[From The Luton News: Thursday, July 31st, 1919]
The first act in the riot drama which has made Luton notorious at home and abroad, was played on 19th July and following nights. The second was begun at the Borough Court yesterday morning [July 30th] when 39 prisoners appeared before the justices – Mr R. S. Tomson (in the chair), Messrs C. H. Osborne, G. Ordish, F. Beecroft, W. J. Mair, F. J. Brown and W. Janes – to answer serious charges preferred against them in connection with the disturbances. Almost the whole of those men and women concerned were on remand in custody, and were brought to the police station under escort.
Some time before the proceedings were timed to commence, a large crowd of spectators assembled in Stuart Street and Dunstable Place, and there was a queue to gain admittance when the doors were opened. By this time, however, not a great deal of space was available, for the batch of prisoners occupied four rows of floor space, three sitting and one standing, whilst police officers were stationed at different points of the building in force.
The Town Clerk (Mr William Smith) conducted the case for the prosecution, and Messrs H. W. Lathom and C. Barber represented some of the persons involved. During the morning proceedings, it was intimated that 51 witnesses are to be called.
The charges were in the following terms in regard to the persons charged with rioting and assault on police and firemen: “At the Borough of Luton on 19th and 20th July, 1919, together with divers other evil disposed persons to the number of 1,000 and more, whose names are unknown, unlawfully and riotously did assemble and gather together to disturb the public peace and then unlawfully, riotously, routously and tumultuously did make a great noise, riot, tumult and disturbance, to the great terror and disturbance of His Majesty's subjects there being and residing, passing and re-passing; and, in respect of those charged with assault, and then and there unlawfully, riotously, routously and tumultuously assault, beat, wound and ill-treat one -----, against the peace, etc.”
The terms of the charge preferred for rioting and demolition of buildings were phrased as follows: “At the Borough of Luton on 19th and 20th July, 1919, together with divers other evil disposed persons to the number of 1,000 and more, whose names are unknown, then and there being riotously and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the public peace, feloniously did unlawfully and with force destroy a certain building there situate, to wit the Town Hall, belonging to the Borough of Luton, contrary to the Statute, etc.”
“At the Borough of Luton on 19th and 20th July, 1919, together with divers other evil disposed persons to the number of 1,000 and more, whose names are unknown, then and there being riotously and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the public peace, feloniously did unlawfully and with force damage a certain warehouse there situate of Chas Dillingham; shop there situate of S. Farmer & Co; shop there situate of Walter S. Clark; shop there situate of Chas Caspers; shop there situate of James N. Brown & Co Ltd (as the case may be).
[The list of defendants (right) shows the charges initially made against them. Many of the charges were later amended or elements of them dropped.]