Guess What

LONDON. A customer of Britain’s largest and best known gay pub, The Coleherne in Earl’s Court, who was recently arrested for ‘wilful obstruction’ in Wharfedale Street (which runs directly behind the pub) was agreeably surprised when his case was thrown out of Great Marlborough Street Magistrates’ Court.

The magistrate said that there was no charge to answer and the member(s) of Chelsea Police Force responsible for the arrest was rebuked for wasting the courts time.

Anyone caring to check the details of this belated report can do so by getting in touch with the magistrate’s court mentioned above.

Gay News case delayed

19720901-03On Tuesday, 22nd August, 1972, Denis Lemon, a member of the Editorial collective of Gay News, appeared at Great Marlborough Street Magistrate’s Court to answer a charge of “wilfully obstructing the passage of the footway of Wharfdale Street, SW10″. (see Gay News No. 5).

Denis was appearing after being remanded from an initial court appearance on 14th August.

Unfortunately the case was not heard until the end of the morning and after the reading of the charge, only the evidence of PC David Ford (480) of the Chelsea Division of the Metropolitan Police Force, was heard.

Denis was further remanded until Wednesday 13th September, where provision will be made for the length of time the case is likely to take. A number of witnesses for the defence will be called to give evidence.

Anthony Burton, the solicitor acting on Denis’s behalf, protested to the Magistrate, Mr John Hooper, at the further delay in hearing the case.

Denis is again remanded on £10 bail.

A full report of the outcome of the case will be in the next edition of Gay News.


The editorial collective of Gay News would like to further remind customers of The Colherne that they will only be taking photographs of the police and the surrounding area, and will try not to take recognisable shots of the pub patrons. Any photo that clearly shows the identity of either customers or the general public will have the faces blanked out if these pictures are used in Gay News or any other publication.

Who Was Obstructing Who?

No Photographs ~ No Evidence

05-197208XX 2At approximately 11.20 pm on Saturday 12th August, 1972, Denis Lemon, a member of the editorial collective of Gay News, was arrested for allegedly ‘wilfully obstructing the passage of the footway of Wharfdale Street, London SW10’. He was released on £10 bail later that night, and appeared at Great Marlborough Street Magistrate’s Court on the morning of Monday 14th August. After pleading Not Guilty to the charge. Denis was remanded until Tuesday 22nd August. He applied for legal aid and was remanded on bail.

It is understood that Denis will be represented by a solicitor and will be calling a number of witnesses in his defence.

Wharfdale Street, SW10, is directly behind The Colherne public house in Old Brompton Road. After ‘closing time’ on the Saturday evening Denis had been acting in his official capacity as a Gay News reporter and had been taking a number of photographs of police action outside and in the nearby vicinity of the pub. After taking a number of photographs of the police directly outside The Colherne, he crossed to the opposite side of the road where he took a few more pictures, then moved to Wharfdale Street where he was arrested whilst trying to take a shot of a number of police officers ‘moving on’ a small group of people chatting in the im street.

Denis was active that evening as he was attempting to gather documented evidence of alleged ‘police harassment’ by members of the constabulary from the Chelsea Division of the Metropolitan Police Force.

Over the past few months it has become apparent to the Gay News editorial staff, from either information received at the paper’s office or personally witnessed by the members of the collective, that the level of police action outside The Colherne has been increasing. A number of people have been arrested on various occasions.

It has also been noticed that police dogs have been frequently used by the police whilst performing their duty outside the pub. This has seriously worried members of the general public as well as customers, and the use of particularly large groups of police, often exceeding 20 in number, has sometimes nearly led to unpleasant situations to say the least. Alleged too, by Colherne customers, is that unnecessary violence has been used by the police whilst performing this almost nightly ‘duty’.

Other, more serious allegations have also been made by people about this regular occurrence. Gay News is at present taking a number of statements from individuals, which in time will be handed over to the correct authorities.

Police officers who have been questioned about these activities at The Colherne have commented that they are in the area because of complaints from local residents and because of obstructions to the highway and footway. Parking on both sides of the busy road outside the pub in fact seems largely responsible for the highway being frequently congested. A report of the outcome of Denis’s hearing at the Magistrate’s Court will be in the next issue of Gay News. There will also be continuing reportage of future developments at The Colherne in Earl’s Court.


The editorial collective of Gay News would like to point out to the customers of The Colherne that they will only be taking photographs of the police and will try not to take recognisable shots of the pub’s patrons. Any photo that clearly shows the identity of either customers or the general public will have the faces blanked out if these pictures are used in Gay News or any other publication.

Police Put~Up Job Collapses in Court

03-197207XX-03On June 21st the five members of CHE arrested for obstruction outside Samantha’s club, Manchester (see Gay News 1.) were acquitted of the charge.

Police evidence stated that the two woman, Glenys Parry and Liz Stanley were standing on either side of the club door trying to prevent two men from entering the club. They also stated that the doorman was present, but neither the doorman nor the two obstructed club members were in court.

The evidence of the accused and an independent witness consistently denied the presence of any men or the doorman; they stated that they had been walking quickly along the street, crossing over and returning on the opposite side, making it impossible for any members to be inconvenienced.

The two police witnesses did not agree between themselves on the nature of the obstruction caused by the three male defendants, The hearing lasted two hours, after which the magistrates dismissed the charge.

Police comment to one of the defendants: “I’ll get you next time.”

Manchester Club hits out at Women. Five arrested

01-197205XX 3Early in March Samantha’s, a gay club in Manchester, changed its policy of freely admitting women members and allowing them to sign in as guests. One night two women members of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, one a Samantha’s member and the other her guest, were refused admittance. They were told that the club no longer had women members. Later this statement was changed to stating that although the club had women members, no more women would be allowed to join, and existing women members were no longer allowed to sign in guests. A dialogue with the owner of the coub-failed to produce any change in this policy and as it was in direct pooosition to CHE’s objective of equality between women and men, and likely to produce an all-male ghetto club, it was decided that leaflets would be produced to be given to people going into the club, containing details of what had occured and stating the objections. It asked those people who were against the club’s policy to say so to its management.

The first night the leaflets were given out the management told us to go home, it was too cold for fooling about. The second night they were less pleased to see us and an irate/scared member called the police, who told us to go, otherwise we’d all be arrested. Unsure of whether we were committing a legal offence, we decided to move.

On the day after, five of us, (Bobbie Oliver, Alan Blake, Steve Lath, Glenys Parry and Liz Stanley) gave out leaflets to the six people who went into the club. We had consulted two lawyers from the National Council for Civil Liberties who had told us that the only offence we could be arrested for was obstruction, and that if we all walked briskly about and didn’t attempt to prevent anyone from going into the club then we would not be committing any offence.

We behaved exactly as the lawyers suggested, gave out only six leaflets, saw only one car pass by: and yet were arrested. For obstruction.

We had a witness who stood nearby on the same piece of pavement for over twenty minutes, but the police took no notice of him whatsoever. The hearing was held on the 28th March, when we were committed for trial on 21st June. The prosecution said that we were members of Gay Lib and that we were trying to pressure the club into letting people of the same sex dance together. In other words, that the club was a straight one, and that we were trying to turn it gay. CHE has backed our action, and has agreed to finance an appeal if the court finds us guilty, or pay any fine they may impose.

Gay News in issue Number 2 will be reporting the outcome of this particular incident.

It seems to us that it is completely unjustified to discriminate against women in this way, and we wish the women (and men) involved every success in their fight against harassment and discrimination.

It would also seem that the many stories we hear of protection money being paid to certain members of the police force in Manchester by club owners are at times not completely without some element of truth in them. In time we will attempt to find out the truth behind the rumours.