A local man appeared in front of the Royal Court this week charged with committing an offence under the wartime Defence of the Realm Act. The prosecution alleges that James Walkey has spread a ‘wicked rumour’ claiming that the SS Ibex had been torpedoed and sunk in the Channel.
On 28 December, Walkey reportedly told a Captain Marrett in the Exeter pub that the Ibex, a Great Western Railways ship that ran between Jersey and Weymouth, had been sunk. He claimed to have received the information from a women met while walking down Trinity Hill.
In his defence, Walkey admitted passing on news about the Ibex sinking, but claimed that he thought it was true. He had been surprised to recognise someone he knew worked on the Ibex in the pub that evening. The Bailiff, who was presiding, accepted that Walkey may not have started the rumour, but said that he should have checked its validity before passing on. He released Walkey on £15 bail, while investigations into the source of the rumour continued, reminding the accused that the offence could result in a six-month prison sentence with hard labour or a £15 fine.
B/D/F/3 contains correspondence and orders relating to the application of the Defence of the Realm Act in Jersey.
L/C/60/D2/21 contains a photograph of the SS Ibex.