Offences: Deception > bankrupcy; Deception > fraud; Deception > fraud
Verdicts: Guilty > no_subcategory; Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishments: Imprisonment > no_subcategory; Imprisonment > no_subcategory
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FRYER, Cyril Frederick William (44, architect) , being an undischarged bankrupt did unlawfully obtain credit to the extent of £20 and upwards, to wit, to the extent of £100 from the Brompton Motor Company, Limited, and from Harold Arthur Arkwright, a director thereof, without informing them that he was an undischarged bank-rupt; obtaining by false pretences from the said Motor Company and the said H. A. Arkwright a motor car. Mr. Leycester and Mr. Adrian Clark prosecuted; Mr. Hayes defended.
HAROLD ARTHUR ARKWRIGHT , director, Brompton Motor Company, Limited, 78, Brompton Road, S.W. Prisoner was introduced to me about the end of May last. He said he wanted to buy two motorcars, that he and his sons might let them out on hire at the Wellington House Hotel. He said he was the architect of the hotel, was one of the principal directors, and had the principal word in the management of the hotel, which was in a very flourishing condition; they were just building a new wing, and it was full up owing to the Coronation, and there was a lot of work for motor-cars, hiring, etc. He showed me a prospectus of the company. He said he was a large holder of shares in the hotel, which he had negotiated the sale of in Paris, and the money was coming definitely in six weeks. I sold him two cars, a Mercedes and a Benz, for £310. He was to pay £100 in cash, and the balance by bill payable in six weeks. I agreed to take 500 shares in Wellington House as collateral security against the bill. He told me there was a market for them in Paris at about 20 francs a share and a dividend of 6 per cent. for three years had been guaranteed. He showed me a contract note showing the shares had changed hands at about 20 francs or 20s. within 12 months. He did not tell me he was an undischarged bankrupt. I should not have parted with the cars if I had thought he was not in a position to pay for them. On June 15 prisoner telephoned that the Mercedes car had arrived, that it was a bigger horse-power than he expected, and asked if I would agree to his only paying £50 down and receiving the other £50 when the other car was delivered; he was just off to Paris, and would send the £50 immediately he got there. I agreed and wrote him confirming same. On the same day I wrote him that on thinking things over I did not consider
the sale of the ears complete, as he had not deposited the certificate for the 500 shares, and that I had instructed my man to fetch the Mercedes car back, and that if he wanted the cars we should have to come to quite fresh terms.
Cross-examined. When he showed me the contract note I thought the shares had a value and that they could be sold for 20 francs in Paris. He told me Wellington House Hotel was a large hotel in Buckingham Gate, and showed me a picture of it. I have read in the "Evening News" that the Government have bought it for occupation by the officials under the National Insurance Act. I do not know what they have paid. I have not had the shares. I do not assert or dispute that the hotel was doing good business. I did not take much notice of the prospectus because I relied on the bill being met. As to when I first came to the conclusion that there was fraud and false pretences, I told my secretary when I saw the transfer, which I did not like the look of, to find out about the hotel. He was a long time doing it, and as prisoner seemed anxious to have the car in a hurry I let the car go. The moment I had done so I received a message from my secretary saying he had searched the register and could not find that prisoner had any shares in the hotel, that the hotel was in a bad condition financially, that it had a receiver in, and that the shares were in his opinion valueless. We did not take civil proceedings till the bill was dishonoured. I am not certain that I determined to charge him criminally. I do not bother about those things much. I believe my people tried to get the money back by sueing him. We were then going to let the case drop as we heard he was bankrupt and his cheques were being returned in all directions. When I heard the Crown were taking another case up it influenced me considerably. They did not come to me personally. I have four partners. Mr. Williams will know about that. When I heard there were no shares standing in his name I did not consider it worth while to send the blank transfer to the company to get the distinctive number of the shares put in. I thought I might be liable on uncalled capital. I preferred to rely on the bill. I only parted with one car. I had £50 and the blank transfer for 500 shares in respect of that. I think we sued him for £100; we got judgment against him for the full amount he owed us.
LEONARD WILLIAMS , director, Brompton Motor Company. Mr. Arkwright handed over to me the conduct of the bargain between himself and prisoner as to the purchase of two motor-cars. On June 14 prisoner signed the two agreements to purchase in my presence. He handed me this bill of exchange. It was dishonoured. He banded me at the same time transfer for 500 shares in the Wellington House Hotel. I did not exercise any judgment in the matter; that had all been arranged by Mr. Arkwright.
Cross-examined. As to when I suggested there had been false pretences, I cannot tell you. I have not had a good deal to do with this matter. I merely received the bill on behalf of my firm.
to Mr. Arkwright. I saw the transfer, dated June 14. It had no numbers on it. After a conversation with Mr. Arkwright I went to Cannon Street Hotel. On the way I saw the Mercedes car we had delivered to prisoner. The person driving it told me he was Fryer, jun. We received a bank note for £50 from prisoner about June 15. I wrote him at the Hotel Continental, Paris, "I am instructed to acknowledge receipt of your letter offering to return the Mercedes car if the company will return you your payment of £50." After our company obtained judgment against defendant I ascertained that he was an undischarged bankrupt. We have not received the car back or been paid the balance due on it.
Cross-examined. Mr. Arkwright told me he had had the transfer given him and asked me whether he should take it as collateral security for the balance owing. After searching the file at Somerset House I was not prepared to advise him to do so. I formed the opinion that supposing we had to fall back on the shares they probably would not realise £500. I found out that some of the shares were not fully-paid, so there was a risk of a call being made upon them. I did not inquire on the Stock Exchange what the shares were worth. I formed my opinion entirely from the file at Somerset House.
JOHN WILLIAM ROBERTS , senior examiner, Bankruptcy Office. Prisoner has never applied for his discharge. In the last bankruptcy the liabilities expected to rank were stated to be £5,314 and assets £4,230. Nothing in fact was ever realised, and there is a debit balance of £11 11s. 4d. on the estate.
SIR VALENTINE GRACE , Bart. I became a director of Wellington House, Limited, about 1909, and chairman three or four months afterwards. Prisoner introduced me. £75, 000 Debentures were subscribed. A receiver was appointed for the Debenture holders in January, 1911, I think. He had been conducting the business of the hotel for four or five months. I hold 20, 000 shares in the company. The market value of the shares at the beginning of last year was whatever one liked to give. I personally had lent them £1,200 on; he 20, 000 about a year before the receiver was appointed. In June last they would have a certain value; the concern was beginning to turn the corner and do very well. I think from a speculative point of view they might have been worth 3s. a share. I think the Government are going to pay about £4,500 a year rent. The ground rent is £1,500. The Debentures are 4 1/2 per cent. The company is being wound up.
Cross-examined. If people lend money at 4 1/2 per cent. it should be almost a, gilt-edged security. People in Paris were negotiating with prisoner to buy a block of shares at 20 francs each before the receiver came in. I thought it my duty to give them notice that there was a receiver in, and a letter was written to that effect. There was no guarantee by anybody of 6 per cent. on the Ordinary shares. If certain negotiations had taken place it might have been guaranteed.
FRANCIS RICHMOND , clerk, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, Somerset House. I produce the file of Wellington House, Limited. It was incorporated February 19, 1909, with an authorised capital of £55, 000 in £1 shares. Practically all were issued. £75, 000 Debentures were issued in January, 1910. On June 28, 1910, a mortgage was registered for £7,971 in favour of Howard McCusack. Prisoner was appointed director. Notice of that was given on July 12, 1910. On July 28, 1910, a contract was made between the company and Palgrave and Co., by which Palgrave and Co. were to receive 5, 000 shares in satisfaction of a debt of £938 owing by the company to them. Palgrave and Co. appears to be prisoner. He is not registered as the holder of any shares. There are other people named Fryer on the register. Mr. Fitton was appointed receiver on January 27, 1911, on behalf of Mr. McCusack. There is an order for the compulsory winding up of the company dated December 19, 1911. There is a contract, dated July 28, 1909, by which the vendor, Thomas Westrup Sweeten ham, sold the lease of the land and buildings to the company for £83, 700. There is no registration on the file of Mr. Sweetenham as secretary. There is. a return of allotments of September 2, 1910, signed by him as secretary. There is nothing signed by him since that.
WALTER STANLEY FITTON , solicitor, Newmarket. In June, 1910, I was appointed director of Wellington House, Limited, in the interests of Mr. McCusack. I resigned-January 26, 1911. I was appointed Receiver on January 11, 1911. I have been conducting the business since. Since my appointment prisoner has had nothing to do with the conduct of the business of the hotel. The hotel has never made a profit. Last June the Debenture interest and a half-year's ground rent and rates and taxes were in arrear. They were paid by Mr. McCusack. The value of the shares was discussed at board meetings. I told prisoner in February last that I should inform people that in my opinion their value was nothing.
Cross-examined. I am told hotels do not pay dividends in their first or second year. I have no experience of this. If I heard there was a contract for sale of 20, 000 shares in France at 20 francs I should say the market value would depend upon who made the contract. My client advanced £52, 000 in cash, for which he took £65, 000 in Debentures. Then he guaranteed the company's debt for furniture to the extent of £70, 000 odd, for which he took another £10, 000 Debentures as his consideration.
EDWARD JAMES RAM , secretary, London Banking Corporation (in liquidation), 32, New Bridge Street, E.C. Defendant had an account at our bank for some years. I produce certified copy of same. (Witness gave evidence that on various dates the account was overdrawn, and that cheques had been returned and re-presented.)
Detective-sergeant ALBERT EVE, T. On January 10 last I charged prisoner with having obtained credit for upwards of £20 without disclosing that he was an undischarged bankrupt. He said, I paid the Brompton Motor Company £50 cash deposit on the car and gave a bill
for £210. I was advised that it was no offence against the bankruptcy laws to pay a deposit and owe the remainder of the money.
CYRIL FREDERICK WILLIAM FRYER (prisoner, on oath). I am the principal of the firm of Palgrave and Co., 28, Victoria Street, S.W. 1 was formerly in partnership with Mr. Palgrave. My holding in the Wellington House Company varied. Sometimes I held 7, 000 or 8, 000 shares. They were held in various names, mostly in the name of my firm, who were the original architects for the hotel. Some were in other names. My wife was an independent shareholder as well as nominee. Five thousand were allotted to Palgrave and Co., and we bad the option of a great many others at a price. I had a contract in Paris to sell those shares. I showed Mr. Arkwright a London Stock Exchange contract a few months before this Paris contract, showing that I had sold these shares at from 18s. 6d. to 20s. 6d. I sold some hundreds, and they were a great factor in bringing about this Paris contract. I designed the hotel, and we had made plans for an additional wing, which they were going on with when the Paris deal was completed. That was part of the arrangement, as then the company would be in funds. The company owed Palgrave and Co. about £1,000, balance for work done. They had originally paid us £3,000 or £4,000 cash; then we did some other work, and I agreed to take the balance in shares, because I had clients in Paris, and I took them on the lines that I could sell them at 12s. or 14s. each. I introduced Sir Valentine Grace as chairman of the company. How the motor deal with the Brompton Motor Company originally came about was, my son had been articled to my chief assistant but did not care for the architect's work and seemed to be very keen on the motor industry, and associated himself with a man named Sadler, who I think knew Mr. Arkwright, and they were very desirous of getting one or two cars for hiring out for the Coronation, as good prices were going to be paid. He had seen one or two cars at Brompton which he thought suitable, and asked me if I would go into this thing and find him one or more cars if my Paris deal came off. I saw Mr. Arkwright and showed him the French contract. I explained that until I received this money from Paris I did not want to pay any money at all, and it would suit me better if he would take the shares in exchange. He told me he did not know much about that class of shares. I answered neither did I; I was an architect, and knew very little about Stock Exchange matters. He said he would think it over. He said, "I see you are going to receive money. You can pay me £100 for the cars and the balance out of the second instalment on your Paris contract." He said, "You must give me a bill. but of course I shall get the shares." I said, "You understand, of course, I propose to pay you out of the second instalment." There were certain things required to be done to the Benz car, which I left my son to see to, as I was leaving for Paris that day or the next. It was subsequently arranged that he should have the 500 shares left with him as collateral security for the bill. There is no truth in the statement that
I did not have the property in those 500 shares. Sir Valentine Grace stated at the police-court that we had 4, 000 or 5, 000. I went to the secretary's office before the blank transfer was issued and ascertained there were so many shares to my or my nominee's credit, and arranged that they should debit my account with 500, and they should give me a provisional certified transfer in blank. Those shares have been hypothecated to the transfer. In the corner of the certificate there is "Coupon for 500 shares forwarded to the company's office by C.F.W. Fryer. Certified J.W. Sweetenham, secretary, Wellington House, Limited. "That means that the shares are at the office waiting receipt of that transfer and they are there to this day. I have done all that I. could to transfer those shares. There is no reason why a certificate with distinctive numbers would be more valuable The shares were all fully-paid. I paid the Brompton Motor Company £50 cash when they handed over one car. The bill covered two cars. As I only had one car the bill ought never to have been presented. I had no intention of getting credit. I was advised there is a section of the Bankruptcy Act which says that a bill or post-dated cheque is payment; and it certainly was arranged between Mr. Arkwright and myself that the bill was to be paid out of the second instalment of the French contract. I never got the second instalment. I have delivered the first instalment and hold my solicitor's receipt for £6,400, and he is now suing by my power of attorney for £20, 000 and the return of my deposit. I told Mr. Arkwright or the firm that as I had received no consideration for the bill it would not be met. I was greatly surprised to hear that it had gone in.
Cross-examined. My son has the car. He is in the provinces. I last saw it about three months ago. I have not had the money to pay for it. Mr. Arkwright said at the police-court he was satisfied the money should come out of the second instalment. If I did not get that I had my professional income, which was above £2,000 a year. I have not received a penny from Paris in respect of the shares. They are lodged with my solicitor to be transferred to the Paris bank. I did not discover by the middle of June that the deal would not come off. The £500 I deposited was provided by a cheque of the Maritime Securities, Limited, and the London Banking Corporation guaranteed the repayment. I shall have to repay it. No one had guaranteed 6 per cent. interest on the Ordinary shares.
(Thursday, February 1.)
CYEIL FREDERICK WILLIAM FRYER (prisoner, on oath), further cross-examined. I stated yesterday I had £500 on deposit at Barclay's Bank. I ought to add I had given them a sort of lien upon it for any overdraft that might come to Wellington House Hotel. I do not know if it was at my disposal; I never attempted to draw upon it. It is there now. The motor-car is registered at the L.C.C. in my name or my son's. The reason the sale did not come off in Paris was not that they found out that the interest was not guaranteed. They were share warrants to bearer. A minute had been passed agreeing to a certain
number of Ordinary shares being converted into warrants to bearer. they had not been issued; that would have been done simultaneously with the completion of the deal. I did not intend Mr. Arkwright to believe that the shares he was to get were guaranteed by a financial group. 1 heard him say I did, but I fancy he misunderstood me. At the time of the Paris deal I probably had 8, 000 or 9, 000 shares and a call on the whole of Sir Valentine Grace's 2, 500, which I was going to sell as well. If I was not on the board at the time the Receiver was appointed I should have nothing to do with the management of the hotel. I think Mr. Arkwright misunderstood me when he said I told him I was the chief person managing the hotel. I have no recollection of telling him. It is difficult at this time to say, but I should say I did not. It is a fact that I appointed the general manager and had formed the company. Mr. Fitton was appointed a friendly Receiver, not by order of the Court, and the board held their meetings as before. Sweetenham was employed at the hotel in June. I cannot recollect if I had an interview with him before the transfer was drawn up. I daresay I did. He would look to see if the shares were available. Share certificates have been issued in my name and dealt with either in my name or the name of nominees. I let the secretary fill in the numbers as I did not know what were available. I sold some hundreds of the shares at 16s. 6d. on the Stock Exchange between September, 1910, and March, 1911. The contract notes are in Paris. They were sent to me there. I do not think I could recognise the transaction from the transfer book. I did not tell either Mr. Arkwright or Mr. Williams that I was an undischarged bankrupt. I was not obtaining credit; I gave them a bill. I do not think it fair to give the name of the solicitor who advised me that that would be a payment under the Bankruptcy Act. The advice was in writing. Verdict, Guilty, on the first and third counts.
(Another Jury was sworn.)
GERTRUDE AMY BARTLETT , Burleigh House, Chelsea. On September 15 I was staying with Miss Emerson at Burwash, Sussex. I saw prisoner there. I had no conversation with him. Next day I came up to London and saw him at 28, Victoria Street. I said I had come about shares in New Picture Palaces, Ltd. He showed me a plan of Prince's Hall, Kew Bridge. He said it would be open by Christmas time and the shares were then worth £2 each. He said they had a lease of the premises for 21 years. I said I thought of having 20 shares. He said they were 25s. each, but if I took 40 he would let me have them for 23s. I said I would ask my husband about it and I would like a paper like Miss Emerson had. He sent it that night. I told him I was only a working woman and did not want to lose my money. He said I would not lose my money, that they had had an expert down from Lon-don belonging to all the picture palaces, who said it would bring in 100 per cent., that he could guarantee me. 100 per cent. himself. He
said, "The public do not get the chance of having their money in a good thing like this." He said it was a private company and Sir Valentine Grace was the chairman and also a sleeping partner. Next day I got £46 out of the bank and my husband and I went to 28, Victoria Street. We handed over the money and I signed a transfer. Next day I received from him a certificate for 40 shares in New Picture Palaces, Ltd. On September 26 I went with Miss Emerson to see prisoner. I could not tell you all that he said. He asked if I had been to Kew to see the place; I said I had. It had been a theatre kind of place. He said they had had a board painted, but they had put on the wrong address and it would be all right by to-morrow and if I went again I would see the board up and the Prince's Hall board taken down. I did not go inside. I had implicit faith in him up till the end. I had no notion that the company had not the lease or that the hall was not fully equipped, or that Sir Valentine Grace was not chairman, or I should not have parted with my money.
Cross-examined. Prisoner told my husband he had a little bother with the brewers and that I need not worry about my money; it was all right and they were putting on 600 men next week and it would be open by Christmas time. I had faith in him until I saw Mr. Firth, who said there was no lease. I should not have put my money in if I had been told the lease was in course of being signed. He told me everything was signed and settled and he had a 21 years' lease. Miss Emerson first told me about the shares, but did not persuade or advise me to have any. I got prisoner's address from her. He gave it of her to give to me. I said to Mr. Firth, "If you can get my money get it, please, off Mr. Fryer." I cannot remember what he said to that. That was eight or ten days after my husband last saw prisoner. Prisoner was not arrested on my account, but on Miss Emerson's. I did not say Mr. Firth said he would try and get my money. He did not tell me the result of his endeavours. I saw him when I went to make my statement. I have not written him at all. I did not ask about my money afterwards; I knew prisoner was going to be arrested.
FRANCIS HUGH RICHMOND , clerk, Registration Department, Somerset House. I produce the file of New Picture Palaces, Limited. It was registered September 13, 1910, with a nominal capital of £5,000 in £1 shares. Up to October 10, 1911, 1, 949 shares were issued. The first registered office was registered on April 10, 1911; it was then stated to be 53, Haymarket, with Mr. Lebutt as secretary. On October 25 Mr. Fraser was registered as secretary, address 38, Great James Street, Bedford Row. The directors are registered as Sir Valentine Grace, prisoner, William Thorley, and Ralph Lebutt. 1,092 shares were registered in the name of Fryer.
Cross-examined. I was first consulted by Miss Emerson. She said she had taken in exchange from prisoner for a motor-car 60 shares in New Picture Palaces, Limited, that a transfer had been sent to her,
and acting on the direction given in prisoner's letter that transfer had been sent and was returned through the dead letter office. She instructed me to make inquiries whether the company was good and whether Fryer was honest or not. Mrs. Bartlett did not come till afterwards. She has made a mistake if she said she instructed me to get her money back which she gave Fryer for the shares. I have not attempted to do so. I attempted to get money from him for Miss Emerson before I found out it was a fraud. Prisoner sent me the address of a man supposed to be the secretary. We sent repeatedly to the offices of the company. When Mrs. Bartlett came to me I told it was an impudent fraud and nothing could be done but criminal proceedings. I had been making inquiries up to November 18, when I stopped. I did not ask for Miss Emerson's car back because he had driven it and it had been in other hands. He pawned it as soon as he got to London. He expressed his willingness to return the car, but it was an empty expression; he had not "possession of it. We were referred to a man called Fraser at Gregory Day and Co's, solicitors, Great James Street. I had repeated reports "Mr. Fraser is out," and we could not see the books or learn anything. On November 18 I discovered there was no picture palace and no lease. If he had paid the £60 before November 18 I should have taken it.
(Friday, February 2.)
JAMES FRASER , 38, Great James Street, Bedford Row. I am clerk to Mr. Day. I was appointed secretary of New Picture Palaces, Iimited, on October 5 last. Mr. Day informed me of this appointment. There was no agreement as to salary and I did not receive any. Sir Valentine Grace was present at board meetings; December 14 was the last date. I do not know in whose handwriting the entry of the shares in Mrs. Bartlett's name is. I received the book about the end of October from prisoner at 28, Victoria Street, where the books of the company were. As far as I know the company has no banking account. The only assets it possessed I suppose were the negotiations for the lease of the Kew Theatre. My firm was acting for the company in acquiring the lease. The negotiations dropped about the end of November. The company never had a lease of Prince's Hall. They never spent any money in repairing or altering it.
Cross-examined. We got as far as engrossing the tenancy agreement. Fuller, Smith, and Turner insisted on a deposit of £1,000 as the references were not satisfactory. The engrossment was not in existence on September 21, but the deeds were approved, I think, by then. £50 had to be found for the first quarter's rent. Prisoner was arranging this when he was arrested.
HENRY FLEETWOOD FULLER . I am a member of the firm of Fuller, Smith, and Turner, Griffin Brewery, Chiswick, who are the freeholders of Prince's Hall, which is attached to the "Star and Garter." It is licensed for music and dancing. It has never been used as a picture palace that I am aware of. On August is last prisoner called
at the brewery and proposed to take up the hall on behalf of a Mr. Sweetenham. A good deal of correspondence passed between us up to the time of his arrest. No lease was ever granted.
Cross-examined. It was provisionally agreed to let the place to Mr. Sweetenham. The draft agreement was approved by us subject to references. Those references were not satisfactory.
WILLIAM DOWN , licensee, "Star and Garter," Kew Bridge. I have seen prisoner at my house. I remember a board being put up announcing that Prince's Hall was going to be opened shortly as a picture palace, with the address of New Picture Palaces, Limited, 28, Victoria Street, S.W.
Cross-examined. I did not fix up the board. Their men put it up. SIR VALENTINE GRACE, Bart. I was chairman of the New Picture Palaces, Limited, at the start. I was introduced by prisoner. He gave me to understand it was to be a private company subscribed by his friends; no prospectus was to be issued to the public. After attending three or four meetings I discovered that, these friends had not supplied the money. I resigned in February last as I was not satisfied with the financial position. That was at a meeting at 28, Victoria Street. It should have been recorded on the minutes. No secretary was present. Prisoner was there. I sent a letter the same evening to prisoner to confirm my resignation. During the time I was connected with the company it did no work beyond holding meetings. Qualification shares were allotted to me for which I paid nothing. I never attached any market value to them.
Cross-examined. I got no acknowledgment of my letter of resignation. I wrote twice. I found out afterwards they were using my name as chairman. To the best of my belief I asked Fryer on several occasions for a letter accepting my resignation. I never got one. There was only prisoner there when I resigned. I thought the concern had died a natural death. I resigned verbally. I requested prisoner to put it down. I resigned because I was not satisfied with prisoner's transactions with me in the past and I did not think him a fit person to be associated with.
Detective-sergeant ALBERT EVE, T. On September 13 I charged prisoner with having obtained £46 from Mrs. Bartlett by false pretences. He said, "I did not ask Mrs. Bartlett to put her money into the company."
Cross-examined. I arrested him in the case of Miss Emerson. I told him I had a warrant for his arrest for fraud. He said, "What ground? Where is the sworn information?" I said, "I have not" got that, but I will read the warrant to you." I read it. He said, "This is an absurd charge. I got the car from Miss Emerson and paid her with marketable shares in a genuine concern. The car was absolutely worthless and I sold it for scrap iron at a ridiculous figure. Miss Emerson is the person who ought to be charged with obtaining my money for a useless car. I only hope she has got plenty money to pay me damages for malicious prosecution." Whilst I was searching his desk he said, "What do you want?" I said, "Any papers
relating to the company." He said, "There is no company; I am an architect and have been at 28, Victoria Street with Messrs. Palgrave for sixteen years. Of course, I suppose I can have bail." I said, "No, not to-night. You will be detained at Chiswick police-station." He asked what kind of bail we would want. I said any substantial householder. He said, "1 do not know anyone I can trust. It is disgusting to think that a woman can go to a court and get a warrant by telling an abominable pack of lies. She tried to blackmail me for £60 and this is the result." When charged he said, "I will make her pay for this; it is an outrage. I deal in cars and have bought a lot this year. It is blackmail pure and simple."
CYRIL FREDERICK WILLIAM FRYER (prisoner, on oath). I do not think you would call me the promoter of New Picture Palaces, Limited; I was architect for the buildings. The company were negotiating for a hall opposite when we found out that Prince's Hall was in the market. Mr. Down told me his tenancy was likely to expire and he would be glad to get rid of it. I told him we were open to negotiate on behalf of a client. He referred me to Fuller, Smith and Turner. They offered to grant a lease and had our acceptance on September 12 subject to references being satisfactory. We had to give the references of our client, for whom we had done considerable work. He was lessee of premises rented at £1,500 a year, director of Wellington House, of which he was vendor at £83, 000; so I felt perfectly safe he would be accepted for this paltry £200 a year. I did not receive Sir Valentine Grace's letter of resignation. He would not send it to me because I was not a director of the company. He did say on more than one occasion it was no use his attending meetings until the company was further developed. That was while we were negotiating for this property. By the articles of association the company had power to build anywhere in the United Kingdom. The negotiations for the lease of Princes Hall never did end as far as I am aware. The company is still going on. We were doing all the work for nothing and taking shares for our work. The gentleman who was to be our manager was associated with another company that paid 50 per cent, last year. I do not know what the estimate of £5,104 profit per annum is based on I did not make it. I gave Miss Emerson 60 shares for a secondhand motor-car. I took it up to London. It broke down three times going to the station. I wrote Mr. Firth that I could get the car back. That was true. When Mrs. Bartlett called at my office I showed her plans of what Prince's Hall was going to be. I have not. a distinct recollection that she asked me anything about the company; I think she seemed to have discussed this more with Miss Emerson;? he seemed to know all about it. I told her I thought it was going to be a very good thing, that we held a great number of shares in it, that I was a director, and we expected to open at Christmas. I may have told her who the other directors were. I did not give her any printed matter in connection with the company. I think I sent her afterwards a sort of
circular. I told her our shares ought to change hands at £2 if the profits estimated were anywhere near realised. I said it would be unwise for her to sell her shares until Christmas. I said my price was 25s. 1 told her there were 40 outstanding of Miss Emerson's and if she liked she could have those at 23s. in order to absorb that certificate. She said she would consider the matter. She and her husband came and brought £46. I gave her a transfer for 40 fully paid shares. She is a registered holder in the company. The next time I saw her was about a fortnight after, when she called with Miss Emerson. I practically only had conversation at that interview with Miss Emerson. She came to ask where she should send the vulcaniser of the car. I told her 'to send it to the office. Then she asked me if I could sell any more shares as she knew a gentleman who was interested in companies. There was no complaint that day about Mrs. Bartlett's shares. I have had no complaint from her or her husband. I had a letter from Mr. Firth saying he had been consulted by Miss Emerson and Mrs. Bartlett That war, the first intimation I had that they were dissatisfied. When he asked me to find £60 or he would resort to legal proceedings I thought he meant civil proceedings. A month before my arrest I wrote him that I could no doubt procure a client to relieve Mrs. Bartlett of her shares if he so advised me. On October 13 I wrote Mr. Firth that I had bought the car back. That was true. I wrote him on October 14 that I was arranging for Mrs. Bartlett's shares to be taken over. I do not think I answered his letter in reply to that. When arrested I said it was an outrage and blackmail because there was an attempt to get £60 from me. Mr. Bartlett called on me some three weeks after Mr. Firth bad written to me and stated that neither he nor his wife had instructed Mr. Firth to write to me as he was not their solicitor.
Cross-examined. I do not know that I said to Mrs. Bartlett that the hall belonged to the company. I had authority from Fullers to put up one board a month before that. There is a letter, I think Mrs. Bartlett asked me where the books of the company could be seen, and I said they were at our office; in fact, I pointed to a deed box on my safe and said, "There they are," or words to that effect. I made no complaint to Miss Emerson about the car. She knew it had broken down and wrote that she was sorry to hear it. The day after I got the car I borrowed £13 on it from Mr. Ram, the cashier of the bank. I asked him to take it to the Baker Street Bazaar; I wanted a friend of his to examine it. It remained there till after October 21. I told him to get the best price he could for it. It was sold for £31 10s. Mr. Ram deducted the £13 and paid the rest to my credit. I accept responsibility for the circular sent to Mrs. Bartlett. We had three schemes prepared for picture palaces. We sent our builders' to make estimates and had prepared plans and specifications. Prince's Hall is fully equipped as a picture palace with the exception of the operator's box. It was not our fault we did not get the lease of Prince's Hall Sir Valentine Grace did not resign. I could not say if he attended a meeting since January, 1911. I was not a director, so I do not know. He has apparently not signed any minute as chairman after December 9, 1910. I told Miss Emerson and Mrs. Bartlett that the expert's estimate was
too favourable, or words to that effect, and I should be satisfied with a quarter of the amount.
Previous convictions were proved.
Sentence: On the first indictment One month on the first count Eight months on the third count; on the second indictment Eight months; all in the second division, and to run concurrently.
BEFORE JUDGE RENTOUL.
(Wednesday, January 31.)