5th April 1886
Reference Numbert18860405-420
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude; Imprisonment > hard labour

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420. GEORGE MASON (61) and JOSEPH LOWE SMITH (56) , Obtaining money by false pretences.

MR. HORACE AVORY Prosecuted; MR. GEOGHEGAN defended Smith.

JAMES EDWARDS . I am manager to Richard Hughes, clothier and outfitter, of 460, Holloway Road, Islington—on 25th February Mason came to my shop and ordered a suit of clothes, made to measure, to the value of 4l. 8s.—he gave the name of George Mason, 23, St. James's Road Holloway—I asked him for a deposit, and he said he would pay for the goods, and offered me this cheque for 6l. (Signed "Thomas G. Mason," upon London and South-Western Bank, Peckham Branch.) It is on a piece of plain paper—I gave him 1l. 12s. change, and paid the cheque into my bank, which was returned marked as it is now, "No account"—the Monday following was agreed for his coming again, but I never sow him again—I sent to the address he gave, but could not find him—on and March I gave information to the police—I believed when I gave the change to the prisoner that this was a genuine cheque.

PARSONS FROST . I am a licensed victualler at 123, Snow Fields, Bermondsey—on 13th March, about 12 in the day, Mason came to my house—I had known him before—he asked me if I could cash this cheque for him for 4l.—I told him it was a funny thing he did not give it on a proper form—he said his friend had not his cheque-book with him—I then gave him the 4l.—the cheque was afterwards returned to me marked as it is now, "No account"—I believed when I gave him the change for it that it was a genuine cheque.

FREDERICK WESTON . I am cashier at the Peckham Branch of the London and South-Western Bank—this cheque for 6l., signed Thomas: G. Mason," was presented there—no person of that name has an account there, or any one of the name of Thomas Williams, and no one has an account at the Croydon Branch in that name.

Cross-examined by Mason. If we had proved the cheque to have been forged we should have marked it "Forged."

JOSEPH HARRISON . I live at 9), Galley Wall, Bermondsey—on 17th February Mason took lodgings at my house—he said he was a commercial traveller—he lived there till 6th March, sleeping there every night—on account of his not paying his bill we told him he had better leave—on 13th March, about 5.30, Smith brought me a note and a list of Mason's goods—he said he had come from Mason's and that he had come after Mason's goods—I asked him to write the receipt for the goods and saw him do so, and I gave the goods to him.

JOHN TUNBRIDGE (Police Inspector). On 16th March, about half-past 9, I followed Smith to 205, St. James's Road, and shortly afterwards saw him leave there with Mason—I followed them to one or two public-houses, and eventually arrested them in New Kent Road—I told Mason I was a police officer and should arrest him for being concerned with Smith in forging cheques—he said "Where?"—I said "On this side of the water and other places"—he said "In what names?"—I said "F. G. Mason and other names"—he said "F. G. Mason is my own name, I know nothing of the others"—on the way to the station Smith said "What have you taken me for? I don't understand being arrested in the street like this"—I said "You will be charged with Mason in forging and uttering cheques"—he said "I have never uttered one"—I said "Perhaps not, but you must have written them"—he said "I do a lot of writing for people"—at the station I found on Mason these two cheques written on blank paper, between the leaves of a book in his pocket—one

is for 2l. 10s. and the other 4l. 15s., and are both signed "Thomas Williams" and are on the London and South-Western Bank, one on Forest Hill Branch and one Croydon Branch—they were freshly written—I also found on him this piece of paper, apparently the portion of another cheque—on Smith was found a pen and ink-bottle and piece of blotting-paper, upon which I find the word "Co."—I have compared that with the crossings on these cheques and it exactly corresponds—I also found on him these two pieces of paper, which had originally formed one part—at his house I found this letter: "From 305, St. James's Road Dear Smith,—Come to me here to-morrow morning; I will wait for you; I have been laid up all day with a very bad cold.—Yours, G. Mason. P.S.—I mean Tuesday."

Cross-examined by Mason. I arrested you first of all on another charge.

ROBERT ODY . I live at 264, Camberwell New Road, and am clerk my father, a solicitor—Smith was in my father's employment for some years as a clerk—I am well acquainted with the prisoner's writing, and have seen him write on many occasions—this letter and receipt for Morgan's goods are in his writing—these four cheques are also in his Writing—the writing on this paper is not his, it is not so bold a writing—Smith was with us about 10 years; he went away once and came back again—I don't know that he left through slackness of work—he has been doing copying since then.

ISAAC TODD (Policeman N 199). On 16th March I was in charge of the prisoners at Grange Road Police-station, and saw Smith take this purse from his pocket, in which I found this piece of paper. (The pencil draft of the cheques.) He asked fur the purse back and I refused.

GEORGE SMITH INGLIS . I am the Government expert in handwriting—I have examined the cheques and the prisoner's admitted writing, they are the same.

Cross-examined by MR. GEOGHEGAN. There is no disguise about it.

GUILTY . MASON**— Seven Years' Penal Servitude. SMITH— Twelve Months' Hard Labour.

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