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Tony Flynn
Looking back fifty years ago to what made the news in Salford we were attracted to this rather humourous story in the Salford City Reporter from the sadly missed Before The Bench court column.

Local miscreants faced the wrath of Stipendary Magistrate Mr Leslie Walsh, a man still remembered in Salford by a lot of people, sadly not with a lot of affection from the accused. 

March 1965 saw James Levins, 50, from Eccles New Road, charged with assaulting Salford Warrant officer PC Emlyn Watkins in a "bersek" attack in which he allegedly struck the Constable in the face with a pineapple, causing his chin to bleed profusely. 

Mr R Newton, prosecuting, told Salford Magistrates Court that PC Watkins went to Mr Levins' home with a default fine warrant for 10 shillings and waited outside for him. 

Mr Levins drove up in his car and PC Watkins showed him his warrant card. 

Mr Levins pushed past him and told him to "---- off" 

PC Watkins then told him that it was only for ten shillings and that if he didn't pay, he would take him into custody. 

He then reported that Mr Levins said: "It'll take a better copper than you to take me in" then allegedly hit him in the face with a pineapple causing cuts to his chin. 

The officer grappled with Levins and managed to drag him across the road to a police box and phoned for assistance. 

Meanwhile Mrs Levins ran up and started shouting that the officer was killing her husband, a crowd gathered and the situation looked like it might turn nasty. 

He was taken into custody at the Crescent police station and charged with assault. 

Mr Haynes, defending, said PC Watkins had a grudge against his client for reporting him for using bad language, which the officer denied. 

Mrs Bardsley of Brookland Street told the court that she saw Mr Levins hit the officer in the face with a pineapple and strike him repeatedly as he was being taken to the police box. 

The accused made an impassioned plea to the court stating:


"In my time I have paid over £4,000 in fines and have been arrested hundreds of times and there is not an officer in the Salford force who can say that I have ever lifted a finger to them." 

He added that when PC Watkins shown him his warrant card he put his hand in his pocket to get the money, but the officer grabbed him and frogmarched him across the road. 


"I had to struggle to defend myself but the officer gave me no chance, I had over £150 in my pocket but he hit me repeatedly and tore my coat, and the pineapple was in my car at all times." 

The Stipendary Magistrate Mr Leslie Walsh weighed up the evidence and gave his verdict. 

He said:


"The officer was carrying out his duties and it was intolerable that officers carrying out the orders of this court should be subjected to this sort of conduct." 

Mr Levins was found guilty of assaulting PC Watkins and fined £40 with 10 guineas costs or three months in jail. 

Image edited from original by Greater Manchester Police via Flickr

This article first appeared on SalfordOnline on the 3rd of March 2015, it is lovingly reproduced here with the many blessings of my old fruit, Tony Flynn.

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