Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954), Sunday 10 January 1937, page 20
“Spots” At Florentino and Auto. Club
ARTISTS’ NIGHT OUT
‘WEP,’ otherwise William Edwin Pidgeon, 27, the well-known black-and-white artist, suffered his second conviction since October for driving a car while he was under the influence of liquor, when he appeared before Mr. Gibson, C.S.M., at the Central Police Court last week.
HE was fined £5 and his license was suspended for three months. The evidence showed that, with his wife, two other artists and others, there had been a spot of dinner at an Italian cafe, a sojourn at the Royal Automobile Club, and then Trouble, with a large capital ‘T.’ Constable Alloway stated that at 12.5 a.m. on December 15 he saw a car driven by Pidgeon stall at the intersection of Albert and Phillip Streets. Told to get out of the car, Pidgeon was ‘unsteady on his feet and his eyes were glassy and staring in appearance. His speech was thick, he smelt strongly of liquor, and he was definitely under the influence of liquor.’ ‘The noise made by the occupants of the car first attracted my attention,’ proceeded Alloway. ‘They were shouting out and there was language used. There were six people in the car — two of them were ladies. With one exception, they were all under the influence of liquor. To Mr. Sweeney, for Pidgeon: There was a dark man among them who was sober. ‘Of the other passengers, Mrs. Pidgeon was under the influence,’ swore Constable Stevenson, the previous witness’s confrere. ‘I first noticed the car when it was alongside the entrance to the R.A.C.A. I saw two ladies and Pidgeon behind the wheel. Two men followed Pidgeon to the police station and one was put out for cheek — after Pidgeon had been taken to be finger printed. It was the little dark chap who was sober. The second lady was not as drunk as the others. They told me they had been in the R.A.C.A., drinking. The big chap who was put out of the station could, perhaps, have been charged with being drunk, but I did not think it right to put the agony on and charge the others!’ ‘Pidgeon was unsteady on his feet, his eyes were shiny, and he appeared not to be able to focus properly,’ recalled Station Constable Hamer. ‘By that I mean,’ he explained, ‘that he would look at you, look past, and then look at you again.’ Defending himself, Pidgeon said he was an artist, living at Bundarra-road, Bellevue Hill. That night, he continued, he and his wife had dinner at the Florentine They met ‘Mr. Finey’ and ‘Mr. Cook’ there and afterwards repaired to the Automobile Club. Pidgeon said he had two ‘schooners’ of beer. ‘It was suggested that Cook and Finey come home to our place for supper,’ went on Pidgeon. ‘My wife got out of the car, and Mr. Finey questioned the advisability of my driving the car, seeing that I had had a few drinks, and it was suggested that it would be better if my wife drove it. The three men got in the back seat, my wife got in the driving seat, and I got in alongside her. The next thing, as we were driving down Albert street, I heard someone shouting, ‘Stop that car!’ ‘Anticipating some trouble, I pushed my wife over the top of me and took the driving seat, as I did not want to set my wife into trouble. The policeman put his face to the back of the hood and said. ‘Who is driving the car?’ and I said, ‘I am.’ He asked for the licence, and as I was looking for it, he asked me if I had been drinking. I said, ‘Yes, I have had a couple.’
BOTTLES IN CAR
To Police Prosecutor Walden: I am not denying that I was slightly under the influence of liquor. You wish his Worship to believe that your wife was driving the car and not you? — She was. Further questioned, Pidgeon denied that that night he had been working He was sure that she did not have five glasses of wine at dinner, nor did she have any liquor at the R.A.C.A. He did not know that there were three empty bottles in the car. Another artist, George Edmond Finey of White-street, Balgowlah said that that night he had been working at ‘The Telegraph.’ ‘I went and tried to get bail.’ he recalled. ‘I was not under the influence. I left with the other lady when Pidgeon was arrested. I did not tell the constable I was getting my wife out of it. She was not my wife. I did not go home till about 6 o’clock the next morning.’ The third artist, Noel Wilfred Cook, of White-street, Manly, also gave evidence for the defence. The testimony of Mrs. Jessie Ann Pidgeon was to the effect that she drove the car, and that when the policeman hailed them her husband took the driving seat. ‘I was not intoxicated,’ she told Prosecutor Walden. ‘I had one wine with my dinner.’ Convicted, Pidgeon was revealed to bear a previous conviction for a similar offence. He was fined £5, or 10 days’ gaol, and his license was suspended for three months. Twenty-one days to pay were allowed.
1937 ‘”WEP” PIDGEON IS WINGED AGAIN’, Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954), 10 January, p. 20. , viewed 15 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169595051