Francis Brown, a young man in custody, appeared for trial before Sheriff Brown and a jury in Hamilton Sheriff Court on Thursday 25th February 1937 on a charge of assault to the danger of life. The indictment libelled that on Ist January, 1937 in the pend close at 5 Stonefield Road (shown by a red arrow on my photo), the accused assaulted John Liddell Hamill, 30 Maxwell Crescent, High Blantyre, and struck him on the head with iron banister rod or other blunt instrument, to his severe injury and to the danger of his life. Accused tendered a plea of not guilty, and was defended by Mr J. C. Pollock, writer, Hamilton, while Mr J. C. Patterson, procurator-fiscal, conducted the case for the Crown.
Giving evidence the complainer (Hamill) said that after first-footing his mother on New Years Day, he left her house along with his wife and daughter, and Alex. Scales, his nephew. Near the pend he met the accused, who said ” A happy New Year to you, Jock,” and witness replied ” the same to you.” Nothing more was said, and accused called back to him, ” You are _____dummy.” Accused then came up behind him and said, ” All belonging to you are _____dummies.” John went into the close to ask Francis for an explanation of that remark. ” There I was struck,” said John. “I do not remember anything further until I regained consciousness in the house of Wilson.“
John was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and detained there for four weeks. In cross-examination by Mr Pollock, John said he was not drunk when he met Francis.
John Cowan Wilson (doctor in Blantyre), said that there was a wound two inches long on the front to John Hamill’s right temple extending down and forward, and fracture of the bone above the right orbit. John thought the injury might be dangerous to life, but it was for the Infirmary people to speak definitely on that point. Alexander Scales (18), a witnessing steel worker, 41 Cador Street, Cambuslang, said that the condition of the party with regard to alcohol was not too bad. Witness heard Francis say to Hamill “ Are you well deaf?” Francis muttered something else. “Hamill drew out to hit Francis,‘” declared witness, ” but I stepped in between the two men and stopped the blow.” The accused ran away and complainer made after him into the close. ” Just as I approached I saw Francis leaving the close with a weapon in his hand. I saw my uncle John lying on the ground. He was unconscious and bleeding pretty badly.”
Elizabeth Hamill (18), domestic servant, daughter of John, gave evidence of a corroborative nature. As a witness, she added that her father tripped, ran to the close, and at the close he fell again, and he got and turned to come away. A man, coming from the building at the back, then struck her father over the head with a bar. Dr John A. Melvin, visiting surgeon to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, expressed opinion that Hamill’s life was very definitely in danger. The nature of the fracture indicated that sharp weapon must have been used. That, to witness’s mind, indicated was most unlikely the wound was caused by a fall. It is unknown what sentence Francis was given.