Sheffield Independent December 12, 1840
John Hayton was summoned by the River Don Company for illegally breaking open Kilnhurst lock, and passing through on Sunday, September 22.
Mr Charles Bartholomew, agent of the company, appeared in support of the summons, Mr Broomhead, of Sheffield for the defence.
Mr Bartholomew stated that the defendant, on Sunday, September 22 came up to the lock, called the Kilnhurst Lock, and demanded a passage. It being Sabbath, the gate was locked, and it was refused.
He then broke on the lock, and went through with his boat.
The act under which the information was laid, provides that if any person shall break open any lock, having no lawful occasion so to do, for the advantage of some boat or vessel, he shall be fined £10.
The defendant not having paid his dues, and the gate being closed for the Sabbath, had no lawful occasion to pass through.
Mr Broomhead contended that his client did it for the advantage of his boat, and therefore had a legal right, and the complainant hard since compromised the point by accepting the dues. He contended that the bench could not convict upon that information.
Mr Bartholomew said that if the information was dismissed, a precedent would be set for the desecration of the Sabbath, and the setting at defiance of the company’s regulation.
Mr Broomhead asked if boats were not frequently allowed to pass through the locks on a Sunday?
Mr Bartholomew said the navigation of the room was closed on a Sunday, and no boats allowed to pass the locks, except in case a very special order was granted by one of the company’s agent. The defendant had no lawful occasion to pass through, not having paid the dues.
Mr Broomhead said he would have paid the dues, but they were not demanded until he got to Rotherham, where they were paid.
Mr Oxley stated that the mere fact that the gates were locked was of sufficient proof that it was an illegal act to break them open. Then Bench concurred with that opinion, but enquired if there was no mitigation of the penalty.
Mr Broomhead hoped the Bench would not convict, since there was no appeal.
Mr Bartholomew said there was no mitigation of the penalty, but he undertook to say that the company would not be hard with the man.
Mr Broomhead said the company had no power in the case.
Mr Bartholomew – They can return part of the morning.
Mr Broomhead – We shall never ask them; the case shall go further.
Mr Bartholomew pledged himself on behalf of the company, that should the case be carried further, the company would exonerate the Bench from all blame, and defray all the expenses of maintaining its regulation.
The defendant was consequently convicted in a penalty of £10 and costs