14th January 1801
Reference Numbert18010114-57
VerdictNot Guilty

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151. JOHN SPERINCK was indicted, for that he, on the 27th of November , being employed in the capacity of a servant to Thomas Fagg and William Pratt , did, by virtue of such employment, take into his possession the sum of 9s. of and from one George Ballisett , for and on account of his said masters, and afterwards fraudulently did embezzle and secrete the same .

Second Count. Varying the manner of charging it, and

Third Count. For feloniously stealing 9s. the property of the said Thomas Fagg and William Pratt .

(The Case was opened by Mr. Knapp.)

THOMAS FAGG sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I am one of the properietors of the Banbury coach , Mr. William Pratt , of Banbury, is the other proprietor, he and I are the sole proprietors; the prisoner was our coachman , he drove the Banbury coach from the Bell and Crown Inn, in Holborn , to Aylesbury, in Berkshire, and back again; it was his business to receive all the fares that were taken up after the coach left the Bell and Crown Inn, and till it returned again, and to pay the money at the coach-office at the Bell and Crown Inn, in the city of London: he came into my employ first in March, 1800.

Q. During the course of that employment were you led to any suspicion of him? - A. I certainly was.

Q. In consequence of these suspicion were you induced to question him particularly respecting the receipts of the 27th of November? - A. Particularly so; I particularly cautioned him to account for all the monies he had received on that day and previous to that day.

Q. When was it that you so questioned him? - A. On the night of the 28th of November.

Q. Was their any mention of the receipt of a fare of nine shillings? - A. No; I did not ask him particularly as to every fare; I said, Sperinck, have you put all your parcels and passengers upon this bill; he said they were all put down.

Q. Did he produce to you a way-bill of the 27th of November? - A. He was about to settle the way-bill with the book-keeper, who always settles it with him; the way-bill of the 27th and 28th are upon one sheet of paper, and settled at one and the same time; (Produces the way-bill), this is the way-bill settled.

Q. Are they kept distinct? - A. Although they are on one sheet of paper they are kept separate, one is the down bill of the 27th, and the other the up bill of the 28th.

Q. Did you see such a fare in that way-bill as nine shillings paid by one George Ballisett ? - A. No such fare is accounted for.

Q. Did you particularly caution and desire him to be particular as to that way-bill? - A. Particulary so.

Cross-examined by Mr. Const. Q. Are Mr. Pratt and you joint partners all the way? - A. No; I am the proprietor of the coach from London to Buckingham, and Mr. Pratt from Buckingham to Banbury; the distance between London and Banbury is agreed between me and my partner to be seventy-seven miles, my share is sixty-one miles.

Q. Your share of what? - A. Of what the coach earns; suppose the coach earns seventy-seven pounds in a week, in four weeks, after the duty, the expences of the tolls, and the use of the coach are deducted from it, I should take sixty-one pounds and my partner would take sixteen pounds.

Court. Q. Do you take the whole earnings of the coach? - A. The whole earnings of the coach are calculated upon.

Q. Instead of proportioning upon miles, you have a certain share upon the whole earnings? - A. Yes; I have sixty-one shares out of seventy-seven.

Q. In the same proportion you are answerable for loss as well as profit? - A. Yes.

Mr. Const. Q. Your business, like any other business, is divided into seventy-seven shares, of which you have sixty-one? - A. On that coach.

Q. You, however, having so many shares, have the sixty-one miles nearest your own dwelling? - A. Yes.

Q. All the expence of the first sixty-one miles is borne by you? - A. No; the horses have nothing to do with the nature of a stage-coach account, each person upon the ground that he horses a coach finds his own horses; the duty, the tolls, and other incidental expences are borne in an equal proportion according to the number of miles. I will state to your Lordship the manner in which we settle stage-coach accounts; we settle every four weeks, the nett is then divided by the number of miles that the coach goes.

Q. Then you both contribute towards the expences? - A. Exactly so.

Mr. Const. Q. Who hired the prisoner, you or Mr. Pratt? - A. I hired him.

Q. Had you the sole controul over him? - A I had the greatest controul over him.

Q. He did not go so far as Mr. Pratt's dwelling? - A. Not as my servant; I believe he has gone the whole way; I hired both the coachmen, and they were paid out of the joint earnings of the coach.

Q. Have you no other partner in your share? - A. No.

Q. Has Mr. Pratt any body concerned with him in his share? - A. No.

WILLIAM PRATT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. I live at Banbury; I am in partnership with Mr. Fagg in the Banbury coach.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar? - A. I have seen him as coachman, as coming with the other coachman from Aylesbury; I do not think he ever had the care of driving from Aylessbury to Banbury.

Q. The coachman driving from London to Aylesbury would not come to you with money? - A. No.

Q. Did he ever account to you for any fares between London and Aylesbury on the 27th of November? - A. No.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gurney. - Q. Is the account at Banbury settled with you? - A. No; there is no account at all settled at Banbury, it is all settled in London.

Q. The coachman was Mr. Fagg's servant, and not your's? - A. Both jointly.

Q. Did you consider yourself as having a power to dismiss him? - A. Whenever I pleased.

GEORGE BALLISSETT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. On the 27th of November last I was a passenger in the Banbury coach driven by the prisoner.

Q. Did the prisoner know of your intention of being a passenger that day? - A. Yes; he had been made acquainted with it; the coach took me up at the Green Man and Still, in Oxford-street; he carried me to the sign of the Peacock, in Chalfont St. Peter's, Buckinghamshire.

Q. Who was the driver of the coach that day? - A. The prisoner at the bar; he told me the fare was nine shillings, and I paid him nine shillings, by getting change of him for a two pound Bank of England note, giving one shilling for himself; I had been travelling by the same coach before, with the same coachman.

Court. Q. That nine shillings you paid for the fare of the coach? - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Const. Q. Did Mr. Fagg know of your intention? - A. Yes, he did over night.

Q. You went, I suppose, for the purpose of detecting him? - A. Yes; he had a suspicion of him.

Q. You are sure you paid it him? - A. Yes.

Q. Of what profession are you? - A. A gentleman; I was brought up to the profession of the law, I was last with Mr. Johnson, NO. 4, Southampton-court, Queen-square, Bloomsbury.

Q. And you are an attorney? - A. I do not act as such; but I do business in the conveyancing way.

Q. You are not teh person then that we have seen in the Hay and Scraw Committee? - A. Yes; I belong to that committee.

Q. No part of this transaction took place in the city of London? - A. No.

Q. You paid your money in Chalsont St. Peter's, and commenced your journey in Oxford-street? - A. Yes.

Q. The money that you paid, was it your own or Mr. Fagg's? - A. It was my own.

Mr. Knowlys, Q. You took this journey upon Mr. Fagg's suspicions, to try whether the coachman would be honest enough to give his master the money? - A. Yes.

Court. Q. Have you received that money back again? - A. No.

Q. Is there any understanding between you, that you are to have it returned? - A. No, there was not, upon my oath.

Q. Do you now expect the money to be returned? - A. I certainly expect that I shall not be out of pocket by it; I have left that entirely to Mr. Fagg.

Q. Was there nothing said between you about it at the time? - A. No.

Q. But you do not expect to be out of pocket? - A. I certainly do not expect to be any thing out of pocket.

ROBERT BROWN sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I am book-keeper to Messrs. Fagg and Pratt's Banbury coach.

Q. Do you recollect the prisoner being called upon to account for the monies received on the 27th of November? - A. I do.

Q. He accounts by a way-bill? - A. He does, I settled it with him myself.

Q. Was he more than ordinarily cautioned that evening? - A. No; upon every bill he was requested to be correct.

Q. Was he requested to be correct and sure in his account of that way-bill? - A. He was.

Q. Look at the way-bill; is there any fare accounted for as 9s. from London to Chalfont St. Peter's? - A. No, there is not.

Q. Was it his duty to make up his accounts at your coach-office every time that he returned to London? - A. Yes; every other day for the downbill, and the up-bill also.

Q. The 27th was the bill from London to Aylesbury? - A. Yes, it was.

Prisoner's defence. I don't recollect any thing of that man's going down with me; I don't recollect ever seeing him before.

The prisoner called two witnesses, who gave him a good character. NOT GUILTY .

London Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

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