22nd October 1877
Reference Numbert18771022-806
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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806. ROBERT MONSEY STACEY (19, a soldier) , Unlawfully making a false entry in a book belonging to his employer.

MR. BESLEY conducted the Prosecution; and MR. HORACE AVORY the Defence.

ROBERT "WATTS . I am a bootmaker at Leytonstone, Essex—in March last, held the position of postmaster, which I have since resigned—the prisoner was employed by me at a salary of 5s. per week, and he had board, lodging, and boots—it was his duty to make up the day's accounts for the General Post Office, and render a copy of the return to the Post Office—he had been accustomed to that three or four years—if we had a balance of cash we had to return daily to the Post Office—the daily cash account of 13th March is in prisoner's handwriting—the casting-up is 339l. 7s. 5d.—that represents the amount carried over from the 12th to the 13th, and the amount for orders issued, the commission, and the Government Annuities, 20l. 1s. 8d., all the receipts of the office for that day, with the balance of the previous day—the right total is 349l. 7s. 5d.—I have had the 10l. to pay—the error was discovered on the 14th or 15th of April at the General Post Office, when I sent the books to be audited—the prisoner left my service on the 22nd March—I did not know he was going to leave—he has usually left on Sunday morning, but on this occasion he asked permission to go on Saturday night, and should have come back on Sunday night—he did not return till the end of the next week—he did not give any explanation for his absence—I would not let him resume work—I did not come to any settlement with him—I did not mention this affair—he had had his 5s. on the previous Saturday—I did not see him again after the discovery of the deficiency until he was in custody on the 13th of October—he had to make a copy of the return to send to the General Post Office—on the 13th of March he returns to the Post Office as the day's receipts 150l. 7s. 2d.—in my book it is 140l. 7s. 2d.—the Post Office return is correct, but in my book there is an error of 10l.

Cross-examined. The bootmaking business is carried on in the same shop and at the same counter as the Post Office work—I have cast up the columns myself—the sheets returned by the prisoner are correct—he left on the 22nd of March, and the mistake was discovered about the 15th of April—after he had left he offered to come back into my service, and I refused because he had left without notice—I know Mr. William Argent, of 61, Gracechurch Street—I instructed him to write a letter for me to the prisoner's mother—I never saw the letter before it went—I did not tell Mr. Argent to say that out of respect to his parents I did not wish to proceed to extreme measures, provided the 10l. which I had to pay were made good to me; nothing of that sort—I made no such proposition as that I would be obliged if the mother would at once write, saying what proposal she was prepared to make with a view to a speedy settlement—I did not tell Mr. Argent to say failing the repayment I would place the matter in legal hands—I proposed writing in a measure to know where he was and what had become of him, but did not make any such proposition as to make a debt of it—I do not know that I told Mr. Argent of anything beyond what he knew of the circumstances—I left him to write what he chose—I did care what he wrote—I did not give instructions what he was to write—I had a copy of the letter sent to me, and have read it, but I forget it now—I have not got a copy—it has become waste paper—I did not write to Mr. Argent to repudiate what he had done.

Re-examined. I never received 10l. in one day in the boot business.

HENRY STAPLES . I am employed in the General Post Office—I produce

the daily sheets of the 12th to the 26th of March of the Leytonstone Post Office, of which Robert Watts was postmaster—the sheets are the same documents submitted by him—the returns to the General Post Office are correct, 150l. balance, whereas in the daily account book it shows 140l., and by that false addition the balance is 339l. instead of 349l.

GEORGE BLANK (Detective Officer). The case was entrusted to me to take prisoner into custody on 12th of June, and from 12th of June to 20th of October I was not able to see the prisoner—I found him enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Brompton Barracks, Chatham—he said "All right, I can soon square that little matter up."

Cross-examined. I have not before been asked what the prisoner said, and I have not stated it before.

GUILTY Six Months' Imprisonment.

Before Mr. Common Sergeant.

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