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Shouters in Court. 'Teacher Bailey' before Mr Magistrate Huggins. Says it doesn't matter if he goes to jail for religion. Comrades shout 'Alleluia' in court.

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Shouters in Court. 'Teacher Bailey' before Mr Magistrate Huggins. Says it doesn't matter if he goes to jail for religion. Comrades shout 'Alleluia' in court.
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Port of Spain Gazette
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'Yesterday, at the Chaguanas Police Court, Sergt. Albert Parris charged an elderly woman named Caroline French with permitting the erection of a shouters' house in her lands at Perseverance Village, contrary to law. Insp. Paul prosecuted.

The defendant pleaded that she did not know it was an offence. Nobody had told her so, nor had she read anything to that effect. But if it was the law, she was compelled to plead guilty.

The Magistrate: you will be called for sentence later.

Others charged

Mary Brown, Augusta Straughn, Albertha Jack, "Teacher Bailey" and ten others, were next charged with having taken part in a shouters' meeting at Perseverance Village on the 17th of Dec last.Some of the defendants pleaded guilty, and others protested their innocence. "Teacher Bailey" appeared with his head bandaged around with a white cloth, a cross firmly pressed against his breast and a huge Bible encased in red cloth. When asked whether he was guilty or not, Bailey exclaimed with cross uplifted: "I will only answer such a question if it comes from Christ; but not from any man." A plea of not guilty was recorded.

Sergt. Parris gave evidence of having been attracted to the scene by a loud noise of shouting which emanated from the meeting place where he met the defendants singing, preaching and praying. He told them they were committing an offence against the law, and some scampered away. At the time of his visit, Teacher Bailey was holding a lighted candle and crucifix in his hand, and praying.

Albertha Jack called a witness, who with extremely reverential attitude, entered the witness box, armed with a large Bible.

The Magistrate: Take this Bible and repeat this oath after me.

Witness: That Bible is not my writing. i am sorry, i am going to produce my own Bible!

Witness, who was allowed to swear on her own Bible, admitted the holding of the meeting, but avowed that they were praying, preaching and singing, and not making any noise. Nobody had told them it was against the law to preach the Gospel and the word of Christ.

The Magistrate: --- they were now to understand that they must not keep shouters' meeting.

In reply to the Bench Inspector Paul said he had no interest in pressing the charge, as it was the first prosecution; but the police wanted the people to understand that it was the intention to put a stop to shouters' meeting in the district.

Magistrate: I will reprimand and discharge all the defendants, except "Teacher Bailey" who, I am afraid, is responsible for the whole thing.

Bailey: May I say something sir?
--- "My father is 58 years old, my mother 49, and from the time I was born, 27 years ago, that is the religion I found my mother and father following - not shouting, but praying in the name of the Lord. (Holding his cross uplifted, Bailey proceeded to say:) I am prepared to go to jail every time, and to carry on these meetings, I will always do so. Christ was persecuted for religion, and if I go to jail for religion, it does not matter."

This profession of Bailey's faith provoked considerable excitement in court amongst his followers, some of whom shouted from the well of the Court "Alleluia, praise the Lord!"

Magistrate: You can do what you like, but the law must be obeyed. I fine you 5s and costs, and don't come back again, because you can be fined £50 or six months.

Bailey: I have no money sir. I haven't had a biscuit since yesterday!

Some of Teacher Bailey's coreligionists offered the solace that they would not allow their "brother" to go to jail and would therefore pay for him. This done, amid much excitement and confusion, Bailey left the court, heading about two hundred followers of his "religious" persuasion.'

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