1st May 1893
Reference Numbert18930501-492
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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492. JAMES McHATTIE (21) , Unlawfully obtaining, by false pretences, printed books from Charles Badcock and from John Tidy Watson, with intent to defraud.

MR. A. GILL Prosecuted, and MR. BRUCE Defended.

ROBERT FOLEY . I am manager to Henry George Allen, export bookseller, of Henrietta Street, Covent Garden—the prisoner has been in his employment for three years past as collector—he had a fortnight's notice to leave at the beginning of March, and left about the middle of March—I receive orders from abroad, and I send the prisoner or some other employé round to the wholesale publishers to collect the books required—it was the prisoner's regular duty to collect in that way for the three years, so that he was well known by the different publishers—he took a list of books, which I wrote as a rule, and the places to which he was to go—Mr. Allen never made out the list—it would have the indiarubber stamp of our firm on it—the prisoner would have access to that stamp if he wished to use it—he had no authority to order books unless they were contained in a list similar to this—Simpkin, Marshall and Co. was one of the firms with which we dealt, and to which the prisoner would go—he

would call over from his list to the publishers' assistant the books they published, and then he would receive the books, and would sign for them in their book, and run his pen through those books on his list—some publishers do not give invoices, but expect the collector to take a memorandum; but Simpkin, Marshall and Co. supply us with invoices, and we fettle up monthly—the order lists would not be filed, but are thrown away when completed—this one produced was probably in use at the time the question was raised—sometimes I have gone through a list with him before it was thrown away, but as a rule he has not brought them to me—if he had a few lines open he might take them on to another list, and destroy the old one—there was no objection to that by our firm—we had no order for two sets of Miss Braddon's novels in March this year—I did not authorise the prisoner to purchase them for my employer—they are published by Simpkin, Marshall—I did not furnish the prisoner with any list containing them in March this year—since the prisoner left, an account from Simpkin, Marshall has been received—I have searched for the invoices of the items in the account—I have not found any invoice for an item of £11 8s. on 7th March, or for any books at all, or any invoice for £1 17s. 2d. on 9th March—if such invoices had been supplied by the prisoner I should have kept them—he was not authorised to call for Miss Braddon's novels on those days—we received no orders for them for years.

Cross-examined. Two or three years ago we had an order for Miss Braddon's novels for a library, but we should have sent that order to the publishers by post—if I was pressed I would depute Gurd to make up the list—no one else would do it at that time—in March the prisoner and Gurd were the only employés—if I gave Gurd the list to write he should have brought it back to me—I don't think he got orders from Mr. Allen to make out lists without my knowledge—Gurd is now in prison for signing for books at Simpkin's without authority—he was convicted at the Mansion House last Monday week, and sentenced to one month hard labour—if the prisoner went on 7th March with a list to Messrs. Simpkin, I could not say in whose writing it had been made out—I heard Mr. Allen mention the name of Commins, of Exeter, in connection with books sent by Gurd—I very rarely met the prisoner after business hours—I am aware that Gurd borrowed the office keys from the prisoner, and went there after business hours once or twice, and being then alone he would have the opportunity of making out a list like this, and putting the stamp on it, and sending the prisoner with it in the morning—the prisoner should not have received the list from Gurd, or if he received it from him he should have brought it to me first—if the list was in Gurd's writing this firms would give books to the prisoner without making inquiry—when the prisoner was on holidays, and on one or two special occasions, Gurd collected books—it was Gurd's duty to post these invoices, and he had them in his possession for entry—when he left I found a mass of them on his desk; the books, had been getting behind—I found a number of items in Simpkin's statement for February for which we had no invoices, and I pointed it out to Mr. Allen, and went to Simpkin's and saw the books, and found that most of these invoices we had not received were signed for—Gurd only had access to the office alone once or twice at Christmas time; that' was when he had work to do.

Re-examined. When Gurd wrote out the list it was by my instructions, and then it was given back to me, and if heavy it was posted, if light I gave it to the prisoner; the general rule was to send it by post—when ever the prisoner had a list to collect, written by Gurd, it came through me—he had no authority to take a list from Gurd without receiving it from me—when he had obtained the books and invoices he should have brought them to me—I saw all the books that came in—there were not two sets of Miss Braddon's novels on 11th March—I believe I found in February there was rather less than twenty items for which there were no invoices—I had no books corresponding with those items which were charged for in the statement.

EDWARD GEORGE ALLEN . I am an export bookseller, at 28, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden—nobody but myself and Foley had any right to authorise the prisoner to collect books from publishers—I did not authorise the prisoner on 7th March to purchase from Simpkin and Marshall two sets of Miss Braddon's novels to the amount of £11 8s.; I never saw them—there would be over 100 volumes in the two sets—I did not require the books, and had no orders for them—I did not authorise the prisoner on 9th March to collect books to the value of £1 17s. 2d.; that amount is part of a much larger amount—books he collected with our authority it would be his duty to bring to the office at Henrietta Street—those books to the amounts of £11 8s. and £1 17s. 2d., and invoices, were not brought to my office—they should have been handed to Mr. Foley—after the prisoner was charged we were charged for the books by Simpkin and Marshall—we found that from January to March 20th something like £120 worth of books not ordered by us had been obtained.

Cross-examined. Gurd has collected books once or twice, but it was quite exceptional—Gurd is now in prison for the same offence as that with which the prisoner is charged—I have not found that the prisoner tried to sell any of the books he stole—after he was discharged we found he had concealed about 200 parcels of postal matter—Gurd was in our employment on 7th and 9th March—he was discharged five or six weeks ago at a month's notice.

Re-examined. The prisoner was discharged on suspicion only, and I engaged him to remain for a fortnight to instruct his successor—we supply universities and scientific institutions in America with periodicals and newspapers—we heard they had not received them—it was not till after the prisoner had left our service that I received information which led me to take these proceedings.

CHARLES BADCOCK . I am a counterman in Simpkin and Marshall's employment at 4, Stationers' Hall Court—I have known the prisoner as Mr. Allen's representative for a year and a half or more—on March 7th I supplied him with goods, and I entered them in this book, which the prisoner signed "J. M.," in my presence—the entry is, "Sundries to the value of £11 8s."—among those goods were two sets of Miss Braddon's novels, of the value of £8 8s.—these are two volumes of a similar set, and are new and clean—he had been previously, and called over the list to another counterman—I handed the prisoner the goods—he would not have had the goods if he had not produced a list—I believed he was authorised by Mr. Allen to receive the books on his behalf.

Cross-examined. I never supplied anyone else on account of Mr. Allen—

ours is a large place; we have fifty counter hands, and other people may have come from Allen and been supplied with books without my knowing anything about it—we do not see the list; the man bringing it keeps it in his own hand and calls it over to the counterman.

JOHN TIDY WATSON . I am an assistant to Messrs. Simpkin and Marshall—I have known the prisoner as collector to Mr. Allen—on 9th March, he called, and I supplied him with books to the amount of £1 17s. 2d.—I handed him an invoice made out on one of our forms for him to take to his employer—this is the entry in our book; the prisoner has initialled it "J. M."—at the time he received these goods I knew him as collector to Mr. Allen, and I believed he had authority to collect these books for him, otherwise I should not have parted with them.

Cross-examined. We send a good many books to Mr. Allen—a person other than the prisoner collected books once for Mr. Allen—I saw the prisoner sign these initials in the book—the list had been left previously with someone to look up the books, and he would make another list from it.

Re-examined. I do not see the list brought by the collector, but the one copied from it.

JOHN MITCHELL (Detective Inspector, City), I arrested the prisoner on a warrant on 12th April—I read the warrant to him—he simply said, in answer, that he was the person referred to in it—he gave his address as 29, Selborne Road, Wood Green—I told him I should go to his lodgings, and asked if I should find any books there—he said, "Yes, you will find two or three rows of books, and other books lying on a table in the room"—I went there the same day, and the prisoner's wife showed me into the front room, where I found in a bookcase three rows of books and other books in the well of the bookcase, amounting in all to 175 volumes of new books, and two books done up in brown paper, addressed to the "library, University, Colorado, U. S. America," stamped, and bearing Mr. Allen's label—the stamp has not been obliterated—this was a month after he had left the service—when I saw the prisoner again in the cells, with the sanction of the Court, I cautioned him, and said, "You know who I am?" and I said anything he might say to me might be used against him, and I told him I had been to his lodgings, and there found 175 volumes of new books—I said, "Where did you get them from, and have you anything to say about them?"—he said, "I bought and paid for them, and I can prove it"—I said, "I also found two books already addressed, and done up in a brown paper, parcel, to the University of Colorado, U. S. America"—he said, "They must have been given to me to post, and I must have taken them home and forgotten them"—among the books I saw were 53 volumes of Miss Braddon's novels, all new; these are two; and 34 volumes of Mrs. Henry Wood's works—I said to the prisoner that about 88 new books had been found in a locker used by him at Simpkin, Marshall and Co. 's, Paternoster How—he said, "When I gave up the locker I handed the key to the manager; it was then empty."

Cross-examined. All the books I found at the prisoner's lodgings were new—there were one or two with his wife's name in, which he said he gave her before they were married—they had been married about eighteen.

months when I arrested him—I heard from Simpkin and Marshall's manager that the prisoner had a locker at Paternoster Row.

JOHN TIDY WATSON (Re-examined by MR. BRUCE). The prisoner had a looker at Stationers' Hall Court—I don't know if he had one at Paternoster Row—he would give up the key of his locker to Mr. Allen's manager—he would have the locker to leave books in while he went to other publishers—Mr. Allen would have control of the locker as long as he remained our customer.

Witnesses for the defence.

MATILDA BREWER . I live at 7, Clarence Terrace, York Road—I have known the prisoner for nearly two years—I visited him and his wife when they lived at Barnsley Road nearly every day—the prisoner had a good many books in a bookcase—he had Miss Braddon's, Mrs. Henry Wood's, and a few of Dickens's, and a great many I did not notice the authors of—I have been present when the prisoner has brought a parcel home, and told his wife he bought them for her—about three and a half years ago a lady, to whom Mrs. McHattie had been nurse, went to South Africa, and gave her several presents, including books—the prisoner has been married about twelve months—his wife is my sister—I have seen books like these (produced); they were new, and had this kind of cover—I saw Miss Braddon's novels there last July; we have not been very friendly since last July, and I have not visited them since then.

Cross-examined. My sister came and asked me if I would be a witness—I did not know the prisoner was charged with obtaining Miss Braddon's books in March—she said he was charged with obtaining books by false pretences, and that some of the books were Miss Braddon's—my sister used to read the books, and offered to lend me some—she had a great many uncut—she had Mrs. Henry Wood's last July, but not all Miss Braddon's—I will swear these were there last July, or books like them—they were always kept locked up and clean; the bookcase had glass doors—I saw the prisoner bring home books occasionally.

EDWARD GEORGE ALLEN (Re-examined by the COURT). The prisoner got 248. salary when in my employment—when he applied for the situation we had many applicants, and I selected him because of the character and general description I had of him; and I had a good impression of him down to the last two months.

GUILTY Three Years' Penal Servitude.

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