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School CP - June 1937
Evening News, London, 16 June 1937
Headmaster Wins Caning Appeal
Boy Says His Mother Told Him to Refuse
"Four on the Seat"
Mr. Ernest Edwin Black, headmaster of Durham Hill L.C.C. School, Downham, won an appeal at the County of London Quarter Sessions to-day against conviction by Mr. Frank J. Powell, the Greenwich magistrate, for assaulting a 13-year-old pupil.
Mr. Powell dismissed the summons under the Probation of Offenders Act, on payment of two guineas costs.
Mr. Mervyn Griffiths-Jones, for the respondent, said that it was suggested that the punishment meted out to the boy was immoderate, and that Mr. Black became enraged and lost his temper.
The boy, giving evidence, said that he had been at the school three years and had been caned three or four times before the occasion complained of.
On March 16 he was caught "cheating" by his form master. The master caned him on both hands. He told the master that he had had enough, and broke the cane.
The next morning Mr. Black told him to stand in front of the school and to hold his hand out for the cane. As it was "coming down swift" he snatched his hand away twice.
Mr. Black then told him to touch his toes, and gave him four strokes with the cane. He was taken to the headmaster's study, and Mr. Black showed him a cane, and said, "Now break that one."
Cross-examined by Mr. J.F. Eastwood, K.C. (for Mr Black) he said that the form master caught him "cribbing" a fortnight before. He expected to be caned if he were caught again.
"My Mother Told Me"
He called out in front of the class: "My mother has told me to refuse to be caned, and to break the cane."
Dr. Sidney Aldridge said that he found very severe bruises. He added that he held rather strong views against corporal punishment. The boy had a sensitive skin.
Mr. Black, giving evidence, said that for the purpose of discipline he decided that the boy must be dealt with in front of the school. He gave him four strokes "on the seat".
He did not lose his temper.
Sir Herbert Wilberforce intimated that he did not wish to hear further evidence and allowed the appeal. As it was a legal aid case, costs would not be awarded.
Mr. Eastwood: But for that I should have been able to ask for costs. I do not want it to be said that Mr. Black was deprived of costs.
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