Court Cases Involving Early Workers

Lawsuits in Ireland and England


Impartial Reporter, January 30, 1913:  Fermanagh County Court, N. Ireland:  Malicious injury to a tent set on fire the previous October at Mackeny, between Irvinestown and Ballinamallard.


Impartial Reporter, July 25, 1912:  mentions charges of Mr. W. D. Wilson of Rookery Farm, Cretingham, a village some 6 miles from Framlingham and 3 miles from Debenham, who had 2 sons and 2 daughters who became workers.  Mr. Wilson swore a declaration before a notary at Ipswich in which he made charges. (Ipswich is NE of London)

The People Ltd of London, July 14, 1912:  printed an article which became the basis for a libel suit brought against The People, Ltd. by Edward Cooney and Ernest Walter List of Debenham, near Stowmarket.  Cooney and List won.  (Stowmarket is NE of London, near Ipswich; The People Ltd is a London newspaper)

The Impartial Reporter, December 18, 1913, also reports about a court case where Edward Cooney sued for libel against a London newspaper, The People, Ltd., and won.  While under oath, Cooney was asked by Mr. Justice Darling, “Were you the founder of this sect?” Cooney replied, “No, William Irvine was the first, about sixteen years ago.”  This works out to 1897.  In the early days and years, there was no reluctance in pointing to Irvine as the founder of their fellowship, which is recorded by numerous Impartial Reporter articles.

Impartial Reporter, July 17, 1913:  recounts a libel suit at the Bristol Assizes brought by members of the Burfitt family (plaintiffs) against Rev. D. L. Hayward (defendant) who had issued a leaflet against the Go-Preachers, implying they were engaging in white slave traffic, and procuring women for prostitution under the cloak of religion.  The workers were successful in obtaining damage awards.  (Bristol is due West of London; “assize” is a court session) Wm Irvine was a witness.  The article states: “William Irvine, one of the founders of the Go-Preachers Society, said it was Protestant evangelical” and states that Wm Irvine also said, “I have never known of a new sect being founded without opposition”.

Impartial Reporter, December 18, 1913:  Mr. Eames said that in November 1911 an action brought against Mr. Wilson and the proprietors of the Ipswich Independent was settled in chambers, Mr. Wilson paying damages and costs, and an apology was advertised in The Daily Mail “of most ample kind.”  (Ipswich is NE of London; Ipswich Independent is/was their newspaper; The Daily Mail is a London newspaper.)   It was also reported that “plaintiffs had recovered £50 damages and costs at the Bristol Assizes for a placard hung outside a shop in Somersetshire.”  (the county or shire of Somerset is in the southwest of England (near Cornwall and Devon).

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