7th September 1909
Reference Numbert19090907-78
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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BROKENSHIRE, Nicholas (59, solicitor) ; having received the sum of £250 as money for and on behalf of Lewis Charles Walden and Emily Jane Melluish, fraudulently converting the same to his own use end benefit.

Mr. Muir and Mr. Travers Humphreys prosecuted; Mr. Spratling defended.

LEWIS CHARLES WALDEN , 1, Newcastle Street, B. C. In June, 1906, I had £250 to invest on mortgage, which I held jointly with my

sister, Mrs. Melluish, as trustees of my father's will. I knew the defendant as a solicitor practising at Broad Street Avenue, City, and I had an interview with him as to the investment. I think he put the question to me, had I any money for investment. I said "Yes," and on June 4, 1906, I paid him over the £250. This is the receipt, "Received of L. C. Walden, Esq., the sum of £250, the amount of mortgage on 88 and 90, Priory-road, East Ham. "This is the mortgage dated June 30, 1906. I got this letter of August 19, 1907. from the defendant, "Dear Sir,—We have received notice that it is intended to pay off this mortgage in six months' time." I handed back the deeds relating to the security to defendant on January 10, 1906, for him to complete the matter. This is a list of the securities. The reconveyance, signed by myself and sister in defendants presence and dated January 4, 1906, is endorsed on the mortgage Exhibit 5 is a letter from defendant of February, Dear Sir,—Priory Road mortgage: We have not yet parted with this mortgage, as the parties require a few days' grace," etc. "P. S.—I will let you have a cheque for interest in a few days. I hope you are well." I was not aware that the mortgage had been paid off. I shortly afterwards received a cheque for £21 19s. 6d. for the interest. I received a letter from defendant, dated May 14, 1906: "Dear Sir,—Priory Road mortgage: We are pleased to say we shall be able to complete this matter early next week, Tuesday or Wednesday, as the duties will be paid on Monday," etc. I did not understand the part referring to estate duties. He said there were some legal formalities that were not quite complete, or words to that effect, and that was why he could not hand over the cheque. In another letter, dated July 10, defendant said, "I am sorry I was out when you rung up yesterday. I rang you up at 3, but it was your turn to be out," etc. I had telephoned on July 9 asking to see him, as I wanted to know what the delay was with the cheque. On August 1, 1906, I received a letter from defendant, "Dear Sir,—The information you asked for is Mrs. Fanny Harrington and Mrs. Annie Suffield, both of King Street, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex." I did not go or write there. On October 28, 1908, defendant wrote, "Dear Sir,—In reply to your letter of the 26th inst., we are appointing Tuesday next, at 3 o'clock, to complete this matter, and shall be glad if you will attend then and re-execute this conveyance," etc. I did not understand "re-execute the conveyance." I believe I had a letter to postpone the appointment. On November 2, 1906, defendant wrote, "Dear Sir, East Ham. I will call upon you to-morrow about 1.30. "He did not come. I think I say him about that time. Some of the excuses made were that there were some legal technicalities that were not quite completed. I am under the impression the cheque was posted. I got it about that time. It is dated November 11 for £260, payable to myself and sister, and we endorsed it. I believe I handed it to my solicitor and that he paid it in or presented it. I think I was asked to hold it over for three or four days by defendant. On November 14 defendant wrote. "Dear Mr. Walden,-The announcement in enclosed paper, relating to my sad bereavement," etc. That was the reason for holding over the cheque. A little later I handed over the cheque to my solicitors,

Messrs. Langharas, and consulted them. I have not been paid my part of the money.

Cross-examined. I think my solicitors presented it. As I said in my depositions, if prisoner had found me another investment before this I daresay I should have been very pleased. I also said if the cheque had been met there would have been an end of the matter. I had known prisoner for seven or eight years and had one or two gill transactions with him. I had nothing to complain of. I had to do with him in a building society of which I was a director and to which he was solicitor. I think there were six directors. He gave me another mortgage on 58, Adelaide Road, where he lived, and on which I lent £200. It is a fairly nice house, but it will not let or sell. He may have given £375 for it. It is empty—rent £36. If I said in my affidavit before the Law Society that the present utter was the first transaction it could not be correct. I know nothing of this building society cheque in this account for £104 15s. The defendant paid me the interest on the mortgages. The £4 15s. is interest on his own house. In the letter of May 14 defendant said, 'We hope to be able to offer you another security." I did not know that defendant had the £250 or I should have wanted it. I think he asked me if this mortgage were paid off if I would invest again and I task I said yes, if the security was all right. On February 18, 1908. defendant paid me the interest, which was handed to him by the mortgagor. I think he handed me the cheque (£18 3s. 9d.). I should have had a great objection to defendant holding the money. I asked him to pay it over. I do not know that I owed him anything for ✗ I settled up with him I suppose four years ago. I heard to wife was dangerously ill and died on November 10. The building society is wound up—I believe satisfactorily. I do not think we paid him a salary. We did not pay him rent for his office. There were no directors' fees. I noticed defendant was worried. I suppose be would be by his wife's illness. I did not know that his wife was financing him. I thought the money safe at first I never lent him the money. I held the cheque over because he asked me to. I think it was marked, "Refer to drawer." I do not suppose the solicitors would refer to drawer. He issued a writ and charged interest to date of issue. I made up my mind I had been robbed.

Re-examined. I would meet defendant every two or three months, perhaps. He never told me at any of those meetings that he had received the £250.

ERNEST JOHN MARSH (solicitor, 2, Fen Court, E. C.). I acted for the mortgagors on the mortgage of June 30, '06, and my clerk received from defendant £250 on completion, which was held at the bank. On August 12, 1907, I gave notice that the mortgagors intended to pay off. In reply, I received this letter from defendant, of August 29."Walden and another and Harrington, 88 and 90, Priory Road. Referring to your letter of the 17th inst., would your clients desire to pay off at once if our clients are willing to receive their principal?" I replied on September 6, 1907. It was then arranged that payment off should be put off till January 14, when I

attended at defendant's office, and handed him £250 in bank note, which I drew out for the purpose. I got all the deeds with the exception of the mortgage as defendant said it had not been executed, but he would get it executed and let me have it in due course, and I did not at that time pay interest or his costs, but did on January 20 by a cheque for £21 19s. 6d. He acknowledged it on January 24, and said: "I will let you have deed as soon as it is executed." About March or April I received the reconveyance from Messrs. Langhams, unstamped. I put the circumstances before the authorities at Somerset House, and as I had not had the deed in my possession they remitted the penalty. I did not ask for ways of grace for my clients in February, 1908, because I had paid off before then. Referring to Ex. 6, there were no duties to pay, apart from the 1s. 6d., that I know of. I know of no "estate account." I should have thought that meant probate work.

RICHARD SEER , clerk in London and County Bank, 21, Lombard Street. The last witness has an account at our Limehouse branch. He drew out two bank notes on January 14 for £200 and £50, Nos. 12524 and 51199. These are the actual notes.

CHARLES FRANCIS WOODS , cashier, Capital and Counties Bank, Broad Street Place. Defendant had an account at our bank from November, 1905, to the present time. No one else had power to draw on it. I produce a certified extract from June 2, 1906. On June 5, 1906, there was a payment in of cash of £250. On the night of January 13, 1908, there was an overdraw of £5 17s. 8d. At the close of business on November 3, 1908, it was £32 6s. 8d., and on November 11, 17s. 8d. These are the notes that were paid in on June 5, 1906.

Cross-examined. The entries marked "B. L." mean "bill lodged." Defendant had three loans with us. At the end of my examination at the police-court I said defendant left with £650 in our debt. We recovered that. On January 2, 1907, there was an outstanding loan of £100. It was. paid off by a transfer from current account. In the first half year ending December 31, 1906, he passed £1,344 4s. 4d. through the bank bar balance brought forward.

Mr. Justice Coleridge. I do not want to stop you; but how am I to understand what this is directed to? Supposing he passed ten millions through his bank, you have to show that he did not misappropriate the £250.

Mr. Spratling. My point is that it shows he was on good terms with his bank.

Cross-examination (continued). We should probably lend two-thirds on leasehold property. Mrs. Brokenshire has a deposit account at the bank. There is a balance of £35. Money from the defendant's loan account would be put to his current account. I do not think if defendant had seen the manager that he would have arranged to meet the cheque. We have sold some of the properties and have some bank shares left worth about £38. We have some house property of defendants at Southend and Dalston.

Re-examined. The paying-in side of the account for January, 1908, shows £343 5s. 6d. and the paying-out side £113 16s. 9d.—a difference of £229 8s. 9d., so that but for the £250 the account had been overdrawn.

ANNIE SUFFIILD , wife of Robert Suffield. I have never lived at Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, or my mother. A mortgage for £250 was paid off, but I cannot say when. I never asked for time.

MAURICE WARD EVANS , clerk to Messrs. Langhorns, solicitors, Birtlett's Buildings, Holborn. In November, 1908, Mr. Walden consulted us and gave us certain instructions. He handed us tome documents, amongst which was Ex. 8, and one giving the address of tit mortgagors, Mrs. Harrington and Mrs. Suffield. We wrote to their address, but had no reply. On November 28 we wrote to the defendant: "Dear Sir,—88 and 90, Priory Road. Our clients, Mr. Wilden and Mrs. Mellish, have consulted us with reference to your letter. As we cannot understand from your letter why the mortgagors tare not paid off we have written to the mortgagors for an explanation," etc. The reply is dated December 1: "We beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 28th ult.," etc. On December 5 we received a letter from Brokenshire and Co. saying: "Mr. Brokenshire will call upon you on Thursday next to pay off this mortgage." He did not call. On December 5 we paid in a cheque for £260 with receipt. It was returned marked, "Refer to drawer." We then, on instructions, issued a writ against defendant, and obtained judgment, but did not recover under it.

Cross-examined. We did not issue the writ for a considerable time. We did not refer to drawer. The amount on the writ was £261 18s., let £11 18s. over the £250 being for interest. I have no doubt my principals believed that defendant had not the money.

GEORGE INGLIS , Bankruptcy Court messenger. I produce the defendant's file, Frederick Lewis being the petitioner, whose debt was £85 13s. 7d. There was judgment in the Mayor's Court, and the other matter is in reference to a promissory note. No statement of affairs was field. He never surrendered. His public examination was adjourned sine die on March 29, 1909. There is nothing on the file to show the amount of liabilities.

Cross-examined. If there were a certificate of ill-health it would be attached.

Detective-Inspector ERNEST THOMPSON, City police. On August 25 last, I saw defendant in Jersey. I read the warrant to him' for his arrest. He made no reply. He was brought to London and formally charged, but made no reply.

Cross-examined. I searched prisoner and found upon him 2s. 7d. in money, and various articles of wearing apparel in a handbag with him. He had a return ticket.

Prisoners statement before magistrates. "I plead not guilty."

HERBERT BROKENSHIRE , prisoner's son, 13, The Pavement, Lady well. My step-mother has been dead nearly 12 months. My mother died in 1896. My brother is a confectioner of St. Saviour's Road, Jersey, where he has been for six years. My father took a return ticket intending to come back. My father and step-mother lived happily together as far as I know, and he was much cut up on her death, which occurred in Cornwall. He went three or four times to see her. He then seemed to be always moping about, and when she died we had the hardest job possible to get him up in the morning and fit for business in any shape or form. He seemed to want a holiday, and to get right away—in fact, he seemed to be pretty well demented.

Cross-examined. My father is 59. My step-mother went to Cornwall in the beginning of the summer, but I did not take much interest in her doings. I lived at home with them. She always suffered with a weak heart. My father married her about ten years after my mother's death.

Lieut. Colonel CROSSLER, Junior United Service Club. I have known prisoner for five or six years, and my general impression of him is very favourable, but I have not seen him for the last year or so. He is of most regular habits as far as I know, and not addicted to drink.

Cross-examined. I do not know that he was suspended from practice for three months on the report of the Incorporated Law Society on November 4, 1892.

HENRIQUE OPPENHEIMER , M. D., 53, Finsbury Pavement. I have known prisoner for three years or over. I have made a special study of mental diseases, and have written treatises on the subject. He has appeared to be depressed and occasionally stupid.

Mr. Justice Coleridge. Does he know right from wrong? (A.) I cannot answer that in the affirmative or negative, for I have not examined him.

By Mr. Spratling. I have thought him straightforward, but some-what incapable.

Mr. Spratling. I should have liked to put prisoner in the box, but I think having regard to his health, I will not call him. We have a doctor's certificate.

Mr. Justice Coleridge: That is no use unless it is produced.

Mr. Spratling: We cannot find that, my lord.

Verdict, Guilty.

Sentence, 9 months' hard labour.


(Tuesday, September 14.)

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