Schoolboy flogging charge fails

Dormitory Whipping

Mother’s Summons Dismissed

By a majority verdict, Ealing (London) magistrates yesterday dismissed a summons against a headmaster who was accused of brutality in the caning of a nine- year-old boy. The headmaster is Mr. S. de Moyse Bucknall, principal of Harrow View House Preparatory School, Ealing, and he was summoned by Mrs. Mona Alice Goodwin, of Cleveland-road, Ealing, wife of a City solicitor, for assaulting her nine-year-old son, Barry, formerly a pupil there. Mr. Linton Thorpe, K.C. (for the defence), described the prosecution as one of “vindictive exaggeration” and said Mr. Bucknall had adopted the only proper method to suppress bullying. Opening the case, Mr. J.P. Eddy, prosecuting, said that what was complained of was not ordinary chastisement, but “a piece of gross brutality affording no justification whatever.” On November 2, continued Mr. Eddy, the boy was walking in file when a boy behind him punched him in the back and ribs. Goodwin swung his hand round and hit the boy. “The defendant took him to a dormitory, told him to touch his toes and began to strike him violently with a cane. He went on flogging him, flogging him, flogging him time after time. Hours afterwards the boy was in a state of delirium.” Mrs. Goodwin said that the bruises on her boy were very obvious “as if a red hot poker had been used.”  

Boy’s Story

“I Suppose I Deserved It in One Way” Answer to K.C.

The boy, in evidence, said Mr. Bucknall told him to bend down and touch his toes after taking down his trousers. “He then lifted the cane above his head,” said the boy, “and smacked me. I got up yelling and he shouted. ‘Get down.’ “I was in the dormitory for at least ten minutes and then I went back to my class. I could only sit down on the edge of the chair.” Cross-examined by Mr. Linton Thorpe, K.C., for the defence, the boy said he had been caned once previously for horse-play. Mr. Thorpe: Were you then bullying other boys? — Yes, just a bit. Other boys have been caned like this? — I do not know if they were hit so hard, but I think they were. You deserved it? — I suppose I did in one way. Mr. Bucknall said he applied the cane with very moderate force and administered it only four times.

Master’s Denials

Counsel: Do you tell the Bench that to-day is the first time a parent has accused you of sheer brutality? — Certainly. Have boys been withdrawn from your school within the last year or two? — Yes. Have they been withdrawn because parents complained of your treatment of their children? — One parent seemed very dissatisfied with my general treatment of his boys and took them away. Pointing to someone in court Mr. Eddy said. “I suggest that this gentleman threatened to give you a good hiding?” Bucknall: No. Are you prepared to say to any one of your 134 boys that you would give similar treatment if he were reported for fighting? — If they were bullying and had bullied to the extent that this boy had, I would consider they had deserve it.