Another Tyrannical Guardian of the Peace of the Night, whose Case offers another Peep into a London Watch-House, imprisoned for assaulting a Woman, November, 1812
AT the London Sessions held at the Guildhall on the 30th of November, 1812, this man was indicted for a gross assault on Elizabeth Ann Hammond. This lady was the wife of Mr Hammond, a respectable insurance-broker in the City, and deposed that as she was returning from Covent Garden Theatre, on the 24th of October, in company with her husband, she was treated with the most brutal violence by a coal-heaver, named Eagle, whom Mr Hammond, with the assistance of the patrol, secured and took to a watch-house, in Broadway, Blackfriars, where the defendant presided as constable of the night. The defendant, however, wishing to turn the affair to his own advantage, refused to receive any charge against Eagle unless money was deposited with him by Mr Hammond, who, to avoid Eagle's escaping, consented to such deposit; but protested against the defendant's conduct in demanding it, and threatened to punish him for so doing. At this the defendant declined to take the money, and expressed his determination to commit Mrs Hammond, if the charge against Eagle was persisted in; and this not being withdrawn, the defendant proceeded to take Mrs Hammond to the compter, but before he left the watch-house -- in order to shelter his own misconduct -- he advised Eagle to make a counter-charge against Mrs Hammond; and on this being made the defendant, notwithstanding the threats of Mr Hammond, proceeded to force Mrs Hammond from the watch-house towards the compter, in company with Eagle, until they arrived at the house of a gentleman who was known to Mr Hammond, who undertook for her and Mr Hammond's appearance, if necessary, the next morning. These facts being clearly proved in evidence, the defendant's counsel, after a strict cross-examination of the witnesses, admitted that, while he saw no pretence for the defendant acting as he had done, he saw many reasons why he ought to have acted otherwise; and the jury, without a moment's hesitation, pronounced the defendant guilty.
The learned recorder, after pointing out to the defendant the necessity there was for investing a certain degree of power in the hands of constables, and remarking in terms of severity on the unwarrantable manner in which the defendant had abused the authority with which he was entrusted, sentenced him to be imprisoned for six calendar months in the Giltspur Street Compter.