Trenton Police Court
The Old Town Hall in Trenton at King Street and Division was built in 1861 and long after it ceased to be a meeting place for town council, the upstairs was the location for weekly police court. Hearings before a Justice of the Peace for minor infractions were held every Monday morning right into the 1960’s.
One police court case in 1950 had a singular impact on a young cab driver employed by LaFleur’s Taxi. This young cabbie had taken it upon himself remove $20 of his overdue wages out of the fares at the end of one of his shifts. The taxi company decided to take him to court arguing for a charge of theft.
In court the cabbie argued that it wasn’t theft as he was owed the money and didn’t withhold the fact of taking it. A somewhat frustrated JP heard the argument from the taxi company and the defense from the accused. “Did you take the money?”, he asked the cab driver? The cabbie’s response: “Yes I did”. To which the JP replied, “Give it back to Mr. LaFleur”. Anticipating this outcome but still crestfallen, the cabbie was prepared with cash in hand. “Yes sir”, and he handed it over to the LaFleur. The JP turned his attention now to LaFleur; “Do you owe him $20?” LaFleur hesitated, “Yes sir, but…” The JP cut him off with a wave of his hand, “Hand it over to him”. LaFleur reluctantly gave the money back to the cab driver. “Case closed” said the JP.
The cabbie beamed and LaFleur hung his head. Mysteriously, the cabbie didn’t get fired, but left on his own to pursue broader horizons and therein lays the singular impact of this day in court. You see, the cabbie was Roy Bonisteel, whose next horizon was radio. The court session was covered by a reporter from CJBQ radio in Belleville. He knew Roy could write having already read some of Roy’s work in the Courier Advocate, and being a cabbie was his second job. It was Roy’s voice, a resonating baritone that could command a court room, which inspired that reporter to put Roy in front of a microphone at CJBQ and begin his long and illustrious career in broadcasting.