24th June 1889
Reference Numbert18890624-545
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceMiscellaneous > sureties

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545. HENRY WILLIAM POUND was indicted for unlawfully publishing certain false statements of material particulars of a public company, of which he was a director, with intent to defraud.

MR. MEAD Prosecuted, and MR. GILL Defended.

THOMAS JAMES BRINSMEAD . I am a member of the firm of John Brinsmead and Sons, Pianoforte Manufacturers and Timber Merchants—in January this year we had supplied oak to the firm of Henry Pound, Son, and Hutchins, Limited, to the amount of £273 2s. 5d.—it was sold through a Mr. King—between 21st and 28th January we were asked to supply further timber, and I declined doing so unless I received security—before the 28th I saw the defendant, and discussed with him the question of security—he proposed that the Government securities, or the payment for the Government contracts which they held, should be transferred to us, both the accounts that had accrued and those that were accruing—we undertook to supply timber, as the goods were sent in, to those amounts, presuming the Government were to accept the transfer of the debts—I then agreed to supply timber to an equivalent amount, as the goods were delivered to the Government by them so that we were clearly secured—this document, marked A, was given to me by the defendant—this is a statement on the one side of the contracts then current, and of the goods, and on the other side that which had been delivered, the amount being £450—against that I delivered goods to an equivalent amount, or very nearly—on 28th January I wrote this letter to the company: "Gentlemen, in consideration of your assigning to us any contracts due to you from the Government we undertake to supply timber to an equivalent amount, drawing upon you at six months for such purchases"—on the

same day I wrote this letter to the company—I then entered into this indenture of the 28th, signed by Henry Pound and J. McGregor, described as directors, and also by the secretary, and sealed by the company. (This was an assignment by Pound and Co. to Brinsmead and Co., of all debts due and accruing from the Secretary of State for War, specified in annexed schedule, amounting to £5,622 15s. 7d.)—I received letters from time to time, stating that goods had been delivered by the company—relying upon those statements, I supplied timber from time to time—I have made out a statement of account—the total amount of goods supplied amounts to £4,016 15s. 2d., subject to a deduction of £253 7s. 3d. for oak supplied before the contract, leaving a balance of £3,763 7s. 11d., between 31st January and 16th March—on the 2nd January I gave notice to the War Office of the right to receive due monies, which had been assigned to us under the contract, and I received an acknowledgment from the War Office—I received this letter, dated 5th February, from the defendant, giving particulars of two deliveries under the contract, amounting to £348 7s. 6d. and £260—after 28th January we supplied timber amounting to £952 15s. 11d.; bills were drawn with reference to those transactions to that amount—the security given to us at that date was £992, so we had a margin—on the 5th and 11th we supplied goods to the value of £748 15s. 7d.—we received this letter of 11th February, stating that since the last advice there had been a delivery of packing cases, amounting to £239 11s. 4d.—I had supplied goods up to that date within the margin—on the 15th I received this letter, in consequence of which on the 18th I supplied goods to the amount of £274 8s. 11d., and on the 21st to the amount of £485—on 25th I received this letter, and from that date to the 6th March I supplied goods to the amount of £336 9s. 10d.—on 6th March I received this letter (containing particulars of deliveries since last advice amounting to £554 10s. 7d.), and on 7th March I made a further supply, amounting to £627 2s. 7d.—on 8th March I received this letter containing particulars of deliveries amounting to £576 15s. 5d., and on the 16th I supplied timber to the value of £592 2s. 3d.—the total amount of the advices of goods delivered to the Government was £4,424 18s. 9d.—the value of my delivery under the contract was. £3,763 7s. 11d.—£503 3s. 1d. has been paid us—those amounts have been paid us by the Government for the goods which have been delivered—there is a balance of £3,260 still due to us under the contract—if the goods stated to have been delivered had been delivered we should have been entitled to receive the money—I believe it was not due on delivery, but some time within six months—I believed this timber had been delivered, or I should not have supplied the goods.

Cross-examined. This was a transaction in which I was to have no risk—I made out all the dock orders myself—the actual delivery would be by the Dock Company against the delivery orders—my first communication with the defendant was through Mr. King—I don't know whether Mr. King is here; I believe not—I knew that the defendant was acting for the company—the first negotiations were carried on by Mr. King; he introduced the transaction, and was acting between us—subsequently it was with the other directors—I do not know where the timber has gone; I believe it has all gone to the company except one portion, the

£353 for the oak, that was given elsewhere as a security—I say that of my own knowledge—I saw some of the directors from time to time—I ascertained that the Government acknowledged these contracts—I took the bills after the timber had been delivered; they were signed by the directors—they were not for all the goods supplied, but for a large proportion, I think about two-thirds of the amount—the total amount of the bills was £3,597—the defendant did not tell me that his company was in difficulties—there was some remark about the company wanting the contracts financed—I did not say I would make him free of the timber trade in six months—I said I daresay I could manage it for him—if the contracts had been carried out there would have been a margin of about £700—the timber we supplied was to carry out the contract; there was no stipulation to that effect—I understood, of course, that the timber would be used in the contract—the bills I hold are for over £3,000—the goods were not manufactured at Fenchurch Street, but at Deptford—I understood him that he attended at Deptford; he went there with me once—I went to Deptford previous to making this arrangement—I did not go there during the time this was going on, or ever sent anyone there—I had every confidence in Mr. Pound—he asked me particularly not to make any inquiry at the War Office as to the delivery—I have not said that before; I have not been asked—I was not present before the Magistrate when he said he would dismiss the charge—I was in Paris at the time—on the first occasion there was a discussion respecting the matter, but I can't say I understood him to say he was going to dismiss the charge—I believe none of the bills are due yet; the first bill is more than provided for by the actual cash I have got—I applied for process before I knew there was a petition; I heard of it the same afternoon—I applied for a warrant; they gave me a summons—I heard there was a petition against the company and a liquidator appointed—I had no interview with the defendant before applying for the warrant—I saw him the night before I went down to Deptford—I did not go to Deptford to see the state of things—I believe about £800 worth of goods were supplied after that—I have not applied to the War Office for that amount; it is not necessary—I believe I shall get it; I am not sure—the matter is in liquidation—I went to Deptford to see what had become of the timber, and what quantity of goods were ready for delivery—I valued the goods there at about £300 or £400—there was nothing absolutely ready for delivery—I speak of the value simply on my impression on looking at the stock—I went more particularly to see if there was any of my timber there, and I found there was not—that was about three or four days after I had obtained process—I saw no work on the goods at that time—the factory was in work—I found that the whole of the timber I had supplied had been consumed; at all events, it was not there—I did not see a large quantity of goods commenced—there was no question as to the supply of some fittings—I knew that some fittings were wanted to complete the contracts—I find that I am mistaken in saying that nearly the whole amount was drawn for—about £400 was not drawn for; about £1,200 is still undrawn for—for some of the things a different kind of timber would have to be used—I saw the liquidator twice after he was appointed—I desired that the contract with the War Office should be completed; one portion only was completed—I saw Mr. McGregor with the defendant the night before I applied for process—they

did not then tell me of the petition—I ascertained the same day that no delivery had been made at the War Office of the ammunition boxes.

Re-examined. The first negotiation took place through Mr. King—after I first saw the defendant Mr. King did not interfere at all—in every instance the goods I supplied were covered by the statement of the goods delivered to the Government—the fresh supply was always covered by the bills I received; the goods had generally been delivered a week or a fortnight before the bills were drawn—as to the last two deliveries, amounting to £1,200, neither of those amounts has been drawn for, and that has been the condition throughout—after the goods had been passed I drew bills for the amounts—the bills were never given till after the delivery of the goods by us—when they were given they covered the value of the goods, but in the meantime we had delivered other goods—I had a suspicion that the goods had not been delivered to the Government before I had applied for process, and I asked Mr. Pound to explain it—he said it was easily explained, and promised to show me their books—I went, and was simply shown a list of entries corresponding with the amounts given—I said I did not consider that a satisfactory mode of explaining this, that I did not like to suspect him of anything wrong, but to satisfy me he must get his company to go through the whole of the accounts, and give me a statement signed by all the directors that the goods had been delivered—I had a slight suspicion that there had been something wrong with the accounts, nothing further—I afterwards called on him, and he said he had not been able to go with me to the War Office as promised, and show me that the goods had been delivered; he did not appear, and then I went with my solicitor, and found they had not been delivered, then I applied for process—I first went to the offices of the company—I saw McGregor there, not the prisoner—I have not been able to get back any of my timber—I went to Deptford within two or three days of the process, and there was none there; it had all been consumed.

CHARLES RICHARDS . I was foreman in the Contract branch of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich—I know of one contract between Pound and Co., 71071579, dated 13th December, 1888.

By MR. GILL. I have nothing to do with entering into the contracts—I was foreman in charge of the Contract Stores; I receive all goods—I know nothing about the contracts themselves; I simply keep a receipt book for receiving the goods—that was the only book I kept; it is not here.

By MR. MEAD. It would be my duty to receive goods under this contract—I never received any goods prior to 28th March—I have here the delivery order sent by the company of the goods they had to supply—there are none up to 28th March—forty-six boxes were delivered on 28th March; value, £79 7s.

Cross-examined. I am referring to an extract from the contract—I had four men under me—I kept the book—when I am absent another foreman is appointed to do the duty—I have been foreman since 10th July, 1887—I ceased to be so a month ago.

WILLIAM LITTLE . I am superintending clerk in the Army Clothing Department, Pimlico—the records of goods delivered under contracts would be under my supervision—clerks keep the records of delivery in my room—I have no knowledge except from documents, an absence of delivery

orders would be proof that no delivery was made—no deliveries have been made under the contracts 71071690, and 71071691, up to the dates in question; there are no delivery orders for them (MR. MEAD here read an extract from the contract, stating that deliveries were to be made between March, 1889, and February, 1890)—up to March nothing would be deliverable.

Cross-examined. Mr. Brinsmead made no application to me to see the contracts; they would not be in my possession—when deliveries were made, delivery orders would be given to the foreman, who would give them to me to make a record of as against the contract—deliveries have been made during the last month or two—I do not know to what amount.

Witnesses for the Defence.

JAMES HENRY CHANNING MARTIN . I am manager of the Deptford works of this company, and have been for about two years—during that time Mr. Pound has not taken an active part as to work or management there, he has come very seldom indeed—the timber from Messrs. Brinsmead has been used under my supervision—these War Office contracts were commenced at Deptford in January, and were carried on with as much despatch as possible during January, February, and March—I got the number of boxes made approximately from the labour-sheets—as to making the ammunition boxes, the first step is the cutting out and the machine work, grooving, planing, and preparing the stuff for putting together; then they are put together by the carpenters, and the gun metal fittings and zinc linings are put on—about 1,700 are nearly complete out of the 2,046 for which the contract was—putting on the fittings would not mean much work; they are metal—the completion was prevented by the difficulty of obtaining from the country some zinc trays to fit in the zinc linings—it was a long time before we could find out where to get them—we received some about 24th March—they were detained at the station—that was one of the principal causes of delay—there were also gun-metal hinges and hasps—when the petition was filed there was a cask containing 500 sets of those at the railway station awaiting delivery—in consequence of the petition we were prevented from getting them; I have obtained them since; the work was stopped for a time—if there had been no delay in getting the fittings the work would have got on much faster, because I should have put more hands on, but their being stopped there was not the work for the men to do—at the time of the petition I believe about £500 worth of goods had been delivered under the contract of 1888—since then we have delivered 346 ammunition boxes, for which I have the Government receipts—the contract is complete, with the exception of about £1,000 in labour and materials and fittings, and a small portion of timber; £1,000 would cover it—it would take about three weeks or a month to complete the contract by putting these fittings on, and so on—when the petition was filed everything came to an absolute standstill—I was told not to make any further delivery; I had to take my orders from the liquidator.

Cross-examined. There was this delay about the fittings for the ammunition boxes from the commencement—we first delivered some on 28th March; I should have delivered others the same week—the goods were at Deptford Railway Station, the London and Brighton depot, at the time of stoppage—I don't know how long they had been there—they have

been delivered since—it was a matter of money—I was unable to pay for them, that was why they were not delivered—the liquidator has since supplied the money for doing the work—£1,000 would have been sufficient to pay for all the contract for the ammunition boxes—I only know of the contract of 1889 for Pimlico—I should think it would take at least another £1,000 to complete the boxes for the Army Clothing Department—we have delivered about 1,000, and we have another 1,000 ready to be delivered—about £3,000 is required to complete the contracts.

Re-examined. I was not allowed to pay for anything and take it in.

JOHN WILLIAM SIGGERS . I am secretary to Henry Pound, Son and Hutchins; the defendant was managing director; he had a large interest in the business, and I know he had advanced large sums of money to the company—he was advancing money to the company up to the time of the liquidation, from time to time—there was an amount of £5,000 to his credit—I am not aware of the reason for which he had advanced it—he has not to my knowledge in his private capacity pledged his credit by signing his name to bills—the bills have been all accepted—I know of work being done for the contracts—the prisoner was daily at the company's office at Fenchurch Street—I believe the day after the presentation of the petition against the company (I am not certain of the date) he called, and went through details of invoices and stock books at the office with me, and expressed his satisfaction that the timber had been sent to the factory—after the liquidator was appointed the management was taken out of our hands; that caused delay in the execution of the work, because we had to obtain permission of the Court through the liquidator before we could obtain anything—we had difficulty in obtaining fittings for things ready to be delivered—I had an interview with the man who sold the things that were lying at the station—I communicated with the liquidator about it—I have not been to Deptford—I do not know what amount is due from the War Office on goods that have been delivered since the liquidation; they are not charged in our books until we receive notice from the department that they are passed.

GUILTYRecommended to mercy by Jury on account of the hard and striving manner in which he tried to uphold his business, and believing that he had no intent to defraud. Discharged on his own recognisances to appear for judgment if called upon.

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