ROBERT MASON.
23rd July 1906
Reference Numbert19060723-62
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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MASON, Robert (42, ex-solicitor) , conspiring and agreeing with John James Baghino and George Strong to obtain by false pretences from Duncan Ramsay Blair divers large sums of money and valuable securities with intent to defraud; conspiring and agreeing with John James Baghino and George Strong to commit felony; forging and uttering a deed purporting to be an agreement in writing between John James Baghino and James Baghino with intent to defraud; feloniously demanding and obtaining from Duncan Ramsay Blair orders for payment of £375, £5, and £3,650 by virtue of a forged instrument, knowing the same to be forged and with intent to defraud; obtaining by false pretences from Duncan Ramsay Blair orders for payment of £375, £5. and £3,650 respectively, with intent to defraud; obtaining by false pretences from Walter Chapman orders for payment of £15, £10, and £50 respectively, with intent to defraud.

Mr. Charles Mathews, Mr. Bodkin, and Mr. Arnold Ward prosecuted; Mr. Martin O'Connor defended.

(Friday, July 27.)

JOSEPH PETER BANNIN , Priest at the Italian Church of St Peter, Hatton Garden, living at the Presbytery, trustee under

the will of Giovanni Baptista Ortelli. Ortelli died November 1, 1898, and probate was granted March 28, 1899, the estate being proved at £127, 000. His widow is living. The deceased had no children, but had adopted a daughter known as Minnie Ortelli, who married a Mr. Baghino. They had two sons, John James and James Baghino. I have known the family for the last 30 years. John James is now 24, and James nearly 19 years of age. They were both born in England. Mrs. Baghino is married again. In 1905 I received notices of charges on the reversion from Hill and Mrs. Schuhkrafft. Letter of October 26, 1905 (exhibit 2), is not in my writing. I had no knowledge of that letter being written, and had given no authority for it. It is on paper printed similar to mine, "Italian Church, Hatton Garden," except that there is no "E. C." I was not in London on October 26, being away from 9th to 28th. Exhibit 3, written on similarly headed paper, is not my writing. The pencil writing on the back is John Baghino's. I do not know the handwriting on the envelope.

Cross-examined. Failing any appointment by Mrs. Ortelli, each of the grandsons would receive a substantial sum. I have not seen James Baghino for from three to five years—he has been abroad at school. If he had visited England I should have heard of it. The two brothers do not resemble each other.

GEORGE STRONG . I am 32 years of age, and was an architect I had no profession last year. On May 7 I was arrested by Inspector Kane at Empress Mansions, Wurtemburg Street, Clapham, where I was living with Minnie Webley as Mr. and Mrs. Strong. We had previously lived at 2, Imperial Mansions, Bromells Road, and went abroad on November 4, the furniture being warehoused. I met Mrs. Schuhkrafft at Monte Carlo. I was arrested for obtaining £12 and attempting to obtain £22 from her, and pleaded guilty in this Court in the May Sessions (see preceding vol., p. 486), and have been remanded up to now. I was charged with the prisoner at Bow Street I made a statement to Inspector Kane; then I was discharged and called as a witness. In 1905 I met John Baghino; he was living at 115, Jermyn Street. We became very intimate. He told me he and his brother James were each entitled to half a sum of £127, 000 from his grandmother, Mrs. Ortelli. He said his mother had died in Buenos Ayres, that his brother was studying in Italy, and was coming over to England very shortly, and that he wanted his brother to sign a deed poll, so that they would both participate in case either were struck out by Mrs. Ortelli using her power of appointment, and he was going to borrow money. I met prisoner and went to the Adelphi Hotel with a man named Choate. John Baghino and I frequently met prisoner at his office and at the Adelphi Hotel. John Baghino borrowed money from Wilkinson,

solicitor. Bush Lane House. Baghino and I went there, Mason occasionally waited outside and Golding was there. Golding was introduced to me as James Baghino. Golding was tall and fair, and looked about 19 or 20 years of age, but he said he was nearly 22. He said he was living at the Cecil Hotel. John Baghino told me they had borrowed £30 and were going to get £6,000. Mason was told about it by John Baghino, and Mason said he had sent on the will. Mason had about £3 of the £30, and I had rather more. Golding had £2, and he borrowed £1 of Wilkinson by himself. I learnt that Golding was not James Baghino after Blair had advanced the first money. Mason was told before Blair advanced the £300. I think Hill introduced John Baghino to Blair, and Mason was told shortly after Baghino had borrowed £15 or £20. Baghino, Mason, and myself discussed the proposed loan of £300; letters were to be written by someone representing James Baghino, and he might have to sign a deed poll. John Baghino and Mason dictated various letters for me to copy. I wrote three or four. Exhibits 15 and 17 are in my handwriting, and purport to be letters from James to John Baghino. John Baghino told me in the presence of Mason that they had been shown to Blair. It was suggested by John Baghino and Mason that I should go to Brighton to execute a deed poll. I was rather frightened, and said I did not care about it. Mason said. "Don't be a fool. This man will go on lending money until he has not got any boots." He handed me the deed (Exhibit 23) and said, "Be very careful you do not sign 'George Strong,' or you will do the whole thing in." It had already been signed by John Baghino. I then went to Brighton, asked a policeman to direct me to a Commissioner, and executed the deed before Mr. Lord Thompson, as it now appears, in the name of James Baghino. I returned to London and gave it to Mason. He said, "Oh, I know the man." A further advance of about £250 was then made by Blair to John Baghino. Mason and I waited outside. We all then went to the Cafe Royal; John had the money in notes and it was divided. I had about £60. Mason had about £50 because he was to get something from Hill, who was to receive a commission from Blair. A further advance of £3,000 to £4,000 was discussed. I went with Baghino to a printer's in Charing Cross Road, and we ordered some paper with the headings, "31, Rue de Canuce, Maison Lafitte," and "Italian Church, Hatton Garden." Exhibit 29. "Dear Johnnie,—I got your letter all right, "etc., was written by me from dictation in the presence of Baghino and Mason. The address of "41, Rue de Canuce." was selected because a jockey named Ben Easterbee, whom Baghino knew, lived there. Mason and Baghino told me Blair wanted to interview Father Bannin before he made a

further advance. Baghino said that was quite impossible. Then Mason suggested that as Father Bannin was away for a few days Baghino should try and intercept a letter. Baghino said that was impossible too, and suggested that Mason should forge Bannin's signature. After some conversation, Mason said he should not do it, and suggested that I had better do it. Baghino said, "That is nonsense; Strong has already forged one name and his writing is known." Mason said he never thought of that, and I left the two together. When I came back they both said they had thought of a very brilliant suggestion—that a letter should be written supposed to be advising him not to borrow, because if he once started borrowing on his reversion he would charge the whole thing. Baghino said, "You know Mason has not got the brains to think of such a thing." Mason said, "Have it your own way, "or something like that.

Mr. O'Connor submitted this could not be evidence of a forgery done on September 11, though it might be evidence of conspiracy. Objection disallowed.

Baghino, Mason, and I went to a wine Bodega in the Strand. Baghino made a draft in pencil on envelope produced, "Knowing the respect your grandmother entertained for the memory of her late husband, you can judge of her feeling at seeing his money thrown away by a young man sowing has wild oats," etc. I remember that sentence, and other sentences were discussed. Mason said he would take it away as it had taken so long, and would write it out and post it to John James Baghino at the Blenheim Club. Baghino afterwards showed me a completed letter at Charing Cross, and it was afterwards read in the presence of Mason. It had the words. "You must remember that your grandmother's fortune is many times greater than your late grandfather's." Baghino said, "That is ridiculous, because in that case it would be worth over a million," and he insisted on another letter being written. Letter produced is like the one substituted—it is in the same handwriting, and is on paper printed, "Italian Church, Hatton Garden." It was handed to Mr. Hill. Towards the end of October or the beginning of November I went to France to write letters supposed to be from James Baghino, Rue de Canuce, in answer to Blair. I went to the Hotel Chatham, Paris. Ben Easterbee brought me a letter from Blair's solicitor encloing a deed which I signed and posted. I then came back to London, and told Baghino and Mason what I bad done. Document produced (Exhibit 48) is signed by me in name of James Baghino, charging the reversion of £3,650, and acknowledging receipt of notice of charge, by James Baghino. On November 3 I went to Blair's office, and stayed outside with Mason while Hill and John Baghino went in. Mason said, "Mind you stand out for one-third, because you know Jack always cuts us up." I said, Yes, I would. Hill

and Baghino came out, and Baghino, Mason, and I went to the Victoria Hotel. Baghino put the money on the table—about £2,300 in notes. Mason said, "Look here, I am going to have a third, or else I won't have anything." Baghino said, "Very well, that is a good way of settling it, your not having anything." Mason said, "Oh, be a sportsman, Jack." Baghino gave him £405 or £415. I think he said, "I will toss you whether I give you £405 or £425," and Mason won the toss and got £425. Mason grumbled and said, "It is the usual thing." Baghino then settled with me and gave me £407. Mason and I each had four £100 notes. Mason asked Baghino for a bill for £250 or £350, and produced a stamped form. There was a discussion. I forget whether Baghino signed the bill, but he made the remark before the waiter, "It won't do you much good," or something of that kind. We then went outside, and Mason said, in rather a threatening tone, he would have to have a little walk down Scotland Yard to see a friend of his, Mr. Gough. He walked away. I said I had better go after him and talk to him. I overtook him and said, "If you are not satisfied, why don't you say so," or something like that. Mason said, "Oh, I have not half finished with Jack yet." I said I would talk to Baghino about it. He then went off in the direction of John Street. Baghino and I were at the Opera Tavern, Haymarket, later in the evening. Elsie Vaughan and Minnie Webley were with us. I told Baghino I wanted another £100. He said, "Will you settle with Mason if I give you another £100?" He asked Vaughan for a £100 note; she produced one and it was given to me. I saw Mason later in the evening and he said, "Jack says you have got to give me £50." I said, "Oh, you had better go and ask Jack for it yourself. I am going to keep what I have got." On Saturday, November 4, I went to Brabbington's with Webley and bought a 50-guinea diamond ring for her, changing one of the £100 notes. John Baghino was there and redeemed some things with a £100 note, and got change for another £100 note. Clothes, wedding rings, and other things were purchased, and we arranged to go to Monte Carlo, I and Webley travelling as Mr. and Mrs. Shaw, and Baghino and Vaughan as Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan. I changed another £100 note at a money changer's in Wardour Street. We left for Paris on November 4, stayed four or five days there, went on to Genoa, and thence to Monte Carlo. I there met Mrs. Schuhkrafft, her niece, Miss Mayston, and Mr. Boddington. At Christmas I went to London and saw Mason, and told him there was an old lady who wanted to lend money to Baghino. He said the old lady, or Mr. Brown, of Nice, her solicitor, had written to him. I said I would ask Hill to write what was necessary. Mason said, "Do not tell Hill anything because he is very

strong and a terrible fidget—if there is anything crooked he will have a fit." I said, "Oh, there is nothing crooked. She will want to see the will, and I told Mason I thought she would lend about £15, 000. He said he would have to come over and see Brown. I returned to Monte Carlo, and Mason came on the next day in the name of £. M. Hill. He saw Mrs. Schuhkrafft, Miss Mayston, and Mr. Brown, remained four or five days, and went back to England. At the beginning of February I received a telegram, "All out clear not London tell D." Baghino and Elsie Vaughan said they were frightened, and went to Nice in the name of Mr. and Mrs. Bagshaw. I returned to London about February 20 with Minnie Webley and took rooms at 3, Empress Mansions, Clapham. I saw Mason and told him he had sent the telegram. He said he had not. I told him he was a liar. He said, "If everyone was as straight as I am it would be a very much pleasanter world." He said Baghino had sent it to get me away from Monte Carlo because Baghino two days before that had borrowed another £2,100 from Mrs. Schuhkrafft. Baghino had returned to London before me. I met him and Mason on several occasions. They talked of borrowing a further £12, 500 from Blair on the same security. No such loan was ever made. Miss Mayston called on me at Empress Mansions about the beginning of April. I went to Mrs. Schuhkrafft with Choate, and Mason came up and waited outside on more than one occasion. I told Mason I was trying to borrow some money on a bill with a man called Norgate. He said. "I don't think his name is worth anything." Norgate and I had dictated a letter, written by a man named Green, purporting to be a letter from a solicitor called Hellard, of Portsmouth, and I obtained some money from Mrs. Schuhkrafft by showing it to her. Looking at Bank notes 28091-4 and 32820 for £100 each, endorsed "George Strong," the endorsement is not my writing. It resembles my writing. On November 8 I was in Paris. I first saw those five notes at Bow Street. £10 notes, 99618 and 99621, endorsed "George Strong, 2, Imperial Mansions, Bromell's Road, Clapham," are not endorsed by me. The writing is not in the least like mine. Three £100 notes, 32822, 32824, and 30339 are endorsed "Baghino, Hotel de Louvre," in John James Baghino's handwriting. We stayed at the Hotel de Louvre at Monte Carlo. I have not heard the name of Chamberlain mentioned in connection with this matter.

Cross-examined. I have known Choate 21/4 years. He is a financial agent. I have been trying to borrow money only for myself. When Choate first introduced Baghino to me at Craven Street he said he was a man with large expectations under this will. Mason was not present. Choate told me Baghino's mother was dead, and made other statements which

were not true. I told Baghino Henry's address, and he obtained some money from Henry. I knew Wilkinson as a solicitor who lent money. It was my suggestion, believing his statements, that Baghino should apply to Wilkinson. Wilkinson had the probate from Hill, and lent about £70. We thought it was bona fide then. The deed poll was discussed, and Hill suggested that Blair would lend money, and Golding was then introduced about the end of August or beginning of September, as John Baghino's brother by John. I believed his statement. He was fair, about 20 years old, and much like John Baghino, slightly taller, and about four or five years younger. I have not seen Golding since. I was told that he was not James Baghino before the £3,000 was advanced by Blair. I certainly never told Hill. I do not recollect telling Mason. I understood the deed poll was prepared by Hill. Hill did not know anything about my going to Brighton. Golding never went to Hill's office. I do not think I ever saw him with Mason. I fancy Mason knew about the forgery in Wilkinson's office, but I do not know how he knew it. Mason knew I was going to Brighton to forge the name. He told me to be careful not to sign "George Strong." I did not introduce Baghino to Henry. I forged the deed at Brighton, had the Hatton Garden stationery printed, and wrote the letters from France in James Baghino's name. Mason saw the printer, and got some of the stationery. I heard that Hill was to have his costs, which would be heavy, and that Mason was to have half of them, but that he would have to pay Chapman half of his part What I said in the police court would be probably more correct than what I say now. I know Jack Roberts, and saw him a Simpson's on November 4.

Re-examined. Hill had no knowledge that the deed of September 11 was a forgery, and in my judgment he believed it a proper transaction throughout. Blair's advance of £300 was a day or two after I signed the deed poll at Brighton—I knew that was a forgery. Mason told me to be very careful not to tell Wilkinson. He said, "If you keep going to Wilkinson now, Ramsay will get to know, and then there will be a fearful row about it." I never said anything about Blair to Hill. Baghino wanted to get the Bannin letter back. He told me he asked Blair to keep it, as he did not want it to get into Mason's hands; he said Mason would be continually blackmailing him.

JOHN LORD THOMPSON , solicitor, 94, Church Road, Hove. On September 11, 1895, George Strong signed the deed, Exhibit 23, in my presence.

Cross-examined. So far as I remember, Strong came alone.

(Saturday, July 28.)

EDWARD MAY HILL , solicitor, 6, John Street, Adelphi. Early in 1905 I first knew prisoner in the name of John Scafe; I understood that he had some relatives named Mason, and he took that name for business purposes. About the middle of July, 1905, an arrangement was come to that, in consideration of his having the use of my office and having his name up on the door, he would introduce all legal business that he could, and assist me in that business. It was not arranged that he should have any fixed share of the profits—only presents. The name on the door was "Messrs. Mason "; theirs was a general financial business; my name was up as well, and also the names of two companies in which I was interested, and later on, one company in which prisoner was interested, the London and County Contracts, Limited. He had nothing to do with my banking account. I had authority to use his name to a certain extent in business which he was conducting; he had authority to sign my name to letters. At the end of July or beginning of August I first heard from prisoner the name of John James Baghino. Prisoner said that John James Baghino wished to borrow some money. I was shown a certified copy of the will of John Ortelli; from that it seemed that Baghino had an interest under the will, but there was a certain difficulty about the power of appointment. I told prisoner that Mr. Ramsay Blair, whom I knew, might lend something; I did not know how much. About the middle of August I was introduced by prisoner to John Baghino; John told me that his brother, James Baghino, lived in Genoa, but was coming over to Paris. James I was told lived with his grandmother, Mrs. Ortelli, and was training for the diplomatic service. I pointed out to John (prisoner probably being present) that under the will Mrs. Ortelli, the tenant for life, had a power of appointment in favour of one brother to the exclusion of the other. On September 6 I gave John a letter of introduction to Blair; as the result of that Blair made a small temporary advance and negotiations were entered into for a loan of £300 or £400. I went to see Blair (or, rather, Mr. Chapman, who attended to all this business for Mr. Blair), taking with me the heads of an agreement to be entered into by both John James and James. I never saw James Baghino or anybody purporting to be James Baghino; John told me that James was down at Brighton. Acting for John I drew up a formal agreement [Ex. 23]; John executed it, and I attested his signature; I handed the document back to him, saying, "As your brother cannot come up to London to execute the deed, an arrangement has been made that you shall take it down and have it executed by him at Brighton; you must be careful to see

that it is attested by a solicitor, preferably a commissioner for oaths." On September 11 John brought the deed back to me; it bore on it James Baghino's signature; it purported to be completely executed. I cannot say when I first met George Strong; I met him several times with John Baghino and the prisoner; John introduced Strong to me as a friend of his, and in the name of Strong. I have no knowledge of any connection of Strong with this deed. Exhibits 15 and 17, signed, "Your affectionate brother James," I first saw in Blair's office before the execution of the deed; they were produced to Blair by John. One was produced by John as evidence that James was of age, because it contained a request for a certain watch "which mother promised me I should have when I came of age." This business of advances to Baghino was distinctly business introduced by prisoner; it was a matter in respect of which "presents" would be made. A further advance of £3,000 or £4,000 by Blair was proposed. A mortgage was drawn up and I approved the draft on October 18. Before this transaction was completed I remember seeing Exhibit 29 produced by Baghino to Blair; also Exhibit 2. I was present in Blair's office on October 31 with Baghino when Blair's cheque for £3,650 was drawn; it was held back temporarily because no reply had been received from James Baghino in Paris acknowledging receipt of a notice of charge. On November 3 I was again at Blair's office, the cheque was then cashed, a temporary advance that had been made was deducted from the amount, and £2,414 15s. 5d. was handed over to Baghino in notes and coin. I left with Baghino; I received from him £220; half of that he said was to go to prisoner, and I paid prisoner £110. I have no knowledge as to the division of the balance of the money by Baghino. I remember that about Christmas time prisoner left the office saying he was going to Paris for a few days. On returning he said he had been to Paris and Monte Carlo and had there seen Baghino and Strong. He said that Baghino had borrowed some more money, about £2,000, from a Mrs. Schuhkrafft, and that Mr. Brown, her solicitor, was going to send him over £30 towards his expenses of going over there. Later on a cheque for £30 came from Mr. Brown, payable to me; I endorsed it and handed it to prisoner. In the beginning of February I had a communication from Blair; I told prisoner that Blair said he thought he could arrange a large sum for Baghino. some £12, 000, if he (Blair) received a commission of 500 guineas, the security being the reversion and the deed, and subject to a valuation of the property, Blair to find the survey fee, about 200 guineas, taking Baghino's promissory note for that amount. Prisoner said he thought this was a very fair arrangement. Later on prisoner showed me an acceptance by "John James Baghino" for £350.

with no drawer's name. Nothing further was done about the advance of £12, 500. In May I learned that besides the £30 sent over by Mr. Brown prisoner had received £192 12s. in January from Monte Carlo and had previously received £175 in respect of the same business. I wrote to him on May 10 calling for an explanation and asking him to at once give up the key of the office as I could no longer give him office room. On May 11 I got a message from Chief Inspector Kane; I went with him to Blair's office and made a statement.

Cross-examined. When I first met Baghino he told me that he and his brother were ready to do everything to assist each other in raising a loan; that they would agree to pool everything. I paid prisoner no definite salary. The understanding with Baghino as to the costs of arranging the loan was that he should pay a lump sum; prisoner would be provided for out of the sum paid to me. September 13 was the date when the £375 loan was completed; there had been a previous small advance, and the amount actually handed over on that date was £280. As to the deed dated September 13, I took instructions for that from Baghino; at that time I believed all he said was true. Prisoner had a seat in my office, and in my absence he would have authority to do what a clerk or manager ought to do. Baghino may have called at the office when I was not there. Strong never informed me that he was the man who was going to sign the deed in question in the name of James; as far as I know, prisoner was as ignorant of this as I was. At the time it was executed, the purpose of the deed was simply to enable John Baghino to raise £300, but Baghino had told me before then that he contemplated raising a loan of £6,000. All the instructions for the deed were given to me personally by Baghino; nothing in connection with it was suggested by prisoner, but we talked over the matter generally, he being in the office. Strong called on me several times with Baghino, and sometimes I met Strong outside. The suggestion as to a further loan of £4,000 came from Blair. He said to me, "Would it suit your client if we ourselves were to lend a large sum?" I said. "I should doubt whether he would pay your price." We both at that time regarded it as a very safe security. During all the negotiations Baghino never suggested to me that he was giving prisoner any secret profit. Prisoner was a financial agent and a company director and had other capacities. I remember he was in a deal in relation to some antiques which were sold at Christie's for £5,400.

Re-examined. Prisoner first came to me as a general agent, and the idea was that he would introduce a considerable amount of legal business to me and assist me in the office; he was to act as a clerk ad hoc in business which he introduced. Baghino

did not tell me that he had any calling or profession, I understood he had held a commission in the Army.

WALTER CHAPMAN , manager to Mr. Ramsay Blair. On September 6 Baghino came to me with a letter of introduction from Hill; the letter said that Hill was raising a large loan for Baghino, and that the latter wished to borrow temporarily £250 to £350, to be repaid out of the larger loan. I made a few inquiries, and advanced Baghino £10 and £15. I was shown a copy of John Ortelli's will. I pointed out to Hill that under the power of appointment in the will the testator's wife might cut out either of her two sons altogether, and therefore it was necessary that the two brothers should join in some agreement to share in any event. Hill then showed me the informal agreement, purporting to be between James and John James Baghino, which appeared to meet my point. I believed it to be a genuine agreement. I agreed to make a loan of £300, on condition that we had a formal agreement executed between the two brothers. The completed agreement (exhibit 23) was brought to me, and I believed it to be genuine, and I advanced the money on the strength of it. The matter was completed on September 13; there were present Hill, Baghino, and myself; Blair may have been there part of the time; I think prisoner came in while the money was passing. Hill mentioned that prisoner had introduced Baghino to him, and therefore it was to prisoner that we were indebted for the business, and suggested that we should acknowledge it by giving him some small amount; we agreed on £5, and I took a note from Baghino authorising me to pay that sum. Besides being shown the deed, I was shown the two letters Exhibits 15 and 17. I wrote letter (produced) to James Baghino, notifying him that I had made the advance on the strength of the will and of the agreement with his brother; I addressed the letter to 22, Russell Square, the address of the testator's widow, as mentioned in the will; I received no acknowledgment. I saw John Baghino, and asked him why I had received no reply; he said his brother was away, and in support of that he showed me the letter, Exhibit 29 ("Dear Johnny," etc., from Rue de Canuce). Negotiaons were on foot for a larger loan, £3,650; on October 14 I lent Baghino £50 as he was in temporary need of funds. Before completing the larger loan I thought we ought to be satisfied that the property would not be encumbered, and I suggested that Hill should see one of the trustees, Father Bannin, and get an assurance on that point. Some time afterwards I was shown Exhibit 2; I believed it was a genuine letter, written by Bannin. On the faith of these things I consented (acting for Blair) to complete the larger loan; a mortgage was drawn up; also a statutory declaration as to age and non encumbrance. The matter was to have been completed on October 31. On that day Blair's cheque for £3,650 was drawn

and endorsed by Baghino; it was not then parted with; it was handed back to me to keep until we received an acknowledgment from James Baghino of the notice of mortgage. My solicitor received the letter produced dated from. Rue de Canuce, November 2, "Dear sir, I received your letter this morning, and have signed copy; I hope I have signed the right one; James Baghino." Believing that everything was genuine and in order, we completed the business on November 3; there were present Mr. Hill and John Baghino and myself. The cheque was sent to the bank and the amount drawn in £100 notes and gold; certain deductions were made for temporary advances and expenses, and the amount actually paid over was £2,414 15s. 5d. I saw prisoner in connection with these transactions very few times. It was understood that we were to be paid off out of a still larger loan, of some £12, 000, that was being negotiated by Mr. Hill. Our loan was for six months, and we probably should not begin to press about it until about April. I saw prisoner once or twice as to the progress of negotiations for the larger loan. I heard through Hill that Baghino had raised a sum of money from a lady in Monte Carlo; I asked for details of this, which I had difficulty in obtaining; then prisoner called and showed me a draft of the mortgage that had been given in favour of Mrs. Schuhkrafft. Inspector Kane visited me some time in May. This is not a prosecution instituted by Mr. Blair.

Cross-examined. I had known Mr. Hill for some time before these transactions. Whenever prisoner called I looked upon him as Hill's agent. The first suggestion was for a temporary loan of about £300. I did not much fancy the security for a very big advance, on account of the power of appointment in the testator's widow, and the fact that on the death of one brother his share would go to his issue. When the £300 was lent, that was the only sum in contemplation to be lent by Mr. Blair. I do not remember whether I heard of Wilkinson's loan before the advance of the £300. I forget whether Baghino wanted us to lend £500; I was willing to lend £300, and there was an end of it.

Monday, July 30.

DUNCAN RAMSAY BLAIR , moneylender, 215, Piccadilly. My manager, Chapman, carried through the negotiations with Baghino. I saw the letters Exhibits 15 and 29 and the deed Exhibit 23 and believed they were documents written and signed by James Baghino. I drew cheque of September 13 for £375 and the cheque for £3,650. After the last transaction was completed I saw the letters signed James Baghino and the letters signed Bannin before the £3,650 transaction was completed.

I believed they were written by James Baghino and Bannin.

Cross-examined. I identify the letters handed up to me. I remember the contents of the deed and its general appearance and I recognise it as being the deed submitted to me. I identify the Bannin letter (Exhibit 2); it has been in my possession since October and I handed it to Inspector Kane. The cheque for £50 was a temporary loan on the security of a mortgage agreed to be executed. I saw the Bannin letter some days before November 3. When the deed of September 13 was executed and the £300 advanced upon it I had in contemplation to advance a larger sum—the amount was not mentioned. It was not my intention to make a permanent loan. There were some negotiations which led up to it, and I then agreed to lend the larger amount. I regarded the deed as being genuine, and on the mortgage which was to be executed I was prepared to make the advance. I desired to be informed by Father Bannin whether Baghino had already charged the reversion. It was suggested that Mr. Hill should go and see Father Bannin and ascertain. Then Mr. Hill produced this letter as Father Bannin's reply to Baghino. I was not present when it was produced. Chapman gave it to me.

FREDERICK MARSHALL TURNER , printer, 126, Charing Cross Road. In October, 1905, two persons came to my shop and ordered notepaper to be printed, "Italian Church, Hatton Garden," and "41, Rue de Canuce, Maison Lafitte," as produced.

Cross-examined. I took the order. I cannot recognise the persons who came.

BRYAN CHAMBERLAIN , 108, Vauxhall Bridge Road, commission agent. I have known prisoner about three years and have done a great deal of outdoor work for him, leaving summonses and so forth. Part of Exhibit 3 is in my writing. Prisoner made an appointment with me in October or November at the Adelphi Hotel at 10.30 a. m., and I wrote it from a draft which he produced. We were alone. There were two letters written, one complete and the other incomplete. There was some discrepancy in the first, prisoner stopped me and directed me to write, the complete one (Exhibit 2). The transaction was carried through in a great hurry. I think prisoner said it was something about some monetary matter. I wrote the whole of Exhibit 2, including the name. I made some remark afterwards about writing the name and the prisoner reassured me. I asked prisoner whether any serious consequences were likely to arise. He said something I cannot recollect, which reassured me.

Cross-examined. I was employed as clerk in various matters by prisoner, to serve summonses and writs and copy documents.

I went to prisoner by appointment on this occasion. The Adelphi Hotel is one or two doors from prisoner's office. Prisoner was in a hurry, and said he had an engagement. The letter of October 26 was copied exactly from the document prisoner gave me, signature and everything. I am not quite certain whether the draft was in ink or pencil. Both the letters I wrote were in ink. The draft was signed "Yours truly, P. J. Bannin." I could not say whether the draft was dated or not; the body of the letter is absolutely correct. There was no printed heading on the draft. I could not (positively swear there was not a heading on the draft. Prisoner took the letters I had written away, and I believe also the draft. There was an alteration made in the incomplete letter, and then I wrote the complete one. I do not remember the exact nature of the alteration. I am positive there was only one original. I may be mistaken about one or two details, because it is a long time ago. I think prisoner told me a few words, suggested some alteration, or something of that sort. It was carried through in an extreme hurry. "Grandmother" was altered, I think, into "Grandfather." They were both copied on the same day at the same hour. I used to see prisoner on the average every other day, and he used to pay me for what I did at the time. Sometimes when there was nothing to do prisoner would give me 1s. or 2s. 6d. Prisoner always acted straightforwardly; he paid my rent. The copies I made were on clean paper, upon which nothing had been written. If there is any pencil upon them that must have been written subsequently.

Re-examined. I did not have much to do with Hill. I did no legal work for prisoner until after he went to Hill's office. I am positive Exhibits 2 and 3 were written by me in ink at the same time. I had no knowledge of any sort or kind about Father Bannin or what this letter had to do with before I went to the Adelphi Hotel.

MINNIE WEBLEY , 5, Emerton Road, Clapham. I have lived with Strong for about three years past. We lived up to November 4 last at 2, Imperial Mansions, Bromells Road. The place was taken in my name, and I used to pay the rent. On November 4 we left; we sent the furniture to be stored, and went to Paris with Baghino and Elsie Vaughan, in the names of Mr. and Mrs. Shaw and Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan. I paid a week's rent in advance in lieu of notice on the day we left. I met prisoner in August last at Charing Cross Station, and was introduced to him by Baghino and Strong. I have been with the three at the Adelphi Hotel and at Hill's office. On Friday, November 3, I went with Strong: and Baghino to various shops at the West End. Strong bought me a diamond ring at Brabbington's, paying for it with a £100 note. Strong also bought me some furs and other things. I saw Mason afterwards at the "Haymarket" public-house.

Baghino, Elsie Vaughan, and Strong were present. There was a discussion. Mason was dissatisfied because he had not had sufficient money—that he had not received as much money as he had expected. On Saturday afternoon, November 4, Jack Roberts came with Strong to the flat. We all three left together, and drove to Charing Cross Mansions, and met Baghino and Elsie Vaughan. Roberts left us there at half past six. We left about nine for Paris, then went to Genoa and Monte Carlo. At Monte Carlo we met Mrs. Schuhkrafft and Miss Mayston, her niece. About Christmas time Strong was away for some days, and returned at the new year, when Mason also came and stayed two or three days. A telegram came soon after Mason left. I showed it to Baghino, and he left a few days later and went to Nice. Strong and I remained about two or three weeks, and returned to London to a flat at 3, Empress Mansions, Clapham. We all four stayed at the Hotel de Louvre at Monte Carlo. Mason stayed there also.

Cross-examined. I first called at Mr. Hill's office in August; it was the second time I met Mason. I cannot say the date. I went to Hill's office the first time with Strong and Baghino. When we went there the second time we were talking about Hill, and Mason said, "Do not speak too loud; Mr. Hill is coming in. I do not want him to know." I think I saw Mr. Hill on two occasions before September 13; I cannot swear to it. I have been to the office on several occasions since I have been back from Monte Carlo. I had been there between September 13 and the day we left London. I did not see Mr. Hill then. I do not know how many times I have been there. I met Strong on November 3 after he got the money. Strong told me of his going to Brighton. I did not then know of any fraud. I knew of it before November 3. I heard an argument between Mason and Baghino in the "Haymarket" public-house about Mason wanting more money. I went there with Strong, and Baghino and Mason came in a little after. I stayed there about half an hour, and left just before eight, as I had to go to Highbury, and left Strong there with Mason. All the argument I heard was that Mason was dissatisfied with the money. Strong told me Mason was dissatisfied with what he had, and I heard the argument going on. I say Mason was there.

THOMAS JOSEPH BARNEWELL , manager to Brabbington's, 27, Wardour Street, jewellers. I know John Baghino and Strong as customers. On November 4 I sold a ring to Strong for 50 guineas. He paid with a £100 note. Baghino was with him and redeemed some pledges with a £100 note. Another £100 note was changed, I think, by Baghino. The three notes were paid into the London City and Midland Bank, Shaftesbury Avenue.

Cross-examined. I have known Baghino 18 months or two years, and Strong perhaps half that time, as customers. They

have called together several times in the early part of 1905 and late in 1904. I cannot positively say I have known Strong that time. The transactions with Strong were minor ones before the purchase of the diamond ring. I should say nine months before November, 1905, I have seen Strong and Baghino together.

CONRAD MONTAGUE WALROND , cashier, Williams Deacon and Co., Charing Cross branch. Mr. Blair has a letter of credit at my bank; Chapman draws cheques on it in Blair's name. The six cheques produced were cashed at my bank and debited to Blair. I produce extract from the bank cash book for November 3, 1905, showing the notes and money in which cheque for £3,650 was cashed. There were 28 £100 notes, 15 £10 notes, and £700 in gold, the numbers of the £100 notes being 32819/24. 28089/95, 30335/46, and 32601/3; the numbers of the £10 notes being ✗713131/5 and 64391/4 00.

JOSEPH PERCIVAL HUDSON , clerk in bank note office, Bank of England. I produce five £100 notes, Nos. 28091—4 and 32820. They were cashed at the Bank of England on November 8, 1905, over the counter. It is the practice to ask the person presenting such notes to endorse them and these are endorsed. There were given in exchange for them 50 £5 notes, 96901/50; 20 £10 notes, 99607/26, and £50 in gold. I produce those 50 £5 notes and 20 £10 notes cancelled. £10 notes 99618 and 99621 are endorsed "G. Strong, 2, Imperial Mansions, Bromells Road, Clapham." £100 note 30, 337 is endorsed "Strong—de Louvre," part being torn off in cancellation. £10 notes 30338 and 30320 are endorsed "George Strong, Hotel de Louvre," and 30337 and 30340 are similarly endorsed. Three £100 notes, 32822, 32824, and 30339, are endorsed, "J. Baghino, Hotel de Louvre "; 30343 is endorsed "J. Baghino." Notes 30335, 30336 and 30341 were received from the London City and Midland Bank on November 5, 1905.

Cross-examined. The particulars I have given were taken out by another clerk who gave evidence at the Police Court. [Witness was directed by his lordship to verify the extracts from the books, and after an interval returned and stated that they were correct.]

GEORGE FRANK MATHIEU , 22, Elgin Crescent, managing director of J. and F. Clark and Sons, Limited, engineers, 30, Moorgate Street. At the beginning of November, 1905, prisoner asked me to go to Paris to dispose of some curios and paid me £30 in notes of £10 and £5. My company have an account at the London City and Midland Bank, Charing Cross, and I have paid money into that account. Prisoner has paid cheques into the account of the company. I have borrowed from £10 to £50 from him from time to time, and the money

has generally been paid to me in notes. £10 note, 71, 352, I received from Mason, and it was paid by me for my daughter's schooling. I generally paid notes paid me by prisoner into my bank, the National Bank, Strand Branch. Two notes, 99623 for £10 and 96935 for £5, produced are endorsed by me and the amount, £15, is written on the back of one of them. I received them from prisoner and paid them into the National Bank. I received £5 note produced from Mason and changed it at the National Bank. The name on 96925 is wrongly spelt "Mathew." That is not my writing. It contains my address. I do not know the writing. After I returned from Paris prisoner made me a loan of £215 by cheque, which I paid into my wife's account at the National Bank. My wife drew a cheque in my favour in payment of it, which I endorsed to prisoner.

Cross-examined. Prisoner entrusted me with some antiques to sell for him in Paris. I did not sell them, and they were subsequently sold at Christie's for £45. My company was doing business, and prisoner attended to some business for the company. I saw him first at Hill's office last July.

JOHN HENRY BARNETT , accountant, National Bank, Strand Branch. I produce extract from Mathieu's account, showing that two £10 notes produced, and a £5 note, No. 96, 935, were paid into his account.

CHARLES THOMAS WILKINSON , solicitor, Bush Lane House, and afterwards 7, Clarence Street. On August 17 last year a man called Baghino borrowed money of me. John Baghino brought him and called him his brother, and they both signed a mortgage on the reversionary interest of the two brothers to secure my advances. I saw them both sign. I saw the one called James on one occasion afterwards. I have never seen prisoner that I am aware of. I know Strong. He is not the person who signed as James Baghino. He did not sign the deed.

Cross-examined. The man called James Baghino resembled John James very much indeed, and the elder one's description of him as his brother seemed very applicable as regards age. John James Baghino told me that he was over twenty-one—between two or three and 20, that he was a careful man in monetary affairs. He was very like him in appearance. Everything seemed correct. One seemed to know as much about the property as the other. I took up the business and told the elder brother I could raise £5,000, but that it would be necessary for his grandmother to make an appointment, or else that his brother should join as surety for him. He said his brother was quite prepared to sign what was necessary, and he introduced his brother for that purpose. What I told him was under the advice of counsel; Mr. Walters, of Lincoln's Inn, advised me. I obtained a copy of the will and required both to sign on securing the loan, or else the elder to obtain an appointment from the

grandmother. The deed produced was given to me as security for my temporary advances; it mortgages both their interests. Advances were made by me of £120.

JOSEPH PETER BANNIN , recalled. I know the handwriting of James Baghino. The signature to the deed produced is not his writing, nor in the slightest degree like it.

Cross-examined. I have seen his writing every time he writes to his grandmother, to whom he writes about once a month.

CARL FREDERICK HUARTSON , 54, Harlesden Gardens, clerk to J. F. Clark and Sons, Limited. In June, 1905, I was engaged by prisoner and Mr. Mathieu, and had been there about three weeks when examined at the police court. I have known prisoner about four years, and was employed by his firm, Mason, Son, and Turnbull, for about a fortnight when I first knew him. I met prisoner at the Adelphi Hotel, and he sent me to Clark and Sons. He gave me a bundle of papers to put in a box. I made a statement to Inspector Kane and he took them out. They were there about a fortnight.

Cross-examined. I think I went to Clark's at the end of March and was there about a month.

JOHN KANE , Inspector, Scotland Yard. On May 5 I received anonymous letters produced (Ex. 11 and 12). When I arrested prisoner I told him he was charged with being concerned with Baghino and Strong in forging an agreement under which Blair had advanced to John Baghino £3,650. He said, "Why, my dear fellow, I have been assisting you all along. I wrote to the Chief Commissioner and to Chief Inspector Kane the moment I thought there was something wrong. I wrote to put you on your guard and to protect Mrs. Schuhkraff." He was about to say something more when he was advised by a gentleman in his company not to do so. Having got those anonymous letters I went to Mrs. Schuhkrafft, Old Quebec Street, on May 7. I there saw Strong. I had at that time no knowledge of the advances made by Blair. Strong was arrested on a charge in connection with Mrs. Schuhkrafft. After he was charged he made a communication to me, and in my and Sergeant Ashley's presence he made a long statement, which I produce. Strong was sent for trial here and pleaded guilty, and has been under remand ever since. On May 19 I arrested prisoner. Up to that date I had no knowledge of the author of those anonymous letters. I first saw Chapman or Blair on May 11. I made inquiry at Blair's office in consequence of Strong's statement, and on May 23 saw Huartson at J. F. Clark and Sons, Limited. He unlocked a box and handed me a bundle of papers. At Hill's office I found a diary, many of the entries in which are in prisoner's handwriting. The anonymous letters are in the writing of prisoner. I got from Mrs. Schuhkrafft's nephew three letters signed "E. M. Hill," addressed to Miss

Mayston. In the Moorgate Street bundle I found two letters from Miss Mayston to Mason. At Hill's office I found a letter purporting to be written by B. Chamberlain. In the Moorgate Street bundle I found a letter from J. Baghino, Monte Carlo, of January, 1905, headed "Hotel de Louvre "; a letter signed "James Baghino, Strada Spada, Genoa "; a letter from J. Baghino to E. M. Hill; a letter from "Your affectionate brother, James." dated "Apiano Como, August 25 "; the incomplete letter spoken to by Chamberlain; letter dated October 28, 1905, from E. M. Hill to Baghino; draft of statutory declaration; draft deed of mortgage, Baghino to Blair; type written copy of deed of September 11, with some pencil writing on it; letter, Hill to Baghino of February 13, 1906; letter. Baghino to Boddington, of March, 1906; letter. Blair to Hill; letter from "Your loving 'brother, Jamie," to "Dear Johnnie," from Maison Lafitte; letter, Hill to Mason, and envelope; three letters in the handwriting of Mason in name of Hill to Miss Mayston; two letters, Miss Mayston to E. M. Hill; and a number of other documents.

Cross-examined. In Hill's office I found various documents pertaining to the Baghino transaction.

THOMAS HENRY GURRIN , expert in handwriting, of 20 years' experience. I have examined handwriting of the three letters signed "James Baghino," said to be written by George Strong; the writing in diary (Exhibit 31) of prisoner, two anonymous letters (Exhibits 11 and 12), letters signed Hill to Miss Mayston, Exhibits 32, 33, 34, and 41 (Hill to Blair), £100 bank notes 28091, 28094, and 32820. The endorsement on the notes is, in my opinion, an imitation of Strong's handwriting written by prisoner. The letters to Miss Mayston are by the same hand. The endorsement on four £10 notes, 99618/21, "George Strong, 2, Imperial Mansions," is in the ordinary handwriting of the prisoner.

Cross-examined. I have been over 20 years an expert in handwriting. I have learnt my business during the time I have given evidence—not under any other famous expert. I have been examining documents constantly during the last 21 years. I had given evidence about seven years before I was called in by the Treasury. I gave evidence twice in the case of Adolf Beck. My report on that case consisted of two portions, and I gave evidence on both at Westminster Police Court. Later on in this Court I was only allowed to give the first portion of my report, which was detrimental to Beck. The evidence I was not allowed to give would in all probability have acquitted Beck. My evidence before Mr. Justice Grantham was detrimental to Beck, but I do not think it made much difference because the judge told the jury rather to give attention to the identification by

13 or 14 different witnesses. Looking at notes 32820 and 26091, 32820 is not endorsed by Strong, the other looks to me very much like Strong's writing. I have never seen it before. 30338, I think, is Strong's handwriting, but I should like time to examine it. It does not look like an imitation. Endorsement on 28093 and letter from Brixton appeared to me to be in the same handwriting, speaking to the best of my belief and from the best opinion I can give, without time to examine them.

Re-examined. Looking at the Brixton letter and 28093, there is a difference of the "r" in Strong. They are very similar, almost fac-simile. The "G" in George on the note looks as if it were written slowly and not so clean as in the prison letter. When I had the five notes under my examination together I was perfectly satisfied in my own mind that all five were endorsed at the same time by the same hand. Taking one of them quite away from the others, it is quite quite possible I may not be able to say whether it is a very good imitation or not. Looking again at 28093, there is a little shakiness; the final stroke of the "G" is quite different to that in the letter. The "G" in the letter is struck quite clean. In 28094 there is the time kind of shakiness all through the writing.

To the Judge. The endorsement on the five £100 notes is an imitation of Strong's writing and is an imitation by the writer of the letters signed by prisoner and the entries in the diary. I have seen the anonymous letters to the Chief Commissioner and the letters to Miss Mayston, and I believe the endorsements on the five notes is by the writer of the letters, mainly from the resemblance in the word "Strong."

(Tuesday, July 31.)

GEORGE STRONG , recalled, further cross-examined. Baghino and I left London for Genoa on November 4; we had made our minds up a day or two before to do so. Baghino went to Monte Carlo thinking he might win money to pay Blair back. We slept two nights in Genoa. Baghino did not see his brother in Genoa; I was with him nearly the whole time. The idea of stopping so long there was the idea of Baghino and of two friends who were with us. One was named Mackenzie, the other Windhurst, a journalist; he may spell his name differently. He was "Crime Editor" of a London paper; we met them in Paris. On November 3, the day the money was paid over, I do not remember where or with whom I dined. In the evening I went to the Opera Tavern, in the Haymarket, with Baghino and Elsie Vaughan, later in the evening I think prisoner came there also. I cannot say when we left.

(Defence.)

ROBERT MASON (prisoner, on oath). For business purposes I adopted the name of Mason by deed poll. Early in 1905 I got

a seat in Mr. Hill's office. In matters introduced by me I was to act as managing clerk, and have complete authority to use his name and act as his representative, and I was to receive emuneration out of the amounts paid in matters I introduced. I first met John Baghino at Hill's office; I was introduced to him by Mr. Choate, who said he came from Brighton. I think I saw Strong first about September 11 at Hill's office. The first business with Baghino was the raising of some money on a house at Richmond; on a lease of the house and a conveyance of the ground rent, and on the security of a debenture bond, £850 was advanced to Baghino through Mr. Ashton, a house agent. Baghino represented that there was no encumbrance on the property; late in October we found that it had already been mortgaged three times over. On September 6, on arriving at the office, I found Baghino in conversation with Hill; they were discussing the question of raising money on his reversion. Hill took his instructions, and raised £300 for him from Blair. I then knew nothing about the loan from Wilkinson; I did not know Wilkinson; I never saw him till yesterday. I heard it stated that James Baghino was in this country; I never saw anyone passing as James Baghino. Hill prepared the deed Exh. 23; I was present when John executed it; Hill attested it and handed it back to John for him to get the signature of James at Brighton. I bad no knowledge whatever that it, the deed, was intended to be used for fraudulent purposes. Strong is not speaking the truth when he says that I assented to the forgery, or knew anything about it, or paid him to go to Brighton; his story is utterly false. John Baghino told me he was a second lieutenant in the Royal Munster Fusiliers; he showed me his commission. On September 13 I was away at the Law Courts when Hill left to go to Blair's office; on returning I found a note directing me to follow there immediately. I went straight to Blair's office; it is untrue that I stayed outside while the money was being paid; I was present when it was paid. Baghino gave Hill £60 out of the money, and instructed him to pay me £30 of it. Baghino knew of the arrangement that I was to have half of what Hill got. With regard to Strong's statements that after the payment of the money there was a dispute as to its division, that we went to a public-house, or to the Cafe Royal, and that I there got £50 or £70 from Baghino, they are absolutely untrue. With regard to the payment to me of £5 spoken to by Chapman, there was a discussion between him and Hill as to some commission being paid for the introduction of the business; Hill said that, as he was acting as solicitor for Baghino, he could not take a commission; then Chapman said, "Very well; give it to Mason "; the £5 was put down on the table, but I never got it; I did not introduce

Baghino to Blair, and therefore I was not entitled to it. After September 13 Baghino frequently called at the office; Hill was acting for him in several matters, and he left various documents. I had nothing whatever to do with the printing of notepaper with the heading, "Italian Church, Hatton Garden "; it was never discussed with me by Baghino or Strong, and I never went to the printer. I knew nothing at all of Strong going to France in October and answering letters in the name of James Baghino. With reference to Chamberlain's evidence, John Baghino called at the office one morning and asked to see two letters from Bannin, and said ho wanted me to make a copy of each of them I said I was very busy, and would attend to it when I returned from the Courts; I left to go to the Courts; Baghino was with me; outside the office we met Chamberlain; I said to Baghino, "Give them to Chamberlain, and he will probably find time to do it" The three of us went to the Adelphi Hotel; Baghino and I went to the buffet, and Chamberlain went into the smoking-room to copy the documents; I did not read the letters over, and took very little notice of them. I had no suspicion that a forgery was being carried out; until these proceedings I had no suspicion that the letters were used for any fraudulent purpose. I never saw the Bannin letter, Exh. 2. As to the further loan, the negotiations with Blair were by Hill exclusively. Baghino instructed Hill to pay me half of the £225 that he received. Strong is lying when he says that after the loan was completed on November 3 Baghino and he and I went to an hotel in Northumberland Avenue, that Baghino paid me four £100 notes, and that I wanted more. It is not true that on November 4 I was with Baghino and Strong in a public-house in Moorgate Street I saw them on that day in the Strand; I was in company with Ashton and his solicitor; we had an unpleasant altercation in Simpson's. Ashton charged Baghino with having obtained money by false pretences on the house at Richmond, and threatened practically to prosecute him; whereupon Baghino produced five £100 notes and said, "This is all I can do at present; if you will renew the bill for the balance I will repay this sum." Ashton seemed satisfied; I was sent out for a 6s. bill stamp, the bill was drawn for £550, and the £500 was handed over. Shortly afterwards Ashton paid me £25, half of his commission. I had several financial transactions with Ashton. With regard to the half of Hill's £225 which Baghino said I was to receive, I did not get half. £100 had to be paid to someone else, which left divisible £125, and all I got from Hill was £62 10s. It is not true that I endorsed the name, "George Strong" on five £100 notes, or any of them; the endorsements on the notes produced are not in my writing. On December 30 or 31 I went to Paris, and from there to Monte

Carlo; I was in Monte Carlo two days. It is not correct that I used the name of Mr. Hill. Mr. Boddington, whom I met at the hotel with Baghino, introduced me to Mr. Brown as Mr. Hill; it is quite common for the representative of a solicitor to be introduced in his pricipal's name. I first heard of the deed of September 11 being a forgery from the police on May 19. On May 4 I heard that John Baghino was an illegitimate son, and not one of the legatees under the Ortelli will, and that the whole thing was a fraud; Choate told me that. I met Strong on the same day, and it was from my interrogation of him and the information I had received from Choate that I was dumbfounded at the revelation. I went back to the office to confer with Mr. Hill, and found he had gone for the night. I thought it my duty to write to the Chief Commissioner of Police, and I did so, because I knew that Strong was then negotiating a further loan from Mrs. Schuhkrafft.

Cross-examined. At Monte Carlo I allowed myself to be addressed as "Mr. Hill," but with no wrong intention; to Mrs. Schuhkrafft and her niece, Miss Mayston, I passed officially as Mr. Hill. The letter from Miss Mayston (Exh. 35) came to Mr. Hill; I swear that. I got it in my capacity as managing clerk. It was found at my office in Moorgate Street; that is not Hill's office, but he had as much access to it as I had. The letter came to Hill's office, and was put with the Baghino papers there; I doubtless took it with other Baghino papers to Moorgate Street, which we used as a City office. The office I mean is that of J. S. Clarke and Sons, Limited; Hill's name is not up there, but he is solicitor to the company. I went out to Monte Carlo sit Mr. Ashton's request; for one reason, it was to obtain a settlement of the £550 bill; I did not go to assist in getting a further loan from Mrs. Schuhkrafft. I did communicate with Mr. Brown, her solicitor. Brown wrote to Hill for information. I got from Hill half of the £30 sent to him by Mr. Brown; I got nothing else for myself, but I received money from Boddington in settlement of Ashton's transactions with Baghino. I remember getting Hill's letter of May 10, saying that he had discovered that I had received £192 10s. from Monte Carlo. I wrote an explanatory letter to him. I did receive a bank draft for £192 12s., but that was not for my own use; I received that and something under £150, to take up the Ashton bill of £550; this bill had been reduced then to £350. I paid the cash to Ashton. It is not correct to put it that the bill was given to prevent a prosecution for some fraud, although probably the threat of a prosecution had something to do with it. I had reason to believe at that time that Baghino was mistaken in what he had been doing, and I was disposed to be charitable with him and treat it as unintentional on his part. I cashed the

draft for £192 12s. and settled with Ashton. In the copy of my banking account produced I see there is a credit to me of £192 12s., and I do not see there any draft to Ashton of that amount in that account; I know it was settled out of one of the accounts. If was on May 4 that I heard that the whole thing was a fraud, and that Baghino was not entitled to a farthing; I considered it my duty to communicate with the police as to the person who had committed the fraud, and I wrote the anonymous letter. Baghino's name is not mentioned in the letter, but you will see the expression, "You will probably find that they are wanted in other similar frauds "; that paragraph would develop itself; it would identify the persons who were responsible for the swindle. The reason I signed the letter "Nemo" instead of my own name was this: the character of the people with whom these men were associated was of a dangerous class, and I was not disposed to run the risk of having a knife put into my body or having my eyes poked out, so I wrote to the police and left them to their own method of developing it. When I wrote the second anonymous letter, on May 8, I knew that Strong had been arrested; again there is no reference by name to Baghino, nor anything about Blair; the police had only to show the letters to Mrs. Schuhkrafft, and she would have told them who they came from; I might have given my own name, but I preferred to be cautious, so as not to receive any injury at the hands of these people. It was early in March that I found out that Baghino had made false representations in the matter of the Richmond house advance, but I thought he had been guilty of an oversight, not of intentional fraud. I did not then communicate with Scotland Yard, because I had not sufficient information. Q. What was your interest in prosecuting these inquiries about Baghino? A. I had been victimised out of my debenture bonds. I refer to debenture bonds in the London and County Contracts, Limited, a company that has an income at the present time of about £250 a quarter in City rentals. It is a duly incorporated company; Mr. Hill is its solicitor; its registered office is at his office. I was at one time secretary. My own family advanced the money secured on the debentures; I was trapped into giving them to Baghino, and these were the debentures that were used to secure the loan of £850 on the Richmond house. Both Hill and I knew Baghino first about July 21; on September 6, when negotiations for the loan on the reversion were entered into, Baghino was closeted with Mr. Hill himself, and gave him instructions, in my absence. Q. Was this your matter or Hill's matter? A. Well, it was a joint matter; Hill had entire conduct of the case. Q. Did you ever take steps to see who or where the brother was who was to join in the deed? A. I never interfered with anything Hill had the conduct of. Q. Was this Baghino business business which

you introduced to the office? A. I looked upon it as such. I swear that before September 6 I knew nothing whatever about a loan having been made by Wilkinson. I never met a man named Golding; I never in my life met a man supposed to be James Baghino. Up to May 4 I had not the least idea that there was anything wrong. I never heard of Golding in connection with Baghino or Choate or Strong. I did not associate with those three; from first to last I have not seen Strong a dozen times. I was connected with Mason, Son and Turnbull; I was cashier; the firm came to grief, and I carried on the business with Mr. Turnbull. I did not know Mr. Lord Thompson. I had nothing to do with the execution of the deed of September 11. I still say that I never got £5 or any sum from Blair in respect of the £300 loan. I have known Chamberlain three or four years; he has done several things for me and I have always paid him; I agree that he can have no grudge against me. It was two of Father Bannin's letters that were given Chamberlain to copy; I do not know the dates; they were among a file of papers in the office; Baghino brought them. I could not say what writing they were in; I believe they were on paper with a printed heading. Baghino came into the office in his usual way, and said he wanted a copy made of each letter; he wanted Mr. Wilkinson to have the copies and Mr. Hill to have the originals. I did not ask Baghino why he wanted copies; it was not my place to interrogate a man who had £140, 000 at his command. I was in the habit of seeing Chamberlain most days, as to process serving and so on; that is how I came to meet him on this occasion. When we went to the Adelphi Hotel I gave him all the letters and papers that Baghino had given to me. I cannot say whether these two pieces of paper (Exh. 2 and 3) were handed by me to Chamberlain; I gave him what Baghino gave me; that was, two letters, written letters, and I have an idea that there were a couple of sheets besides. Chamberlain is wrong when he says that I gave him a "draft" to copy; I gave him two original letters. He went into the smoking-room to write the copies; I went out to the Law Courts; when I got back he gave me the papers, and I gave him 2s. or 2s. 6d. I did not look to see if they were properly copied. I did notice that the paper was headed "Italian Church, Hatton Garden "; I did not take sufficient notice, on my honour. The papers Baghino gave me I placed with the bundle of Baghino papers in the office; they were quite accessible to Mr. Hill. Q. How did these papers come to be found at Moorgate Street? A. I must have taken them there along with other papers; I cannot say for what purpose; probably to investigate something with Baghino's trustees; it might be to investigate whether Baghino was legitimate; I do not say that these two papers would help me in that, but they would

be with the other papers. I was in communication with Messrs. Miller, the solicitors for the trustees, but we could never get information out of them; I say that if the solicitors to the trustees had replied to the letters written by Mr. Hill this fraud would never have got beyond the bud stage. It is the fact that before the money was parted with in September we were in communication with Messrs. Miller; the letters would be in our letter books; it would go back to July; and we never could get any information. As to Strong's story about meeting me at the Hotel Victoria, it is a fabrication from first to last. The amount Mr. Hill received was £220, a payment had to be made of £100; this left £120. and I got my proportion of that. The £100 was paid to Walter Chapman, who introduced me to Blair; Mr. Hill arranged it with Chapman; I knew this last Saturday. It is not true that Hill gave me a £100 note and a £10 note; I got £62 10s.; I did not get £400 in the Hotel Victoria, nor did I ask for more or for anything. I was not at the Hotel Victoria at all. After the interview at Simpson's on November 4, I and Ashton and his solicitor went away in one party, Baghino and Strong remained together. I do not think Ashton writes like Strong or like me. I did not see Strong after November 4. I have borrowed money from Ashton and given it to Mattheu. The endorsements on the two £10 notes 99618 and 99621 are not in my writing; there is a slight resem blance. (Later in the day Mr. Hill produced his letter books from July to September; prisoner was asked to point to any letters written to Messrs. Miller's; he could not find any, but he insisted that his recollection was that there were several letters, and that he had on several occasions gone to Miller's office.)

Re-examined. With regard to the Ashton loan, Baghino professed to be the owner of the Richmond house; the London and County Contracts Company bought the house, and the loan was secured by the debentures I refer to. When I handed the two letters to Chamberlain to copy I did not hand him separately the paper to copy them upon; I just gave him all the papers that Baghino had given to me.

Verdict, Guilty.

Prisoner. It is a miscarriage of justice.

Many previous convictions were proved against prisoner, going back to 1882, for long-firm frauds, conspiracy, subornation of perjury, issuing a sham writ, fraudulently acting as a solicitor, and other offences. His real name is John Scaife. Inspector Kane stated that the London and County Contracts Company was a one-man concern managed by the prisoner, and at the time of his arrest it was clear that gigantic frauds were in contemplation in connection with that company.

Sentence, Seven years' penal servitude.

The Common Serjeant remarked upon the ability with which Chief Inspector Kane and the officers acting with him had unearthed a big conspiracy. It had been a most complicated case, and the bringing of these things to light, bit by bit, so that the complete story could be put before the Court, must have involved an immense amount of work; and the energy and ability of Chief Inspector Kane deserved the highest commendation.


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