used with false identification plates and without being registered occupied the attention of the Margate magistrates on Wednesday.
Thomas Henry Emptage was summoned as the driver of the van.
Mr Shea now appeared for Ashwood, and pleading not guilty, tendered an apology for Mr Ashwood’s absence from the previous Court, which was due to an important engagement in London.
On March 24th, the Chief Constable explained, P.C. Creed was on Marine Terrace when he saw Emptage driving a mail van, Mr Ashwood being a contractor to the Post Office.
The van was painted green, and on examining it the constable found that it had the identification plates and license of a red van used for the conveyance of the mails.
It was afterwards explained by Mr Ashwood that owing to a breakdown of the red van, the identification plates and license were removed and placed on the green van.
P.C. Creed said when he went to the yard in Eaton-road he was shown a document indicating that the money for the license of the car had been sent to the authorities, and Ashwood admitted that the green car was substituted for the broken down mail van.
Emptage told the Bench that he was carrying out instructions of Mr Ashwood in driving the car. There were no identification plates on the green car when he was told to use it, and he saw the plates being affixed by a fitter named Payne.
Although he had been driving the car for eight months he could not state its number.
ABSENCE OF MIND.
The Chief Constable: When you saw the plates being put on, did anything enter your mind?
Emptage: In Ashwood’s yard you are not supposed to have anything in your mind. (Laughter.)You are supposed to do as you are told.
Mr Shea argued that there was no attempt on the part of Mr Ashwood to defraud the authorities in using an un-licensed car.
When another car had to be used in place of the vehicle which broke down, the money for the license was immediately forwarded, and in fact, the license arrived on the day after the constable stopped the driver.
The car was being used without his knowledge, and he disclaimed responsibility.
Ashwood, in evidence, said that 14 pounds 10 shillings for the license of the green car was forwarded to Maidstone on the Tuesday before the van was stopped. He received an acknowledgement the next day, and the license on the following Saturday.
He denied instructing Emptage to take out this van or authorising the substitution of the plates.
The Chief Constable suggested that the duty payable for a commercial car of the weight of the green vehicle was 10 pounds.
Mr Ashwood replied the receipt produced was for the green car, and Maidstone would not have accepted the amount if it was incorrect.
In reply to the Mayor, Mr Ashwood said that the car was used three days without his being aware of it. He assumed Emptage took the car out on his own responsibility. He could not say who fixed the plates of the red van on the green car.
Percy John Lake, transport manager for Mr Ashwood, said he told Emptage not to use the green car as the numbers had not been allotted to it. Owing to suspense in the issue of the license, the sum of 32 shillings was refunded from the 14 pounds 8 shillings sent to the authorities.
In reply to the Bench, witness said he was unaware that the car had been used for three days when the constable stopped Emptage.
Henry Thomas Jewiss, a motor driver employed by Mr Ashwood, said that on the breakdown of the red van, he heard Lake warn Emptage not to take out the green car as it was unregistered. He could not say whether that conversation was on March 24th, the day on which the car was stopped, or on the proceeding Tuesday.
Charles Edward Payne, a fitter employed by Mr Ashwood, said he saw Emptage endeavouring to fix the number plates on the front of the dark car. Witness told him it was no use trying to to fix the plates on with string, and another fitter handed him a piece of wire.
Emptage (recalled) denied this.
The summons against Emptage was dismissed, and Ashwood against whom were twelve previous convictions for motor car offences, was fined 10 pounds for using an unregistered car, and 15 pounds for using wrong identification plates.
Thomas Henry Emptage 1895 – 1979, son of Robert William Emptage and Alice (Harman). Husband of Lilian Maud (Gurney).