Furthermore, the mayor actually went as far as asking the home secretary for permission to leave the Salvationists to the fury of the mob. Permission was very properly denied. The Salvation Army opened fire in Eastbourne on 9th January 1890. Conflict with the town council was not long in coming. On September 8th Captain Emily Goss, together with other Salvationists, appeared before the magistrates charged with singing in the street.
On the order of the mayor they were soon arrested and were committed for trial by local magistrates charged with conspiracy and unlawful assembly. Appearing at the Sussex Assizes at Lewes on 8th August, they were defended by Mr. H. H. Asquith, Q.C., M.P., who was later to become Prime Minister. The case was sent to the Central Criminal Court for trial on 2nd December where he jury found the bandsmen guilty of the charge of unlawful assembly. The judge, Mr. Justice Hawkins, refused to accept the verdict, stating that walking carrying musical instruments could in no way be considered unlawful. December 4th saw a proclamation posted in Eastbourne signed by the mayor and town clerk in another attempt to quell the Army's activities. It was withdrawn when local Methodists announced that they too would contest the contents of the proclamation to the bitter end. Despite this, both the Skeleton Army and indeed the police continued to hand out brutal treatment to the local Salvationists.