Postmaster accused of gambling fraud

Mr R R. H. Rhodes, Postmaster-general, was (says a Press Association message) interviewed yesterday at Christchurch with reference to the article in a Christchurch newspaper alleging that the Postmaster-general was aiding and abetting bookmakers in offering incitements to young men to gamble on horse races by delivering betting cards posted by bookmakers.

Mr Rhodes said that undoubtedly by section 28 of the Post and Telegraph Act, 1908, the Postmaster-general had a right to prevent delivery of correspondence to any person either in New Zealand or abroad who, he had reasonable grounds to suppose, was engaged in receiving any money as consideration for assurance, expressed or implied, to pay money on any event relating to a horse race - that was to say shortly, who was engaged in betting.

That betting cards were sent through the post was a matter of common knowledge to the Postmaster-general and his officers. If these betting cards were sent in open envelopes they were open to the scrutiny of a postmaster who then might reasonably be supposed to be at liberty to take action in regard to them as allowed and prescribed by section 30 of the Act. When the cards were in closed envelopes the Post Office was in a different position.

The Postmaster-general deprecates in his officers any system of prying or espionage in respect even of open packets, and officers are expected and are accustomed only to challenge such breaches of the law as their usual duties, discharged in the usual way, make them cognisant of.

The fact of an infraction of the provisions of the law and of coming under the animadversion of section 28 of the Act thus becomes a matter of legal proof generally on the part of persons outside the Post Office.

When such proof is offered to the Postmaster-general he is under the necessity of taking notice of it. In any case, the matter has again to be referred to the Solicitor-General with a view of ascertaining what, if any, ground the Postmaster-general has to take further action.

• An epoch in the history of the local Territorial forces was marked on Saturday, when all sections of the defence forces in Dunedin, numbering close on 1000 Territorials and nearly 900 Senior Cadets, were massed on parade for the first time since the inception of the new defence scheme.

As Saturday's was the initial parade of the combined troops it was decided, before carrying out the tactical exercises, for which the various units had been mobilised, to afford, by a march through the main streets, an opportunity to citizens of witnessing the extent of the local forces and the effect of the training undergone by the men.

The weather was beautifully fine, and the opportunity was largely availed of by the public who assembled in large numbers about 2.30 in the vicinity of the vacant space in front of the railway station, where the troops, consisting of 29 companies of Senior Cadets, 5th Mounted Infantry (Otago Hussars), B Battery, Field Communication Corps, Coastal Defence Detachment, Medical Section, and eight companies of infantry comprising the first battalion of the 4th Regiment, were drawn up in full marching order.

• Now that the five-day working week is being spoken of the following is interesting:- The Northern Mail (Whangarei) states that it is reported that the innovation of a six-day week, instead of seven days, as has ruled in the past, will shortly be introduced at the cement works at Limestone Island. The men will greatly appreciate the change, as even with the lure of overtime Sunday work did not appeal to them strongly.

- ODT, 10.2.1913.

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