Offence: Deception > bankrupcy
Verdict: Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishment: Imprisonment > no_subcategory
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DINSLEY, Harry Stephenson (37, manager) , being adjudicated bankrupt, unlawfully obtaining credit to the extent of £20 and upwards, to wit, to the extent of £30 from John Solomon Bates without informing him that he was an undischarged bankrupt.
Mr. Penry Oliver prosecuted; Mr. Macrae Biggie defended.
JOHN SOLOMON BATES , 4, Little St. Andrew Street, Upper St. Martin's Lane, builder and contractor. At the end of October, 1911, I first met prisoner at the Two Brewers public-house; he told me he had got a job for me and asked me to give him a price for some work shown on plans; on October 31 I entered into contract (produced) to do the work for £156. He afterwards asked me to give him a further price for other work, and on November 2 we entered into contract (produced) for £70. On November 6 I started work on Nos. 46 and 48, Hampstead Road under the direction of Mr. Burchett, prisoner's architect, who, on November 17, gave me certificate for £30, which I took to prisoner on Saturday afternoon; he gave me in payment cheque (produced) on the London County and Westminster Bank for £30, which I cashed with my butcher; it was returned marked "RD." I wrote prisoner and received letter dated November 22: "Dear Mr. Bates,—My clerk will have told you how things stand at my home from where I am writing. It is now 11.30, and the doctor can give me no hope of my wife's life. I expect the cash will be paid into my account to-morrow or at the latest Friday morning, and I will send you on an open cheque at once. You would have had the cash to-day if it had not been for this accident at home. As you know, payment is not really due till Friday, but I am more than sorry circumstances have prevented me letting you have it earlier.—Faithfully yours, F.H. Dinsley." I never received the open cheque. The cheque was again presented and returned. I gave instructions to Mr. Choate to communicate
with prisoner; as a result of what Choate told me I instructed my solicitor; an action was brought against prisoner and on February 17, before Mr. Justice Bankes, I recovered judgment (produced) against defendant for £30, and costs. During the progress of the case prisoner stated he was an undischarged bankrupt. I was not aware of it before. I caused inquiries to be made and applied for a summons.
Cross-examined. The loss of this money has ruined me. Prisoner did not tell me he was the agent of a Mr. Lowy, the lessee, and that he (prisoner) held the leases, bills of exchange, and a mortgage as security that Lowy would pay and that that was what I had to look to as he (prisoner) was an undischarged bankrupt—there is not a word of truth in it. If Lowy's name is on the contract, I took no notice of it. He showed me no lease whatever.
GEORGE INGLIS BOYLE , messenger, Court of Bankruptcy. I produce file of prisoner's bankruptcy: Receiving order, April 8, 1910; judication, April 14; liabilities, £1,821 6s. lid.; assets, £55 1s. 9d.; he has not applied for or received his discharge.
Detective HENRY JOEL, E Division. On March 28 I saw prisoner at 101, Pentonville Road, where he carries on business as a bioscope and film manufacturer. I explained the summons to him; he made no reply.
Cross-examined. I have known prisoner for nine or ten years as an honest and respectable man.
(Thursday, May 2.)
JOHN PATCHIN CHOATE , 46, Lloyd Road, Denmark Hill, quantity surveyor. I was employed by prosecutor to estimate for work at 46 and 48, Hampstead Road, which I worked out at £247. I saw prisoner about the specifications; he said I must reduce it to less than £230, which amount he said was deposited in the bank and I reduced it to £228. On November 2, 1911, I saw prisoner and Mr. Burchett, his architect. I asked Burchett to send the contract to be signed. Burchett said that the £230 was deposited in the bank for the purposes of the contract. It was arranged that the contract should be signed at 11 the next morning at prisoner's office. I had also made an estimate for a fireproof flooring at £47. On November 3 I saw prisoner; I asked how it was he had sent two contracts to prosecutor to sign and why the second one was made out for £70 instead of £47; he said he wanted the second contract for the gentleman who was finding the money. He said he would send duplicates signed by himself to prosecutor. When about £45 worth of work had been done I wrote to Burchett asking for a certificate for £30 and an open cheque on the bank where the money was deposited before 11 on Saturday morning. I saw prosecutor and on November 22 wrote prisoner asking for the money for the cheque or we should stop work. I afterwards wrote on December 9 threatening proceedings. The work was stopped on November 22.
HARRY STEPHENSON DINSLEY (prisoner, on oath). I was originally a Nonconformist minister and have since engaged in cinematograph work. I told prosecutor of my bankruptcy. In March, 1911, I met Lowy, one of the managers of the Apollo Theatre, and agreed with him to fit up part of the bank premises, 44 and 46, Hampstead Road, as an electric theatre and to take from him a twelve-month's contract for supplying the operator films and outfit; he to pay £40 down (which I received in April) and £260 in four £50 bills and one of £60, the first payable on December 16 and the others at intervals of one month; he also was to deposit the lease and any other security required for the discounting of the bills. Part of the premises was let to a Mr. Paxton for a hospital. I received the leases. On September 18 or 19 I was introduced to prosecutor by the landlord of the "Two Brewers" and agreed with prosecutor to do the work for £228 in two contracts of £158 and £70. I engaged Burchett to draw the plans and specification. I had several conversations with prosecutor. About the end of October I showed him the leases, the mortgage on the premises to me, and the bills and said, "Now, Bates, as I am a bankrupt that is all the security you have to depend on as far as I am concerned." I introduced Lowy and said, "This is Mr. Lowy, your principal at Hampstead Road." Lowy urged on prosecutor the necessity for the work being completed within a month from the signing of the contract. The prospects of the theatre were discussed. I said I though Lowy was fortunate in having got the site. Lowy said, "Why do not you take a place like it—I have told you about the Angel site, why do not you take it?" I told him not to "talk rot," and said as long as I was a bankrupt I could not do anything of that description—that I found my bankruptcy handicapped me in everyway. Prosecutor then asked if I was connected with the Angel site. I said, "No, there was nothing in it." Prosecutor and I talked over whether the £70 contract should be signed by Lowy or whether I should sign it with an indemnity from Lowy; the architect had made it out in Lowy's name. Prosecutor said he would rather I signed it as I had all the securities. I got indemnity (produced) from Lowy for the £70. The two contracts were signed by me in prosecutor's office on October 31, his carpenter witnessing my signature and Burchett witnessing prosecutor's. Burchett crossed Lowy's name out of the £70 contract and put mine in. I told prosecutor when the bills were discounted the money would be paid into a separate account at the bank. I did not succeed in discounting the bills. On November 17 prosecutor told me he had got from Burchett a certificate for £30. I said the bills were not discounted, but I thought it very probable they would be the following morning. He said, "Of course, the money is not due for a, week, but do you think you will be able to let me have it to-morrow?" I said, "Mr. Russell says he has little doubt that his people will complete the discounting to-morrow and if so you can have the money with pleasure." Russell is a surveyor, of 170, Strand,
who, prosecutor knew, intended to discount the bills or his clients would.
(Friday, May 3.)
HARRY STEPHENSON DINSLEY (prisoner on oath), recalled. On Saturday, November 18, I saw Russell and found the bills were not discounted. I got to my office at 1.30 and saw prosecutor. I told him the bills were not discounted, but Russell felt confident they would be discounted on Monday or Tuesday. Prosecutor said he had not quite enough money to pay his men and if I would let him have the cheque he could get some money from a tradesman; that the cheque would not be presented till Tuesday or Wednesday. I then gave him the cheque for £ 30. On November 22 my wife had an accident and fractured the base of her skull and I was away from the office. On receiving Choaite's letter of that date I wired to my solicitor and asked him to see prosecutor. Prosecutor afterwards brought an action against me for the £ 30. Lowy brought an action against me for the work being stopped and the bills were returned to him on an arrangement that he would continue the contract direct with prosecutor.
Cross-examined. I knew prosecutor had not money to pay his workmen when I gave him the cheque. I did not then say I was an agent. Before and after my bankruptcy I was director and manager of the Parkin Bioscope Company, from whom I received a salary. I contracted with Lowy to do the work for £ 300. The bank refused to discount the bills at the end of October or beginning of November. I contracted with prosecutor to do part of the work for £ 228; I had to provide the seating, electric lighting, pay for the plans, and other expenses. I cannot swear to the date when I told prosecutor I was an undischarged bankrupt. On Saturday, November 18, I told him unless the bills were discounted the cheque would not be met. I did not refer to that in my letter because it was unnecessary.
CONSTANCE IRENE GORDON . I have been five years in prisoner's employ. I left on October 31, 1911. In October, 1911, I came into prisoner's office. Prosecutor and prisoner were there. I saw the papers relating to the Hampstead Road affair on a marble table. I heard prisoner say, "As I am an undischarged bankrupt, this" (pointing to the papers) "is all you have to look to" or "rely on." I was interested in the matter because my fiance was to be the operator at the theatre.
WILLIAM HERBERT CREWE , Marley Road, Peckham, retired licensed victualler. In June, 1911, I was introduced to Lowy by prisoner as the probable manager of the Hampstead Road Picture Palace. I have been manager to a cinematograph show in Harrow Road. In the beginning of October I called to see prisoner. He came out with Lowy, and we all three went to the "Two Brewers." Prosecutor was there. Prisoner said, "Hullo, Bates, I was just coming to see you. I want to introduce you to Mr. Lowy, your principal at Hampstead
Road. "Lowy said he wanted the alterations finished within a month of the signing of the contract. Prisoner congratulated Lowy on the site. Lowy said, "Why don't you do the same. I have mentioned to you the site at the 'Angel.'" Prisoner said, "What is the use of your talking like that. You know very well I cannot take that over as long as I am a bankrupt." Prosecutor asked prisoner if that was another place he was concerned in. Prisoner said "No "; there was nothing in it. I and prisoner then returned to his office; Lowy remained talking to prosecutor.
FREDERICK HALL TOMPKINS , 112, Melloxen Road, Tooting, solicitor. On December 11 I was instructed by prisoner to see the prosecutor, which I did. I said I had come from Mr. Dinsley in respect of a letter which he had received from Choate. Prosecutor said, "Why is not he manly enough to come himself." I said that his wife was ill. I had with me the mortgage, five bills, and two leases, and explained that the bills had not been discounted by the bank because they had been made payable by the acceptor Lowy at a bank where he had no account. Prosecutor said he believed Lowy had an account now. I told him the bills would have to be discounted on the faith of Lowy's name because Dinsley was an undischarged bankrupt. He said, "Yes, he told me that. "I suggested that he should take the £50 bill falling due on December 16, and prisoner would assign the mortgage and leases to him, and that he would get paid.
Cross-examined. I gave evidence in the High Court as to the conversation with prosecutor in the action of Bates v. Dinsley for £30. I said nothing about prisoner's telling him he was an undischarged bankrupt. Prisoner stated that he was an undischarged bankrupt at the end of the trial.
Re-examined. The point in that trial was the question of agency.
Sentence: Three months' imprisonment, second division.
BEFORE MR. JUSTICE LUSH.
(Thursday, May 2.)