24th October 1887
Reference Numbert18871024-1059
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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1059. EDWIN STOCKDALE, Unlawfully obtaining certain machinery by false pretences. Second Count, making a false prospectus, with intent to induce George Frederick Weller to advance 94l. 14s. 2d.

MR. MACMORRAN Prosecuted; MR. FULTON Defended.

GEORGE FREDERICK WELLER . I am in the employ of Mr. Esson, millwright and engineer, of 1, McLean's Buildings, Fetter Lane—in July last I saw an advertisement in a newspaper, to which I replied—on 12th July the prisoner called on me and said that he wanted to purchase some stereo plant and printing materials, and produced this prospectus—I asked him about payment—he proposed paying 20l. down, 20l. the following Tuesday, and the balance the third week—he said that Henry Munster, Esq., Mr. Dorton, Mr. Gentry, and Mr. Saunders were directors of the company, and he could have any money he required from Mr. Munster if he ran short of cash, and that those gentlemen had promised to pay large sums of money into the business—he said that Mr. Brewer was the solicitor to the company—I knew Mr. Dorton, Mr. Gentry, and Mr. Saunders—I live near them—he said the directors were to meet on Tuesday evening—I took this prospectus to Mr. Esson, he looked at it, and authorised me to deliver the goods—the prisoner wrote the order in the office—(For 400 lb. of brevier, and other weights of type; signed" Weller, Managing Director")—the 20l. was not paid down, the goods were not delivered till a week afterwards—I went to see him next day, 13th July; he said that he could not give me a cheque till next Tuesday, not till there was a meeting of the company to draw a cheque—this letter was given me when I called for the cheque: July 12th. Dear Sir,—Kindly forward the stereo and also the brevier; there will be a meeting of the directors, and I will get a cheque signed and send you the 20l."—he brought a 20l. note on the 20th, and goods were supplied value 114l. 14s. 2d.—I parted with them on his pointing out the names of the directors, I knowing them to be well-to-do gentlemen—no other prospectus was. given to me.

Cross-examined. I knew him by sight when he called, without knowing who and what he was; I had not heard that negotiations were going on about starting another newspaper—he did not give me a card—I noticed the corrections in this prospectus, but he told me he did not want me to show it—the 20l. is the only amount that has been paid—I know a person named Evans in Stockdale's employment, I believe he is supposed to be manager—I am quite sure I did not get the prospectus from him; I took

it to Mr. Esson the same day that the prisoner gave it to me—I took it back and locked it in my drawer and retained it—I applied personally to the defendant the following week, about 27th August, for the second payment, but he said the directors had gone away for their holiday for three weeks—I asked him if he could not let me have some cash, he said that he could not till the directors came back—I did not apply again, I was ill for three weeks, and while I was away Mr. Esson found out that the company was going wrong, that it would not be floated—I did not apply again when I came back to business, as it was then in the solicitor's hands.

JOHN ASHBUKTON ESSON . I am a millwright and engineer of 1, McLean's Buildings—Mr. Weller made a statement to me on 12th July and produced this prospectus; I looked at it and authorised him to deliver the goods, seeing the names of some gentlemen in it which I knew very well—I knew Mr. Munster very well at Brighton—I only saw the prospectus once, that was in the evening of the day the prisoner called.

Cross-examined. I knew nothing about this plant being sold till we received a letter from the liquidator—I got no dividend, I did not prove in the liquidation—I instructed my solicitor to take proceedings during Mr. Weller's illness—I knew that everything was seized by the liquidator, he sold everything for the creditors—the prospectus was shown me between five and six o'clock on the day he applied for the goods—I should not have allowed the goods to go, unless some responsible person was at the back of it.

Re-examined. I heard some time in August that the Company was in liquidation and I wrote to each of these gentlemen they all denied it, and I put the matter in my solicitor's hands.

HENRY MUNSTER . I am a barrister-at-law, and live at Selwood Lodge, Brighton—I never authorised anyone to put my name down as a director of the Essex Printing and Publishing Company—I did not know there was such a Company, and never promised to pay money to it; nobody has authority to use my name.

Cross-examined. I did not know at the time, but Mr. Brewer was my agent in election matters, and afterwards I remembered the defendants printing some circulars through the famous case of Stockdale and Hansard—I do not remember Mr. Brewer bringing under my notice any overtures made to him that I should be a director.

JOHN DORTON . I am a member of the Council of West Ham, I am not an alderman—there is no one else of that name in the Corporation—I did not authorise the defendant to give my name as, a director of the Essex Printing and Publishing Company, Limited.

Cross-examined. The defendant proposed to me the starting of a local newspaper; another paper has been started; I have no connection with it.

MARK GENTRY . I am a member of the Corporation of West Ham—my works are in Stratford and London—at the defendant's urgent request I subscribed for one share in the Essex Printing and Publishing Company—I did not authorise him to place my name in the prospectus as a director, and never saw a prospectus with my name in it till these proceedings were taken—I did not act as a director.

Cross-examined. I told him that if this paper was properly taken up I should be willing to associate myself with it—I made the fifth shareholder,

but about the end of June I told him I would have nothing more to do with it—there had been a general desire that another journal should be started, and I am associated with it.

WILLIAM BREWER . I am a solicitor of 102, Fenchurch Street—I am solicitor for Mr. Munster—I have known the defendant some years, and on several occasions have put printing into his hands for Mr. Munster, and he talked of turning his business into a company, and asked if I thought Mr. Munster would assist him by joining the company, and said he had got some very influential names, Colonel Makins and others—I told him I could not make any promise for Mr. Munster—this was not at election time; to the best of my memory it was about June, but he may have mentioned it before—I never authorised him to publish Mr. Minister's name as a director, or to put it on the prospectus; I had no authority—a gentleman called on me to ask if Mr. Munster was a director of the company; I told him it was absurd; I think the defeudant called about the same time, and I taxed him with it, and he denied mentioning Mr. Minister's name in connection with the company—after that I received this letter—(Dated 20th August, from the prisoner, stating that he had taken the witness's advice, and put in hand the voluntary winding-up of the company, and referring to the witness having taxed him with using Mr. Munster's name)—I did not authorise the prisoner to put my name in the prospectus as solicitor to the company—I should not have done so unless I had seen its contents.

Cross-examined. He spoke to me several times about the company, and seemed sanguine as to its success.

HARRY CLANCH . I am an accountant of 39, Wassey Road, Leytonstone—I am one of the liquidators of the Essex Printing and Publishing Company, which was being voluntarily wound up; it was registered in October, 1886—since January I have been employed as registrar; it was my duty to attend the meetings, take the minutes, and keep the books—there was no banking-account and no cheques were drawn to my knowledge—I first saw a prospectus like this with the names of Mr. Munster, Mr. Dawson, and Mr. Gentry about 20th June, 1887, when I went into the shop and stood on the outside of the counter——Mr. Stockdale was engaged writing, and whether he handed me the prospectus or whether I took it up I do not know—I asked him if he had secured Mr. Munster as a director; he said "No, I am going to write to Mr. Brewer," or "I have written to Mr. Brewer to get his assent"—I said "You must be a fool to print a man's name as a director without his authority"—there were several conversations and I cautioned him—among the papers which came into my possession as liquidator was a similar prospectus and a letter in the defendant's writing, dated June 1887, addressed to a gentleman, asking him for his support—it had never been sent, but the envelope was sealed—I opened it; another prospectus was printed, dated March, 1887, similar to the one of June, except that it does not contain the names of Messrs. Munster and Dorton as directors, or Mr. Brewer as solicitor—the company is not solvent, nor was it solvent on 12th July; it stood 12l. to the bad on 12th July, which some one had paid on behalf of the company, and beyond that there was an overdue bill of 200l. unpaid—the company had no money to my knowledge, but they had stock and plant—the prisoner had charge of the books.

Cross-examined. The claims admitted up to the present time, exclusive

of what is due to the defendant, amount to 186l., that is for paper and trade debts, 129l. is for wages paid—we have admitted claims of 111l. 10s., and we do not expect any more assests—if the company had been floated there would have been no difficulty at all—it was duly incorporated but never floated—there never appeared more then the seven subscribers—he was endeavouring to get directors, and there are no bankers in the prospectus—it must have been prior to 20th June that I called upon him—this half of a prospectus came into my possession on 21st September; it is dated March, and the date is altered to June in ink in the prisoner's writing—I spoke to him about it the same day in Mr. Brewster's hearing—the first page containing the alterations in the directors' names is missing, and I asked him why it was torn off—he said he did not know—I asked Mr. Brewster who told him to set up the type, putting in those names—he said "The governor"—I said "Mr. Stockton"—he said "Yes"—there are certain promissory notes made by Mr. Saunders, one of the directors—his name has never been questioned as a director; he is in business at Stratford—Dr. M'Carthy, a medical man in practice, is also a director; his name is on the prospectus—this promissory note is for 1,000l.; it is payable to Stockdale, as the considers he was to receive for the plant, and the rest in fully paid-up shares—on 12th July one of those promissory notes was overdue; if it had been paid there would have been no difficulty about money—Dr. M'Carthy and Mr. Saunders signed those notes on behalf of the company, and they were never paid—Mr. Stockdale has advanced money of his own by the cash book.

Re-examined. About 290l. has been realised, and there are other assets which I think will come in, 25l. or 30l.—of course I leave out the question of these goods; they have not been sold—notice was given me not to part with them pending proceedings.

GUILTY on the Second Count. One Week's Imprisonment.

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