March 10, 2014
A few short years ago, much ado was made, and rightfully so, of a
government inspector getting
carried away with his job.
But how many alive today know that for a good many years you had to get a
licence from the government to have a radio in your home? Following is a
story from the Kings County Record regarding one such government
Sussex – Sept.
A charge of
being in possession of a radio apparatus “otherwise than in accordance
with a license granted in that behalf by the ministry of reconstruction
and supply” against a Sussex man, J.L. McKenna, was dismissed in the
Sussex police court last Friday after Mr. McKenna declared the charge was
brought because Radio
Inspector Edward Ginn
was “too lazy to do his job and see whether there was a license”.
A similar charge against
another Sussex resident was withdrawn when it was shown he had purchased a
radio license on April 5.
said in his evidence: “On July 28, 1947, at approximately 4:15 p.m., I
called at the home of Louis McKenna, Court Street, in Sussex, and, during
the course of my duty as radio inspector, I requested that a license be
produced to cover his table model radio. I was admitted to his house by a
lady who gave her name as Mrs. Steeves. No license could be produced
during my visit. I then submitted Mr. Louis McKenna’s name to headquarters
to have the record thoroughly checked to ascertain if such a person had a
license for Court Street in the Town of Sussex. No trace of a license was
found after the records were searched, and a minister’s order was then
sent to me to take the necessary action. That is about all.”
by Mr. McKenna,
said he first knew the accused was in possession of a radio July 28. He
did not know who the Mrs. Steeves who admitted him to the house was.
“You go into
somebody’s house with knowing who let you in?” Mr. McKenna asked, “The
person who gave you the name was Mrs. Steeves and she told you it was my
house. What right had you to do through my house without a search
replied “I have a card of authority here that I will submit to Your
commented “That does not give you permission to go into a house without
the owner’s consent”.
“If I ask any
person ‘May I see your radio’ and they say yes, I do not force my way into
anybody’s home. If they do not permit me to the home I ask for a search
warrant. I do not force my way”,
“You do not make
any attempt to see anyone in authority, just anyone who will let you into
the house, into private quarters, without the owner being present?” Mr.
McKenna said, “Did you make any attempt to find out if there was a
“Isn’t that part
of your job?”
said it was not, “My part is to request a license to be produced. If you
would read the license, you will see this license must be kept on the
radio for inspection”.
“You went in and
saw the radio and were not shown a license?” Mr. McKenna said.
“The license should be available for inspection and was not produced”.
“By whom should
the license be made available?”
“It should be
kept on the radio. If you drive an automobile you make sure you have a
license with you”.
asked “Did you make any check yourself to find out if there was a radio
“I checked at the
“And what did
“I do not know if
I found you with a license or not”.
replied “No” to
Mr. McKenna’s question “Did you make any attempt to find out where I was?”
Bonnell then admitted in evidence a radio license to J. Louis McKenna
dated July 8.
asked “Do you realize, Mr. Ginn, you have wasted everyone’s time by not
“No, I do not
consider it a waste of time. I do not consider it is a waste of time if
you read ‘This license must be kept on the radio and available for
“It may have
been on the radio for all you know.” Mr. McKenna pointed out.
“I looked at the
radio, I cannot say whether a license was on the it”,
In asking for a dismissal of the charge before no prima facie case had
been established, Mr. McKenna said
“has the colossal nerve to come here in court and waste everyone’s time
because he is too lazy to do his job and see whether there is a license,
after breaking into the house where he has no right. There is negligence
on his part and the departments both. He makes no attempt to check with
me. He admits he does not know if there is one or not. He was so sloppy in
his work he could not find a record of it at the post office, in spite of
the fact that it was issued before that. I don’t know where he gets his
authority, or whether he thinks he is a little tin god, but he goes to an
employee of mine and says ‘I am going into this house’.” Anybody in
authority could have shown him that license, but because she cannot
produce it he summons me to court. This is the worst case of injustice I
have heard of.”
Letter to the
editor – November 13, 1947
Some time ago
your newspaper carried a story concerning radio inspectors summoning to
court people who already were in possession of licenses because they did
not do their jobs thoroughly.
This Sussex case was not the only time the radio
inspectors have been lax in their duty.
of my wife, who was in hospital in Saint John, one of my daughters came
home to keep house. A radio inspector called, I was out and my daughter
explained the circumstances to him and said she was quite certain a radio
license had been purchased in Norton. The inspector said it was all right,
he would check at Bloomfield. My daughter repeated the license would have
been bought at Norton. He said he would look it up or returned later. We
heard nothing more of the matter until, just after my wife returned from
hospital, she answered the door and was presented with a court summons.
Still weakened from her illness, the presentation of a summons was a
severe shock to her.
When I appeared
before Magistrate Kelly in Hampton, I showed him a radio license dated
April 27, 1947, which I had purchased at Norton. The case was dismissed.
I might add that
a neighbour, who also had a license he had purchase at Norton, was forced
to make the unnecessary trip to Hampton at the same time. The charge
against him also was dismissed.
It seems to me
there should be some action taken by the department concerned to end this
inefficiency by the radio inspectors. Personally I resent bitterly being
forced to attend a police court when, by being a little more careful, the
radio inspector could have ascertained I held the necessary license.
Letter to the
editor – Nov. 20, 1947
I, too, wish
to publicly register a
complaint against the present method of inspecting radio licenses
and the totally unnecessary summoning of respectable and innocent citizens
to appear in court.
On a very hot
day in August, I was busy in my garden
when a car drew up and a man introduced himself as a radio
license inspector and asked to see our license.
Knowing that a member of the family had purchased our license from an
office friend in Saint John, I told the inspector that I would have to
take a few minutes to look this up, but would be glad if he would wait. He
asked me if I could give him the name and business address of the
purchaser, which I did. He did not wait, but asked me to notify the
village post office when I found the license. He also said he would check
the city address.
after he left, I found the license and immediately telephoned the
postmaster, giving him the license number and date of purchase. From what
I have since learned, the inspector neither called at the post office nor
did he check the Saint John address.
Ten days ago, to
our amazement and extreme annoyance, we were served with a summons to
appear in the Hampton court. Circumstances were such that no member of the
family could attend, and again the number of the license and date of
purchase was given to an official, along with a few well-chosen words on
the subject of such careless and high-handed methods.
Why does this man
hold the position of license inspector? It seem to me that some veteran
who could be courteous and conscientious should have the job. Law abiding
citizens need not and should not be subject to this sort of thing.