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On This Day



In On This Day

By Nicola Gauld

On This Day, 18 May 1917

On 18, May 2017 | In On This Day | By Nicola Gauld

Birmingham Daily Post

Friday 18 May 1917



A charge under the Children’s Act of failing to notify the reception of an infant for reward was at Smethwick, yesterday, preferred against Sarah Jane Collins, of Windmill Lane, by the Birmingham Board of Guardians. Inspector Wheeler explained that a lady inspector recently found that the defendant had under her care an illegitimate child, and she had not sent a notification as required by the Act.

Mr Chapman, for the defence, contended that the Act was never meant to apply to such a case as that. Mrs. Collins had only performed an act of charity towards a distressed woman. Defendant’s husband was an office bearer in the Presbyterian Church, and defendant was a teacher in the Sunday School. She was a woman to whom a pitiful tale appealed, and she had taken the child in, not with the object of reward but as an act of charity. He thought there was a distinctly ungenerous side to the prosecution.

Mr Chapman was proceeding to call witnesses for the defence when the magistrate stopped the case, the Chairman (Major Thompson) remarking that though there had been a technical offence committed, they thought it was not sufficient to justify a prosecution of that kind. The magistrates were inclined to look upon it as an ungenerous prosecution, if the Guardians were in possession of the facts as they had been presented to the Court. The case was accordingly dismissed.