How a delinquent cyclist made city legal history

Mac's Musings—Claude McIntosh
How a delinquent cyclist made city legal history
Mac's Musings

It was the first and perhaps only time in local legal history that a bicyclist has been charged and convicted of careless driving.

So, when a 16-year-old Cornwall teen was found guilty on May 16, 1948 of striking and injuring a female pedestrian, his case went into the local court history books.

Court was told the youth was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk with disregard for pedestrians when he struck the woman from behind. She required medical treatment at a nearby doctor’s office.

After receiving a lecture from Mag. P. C. Bergeron, he was fined $5. May sound like a small fine, but in today’s dollars that is about $65. That is about what the kid made in one year from his news paper route.

* A city man convicted of not supporting his wife and two young children was sent to Guelph Reformatory for four months.

Court was told that the man abandoned his wife and two children – four months and four years. With the rent three months in arrears, the woman, with little financial support, and her children were evicted. And if that wasn’t bad enough, on the way out Household Finance seized her furniture for non-payment.

In four months, the deadbeat hubby, who was employed, provided her with a total of $30.

Unable to provide for them, she was forced to turn her children over to theChildren’s Aid Society and rent a room for herself.

* Mag. Bergeron turned a deaf ear to an Apple Hill farmer’s plea for mercy after he admitted to driving while intoxicated.

A jail sentence, he told the magistrate who had been cracking down on drinking and driving with time in the slammer, would not be good because he was the only one to milk his cows.

Should have thought about that before you got behind the wheel, said the magistrate.

He was given seven days in the county lockup, a one-year licence suspension and had his vehicle impounded for three months.

* Mag. Bergeron offered a man charged with vagrancy (aka homeless which was a criminal offence in the day) a deal: A suspended sentence if he found a job within a week. When the man showed no interest in taking the offer, he was givena 30-day all-inclusive stay in the county slammer.

* Mag. Bergeron got creative in dealing with a 12-year-old who kept breaking the city-wide curfew and showing a lack of respect for his parents. He was placed on one-year probation, ordered to enlist in a minor sports program and banned from attending local movie theatres for four months.

ALSO IN MAY 1948: Fire fighters raced to the corner of Baldwin Avenue and Montreal Road after a woman mistook a fire alarm box on a utility pole for a mail box and tried to shove an envelope into it, setting off the alarm. In the day, 13 alarm boxes scattered around the city and east end were connected to the fire station on Pitt Street. This was a time when many people did not have a telephone. … Police and fire departments accounted for 18% of the city budget.Welfare and public works took took up 11%, while interest payments on debt required 10% of the budget. … Basic wage at the Cornwall Howard Smith Paper Mill plant was increased 10% to 89 cents an hour, giving the union employees the highest basic hourly wage in Eastern Ontario. … George A. Stiles was named city solicitor at $1,200 a year. He would go on to become a county court judge. … A memorial plaque in memory of the 92 former students killed in the Second World War was unveiled at Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School. … Gas pump prices increased by one cent to 38 cents a gallon. … Sister Aurelia, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Wheeler of Cornwall, was one of 12 Roman Catholic nuns released by the brutal Chinese Communist government. … Albert Hewitson of Cornwall, a graduate of Cornwall Collegiate, graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Medicine. … The federal government increased monthly Mother’s Allowance payments. A single woman would receive $10 for each child. To qualify, she had to be a 1) widow, 2) divorced, 3) or unable to work and support afamily. … Work on the new one-storey 32-bed Winchester and District Memorial Hospital was being completed. It was expected to be open by the summer. It had one operating room. … Mrs. Clarence Baffin was living in the house built by her great-great grandfather in 1783. The 160-year-old home, built by Thomas Bane Ross, was two miles east of Lancaster on the shore of Lakes St. Francis.

THE WEIRD  AND WACKY: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the late former general and a conspiracy theorist, claimed that doctors found a dead worm in his head and that it had eaten part his brain which he said accounts for his short-term memory problem. (Nothing to do with all the drugs he took). He is currently running as a third-party presidential candidate and is polling about 12%support. The big question is who is taking votes from, Biden or Trump?

TRIVIA ANSWER: Frank Miller won the Ontario Progressive Conservative party leadership in January 1985 and succeeded William Davis as premier inFebruary. He was forced to resign in June after his government lost a no confidence motion and the Liberals took the reins of power in June, ending 42 years of uninterrupted PC rule.

TRIVIA: This Canadian politician coined the term “corporate welfare bums.” – 1) Ed Broadbent, 2) Tommy Douglas, 3) David Lewis, 4) Pierre Trudeau, 5) Stephen Lewis.

QUOTED: “People are in shock when they find out I am Protestant. I am Presbyterian. And I go to church and I love God and I love my church.” – Donald Trump on CNN in 2015.

WRAPPING UP: Has any team in NHL history managed to keep a player’s medical condition a secret as long as the Leafs re: super star Auston Matthews who was missing in action against the Bruins? … Play it again, Sam! Another NHL manager realizes it is easier to get rid of the coach and bury his own mistakes than dump under-performing, overpaid players. … If Donald Trump wasn’t Donald Trump, he’d be wearing an orange jumpsuit for contempt of court (among other things calling the judge corrupt).

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