15th May 1834
Reference Numbert18340515-46
VerdictNot Guilty

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Second London Jury, before Mr. Justice Littledale.

785. JOHN ARSCOTT was indicted for that he, on the 30th of January , at St. Marylebone , having in his custody and possession a certain order for payment of money, which is as follows: - "Bury, Jan. 27, 1834. Messrs. Gosling and Sharpe, - Pay to Mr. Aikman, tailor, Putney, or order, the sum of 184l. 9s., and place the same to my account. Bristol" - feloniously did forge on the back of the said order for payment of money, a certain endorsment in writing, which is as follows - "R. Aickman" - with intent to defraud Richard Gosling and others , against the Statute.

2nd COUNT, for feloniously uttering, disposing of, and putting off the said forged endorsement, with a like intent.

3rd and 4th COUNTS, the same, only calling the instrument a warrant for payment of money.

5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th COUNTS, like the four first, only stating his intent to be to defraud Robert Aikman .

Eight other Counts like the first eight Counts, only omitting to set out the instrument.

17th and 18th COUNTS, for forging and uttering a receipt, and calling the instrument an order for payment of money, with intent to defraud Richard Gosling and others.

19th and 20th COUNTS, for forging and uttering a receipt, and calling the instrument a warrant for payment of money, with a like intent.

MESSRS. BODKIN and LEE conducted the Prosecution.

GEORGE STRANGE . I am cashier to Richard Gosling and Benjamin Sharpe , banker s, Fleet-street; there are four partners. In January last, the Marquis of Bristol kept a banking account at our house - I knew the prisoner prior to the 30th of January - he was in the habit of coming to our house sometimes - I recollect his coming on the 30th of January, in the morning, and presenting this note (looking at it) - it was endorsed as it is now when presented -"R. Aickman" was on it; and the endorsement not exactly corresponding with the payee's name, I had some conversation with the prisoner - he stated that it was quite right, that he received it for Mr. Aikman, and that we had orders to pay it, which was true - after that, he stated that some money had been paid to the porter a few days before, and stated the amount - that confirmed my confindence that all was correct - I handed the bill to him, and he wrote on it, "received for," over the endorsement, and "J. Arscott" under it - and, at his representation, I paid him 150l., in Bank notes, and the remaining 34l. 9s. in sovereigns, half-sovereigns, and silver - the Marquis of Bristol had an account at our house at that time.

Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Had you orders to pay that bill of exchange by advice from the Marquis? A. Yes; it was the Marquis's intention to have the money paid to Aikman; but the prisoner said he came from Aikman.

Q. You paid him no money till he gave you that paper with "received for Aickman," &c., on it? A. That was done first - that was a receipt for the money paid him - on the faith of that I paid him.

Q. Not as a Bill of Exchange on the endorsement, as then a man would have written "received" in his own name? A. Yes, that is a discharge for the money he received - the bill is a discharge for the money paid.

MR. BODKIN. Q. I think you said, when it was first tendered to you for payment, it had the endorsement of"R. Aickman" on it, and nothing else? A. Nothing else- Aikman is the name of the payee - I certainly should not have paid it unless it had his name on it - I paid the money on the faith of the endorsement of the payee.

COURT. Q. If the name of Aikman had not been on it, should you have paid it? A. Certainly not.

MR. BODKIN. Q. If Aikman had come himself, and his receipt had been on it, you would have paid it? A. Yes, but if it came from a person whom I did not understand came from him, I should not have paid it.

COURT. Q. If it had been brought to you with the writing on the back, exactly as it is now - if the prisoner had presented it to you with what is written on it now, should you have paid it then? A. Not to a stranger.

Q. As you knew the prisoner, if he had brought it to you already receipted, as it is now, should you have paid it? A. Knowing the prisoner, and having his name on it, probably I should - I should have asked him some questions on it.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Being reminded by the prisoner that you had advice of it from Lord Bristol, should you have hesitated then? A. And knowing the prisoner, I considered I was quite safe.

COURT. Q. You would probably have paid the money, but should have asked him some questions? A. Knowing the prisoner, I should have had no hesitation - I had ad

vice from Lord Bristol - I should not have paid it without an endorsement on it.

Q. If it was presented to you in the form it was presented? A. That depends on whether the payee's name was correct.

Q. Well, but now it has not an endorsement, it says"received for"? A. That is the usual practice when a second party comes for money.

Q. If a stranger receives money on a bill, and brought it in that form, should you not require something more? A. If the payee's name is on the back, and a person receiving it for him - it is the every day practice - if he had received it for himself, he would write his name only - he would then be acting as a principal - the words "received for" were written after it was brought to me.

MR. BODKIN. Q. Was the bill in your possession, had you received it and taken it into possession from the prisoner when it had merely the name of "R. Aickman" on the back? A. Yes - he had parted with it, and I examined it with merely that name on it - it was at my desire that he wrote the rest afterwards - I gave it him for that purpose.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. This man you knew, and he came to the banking-house with the bill, with the name of "R. Aickman" on it? A. Nothing else - he showed it to me in that state - I took it in my hand, and looked at it - I had some difficulty about the " R. Aickman" on the back, not corresponding with the payee's name, and stated it to the prisoner.

Q. Upon that, did he take it from you and write the words constituting the receipt? A. He did - he said, "It is all right, I receive it for Aikman, and you have orders to pay it."

JURY. Q. Had the bill been presented by a stranger, would you have paid it? A. I most likely should have submitted it to the partners, in consequence of the variation in the endorser's name.

COURT. Q. You received and treated it as an endorsement? A. I did, as Aikman's endorsement.

ROBERT AIKMAN. I am a tailor , and live at Roehampton. I worked for the Marquis of Bristol last year - in January last, I had a demand on his lordship for 184l. 9s. - I had delivered my account to the prisoner - (looking at the draft) the endorsement on that order is not my handwriting - there is a "c" in the name Aickman - I do not spell my name so - I never authorized the prisoner nor any other person to endorse the order for me, nor to receive the amount of that draft - the prisoner told me on Saturday, the 1st of February, that the order for the payment of my bill would be up the beginning of next week with the town bills - I called at his lordship's house at Roehampton that morning, 1st of February, and saw the prisoner there - I called on the prisoner on the 5th, as he said it would be up at the beginning of the week, and saw him - (I had not then communicated with Lord Bristol - I did that on the 6th, and was referred to Gosling's) - the prisoner was at first denied to me, but I saw him, and he told me to call next day at twelve o'clock, and I should have my money - I made a communication next day to his lordship at Roehampton - I did not see the prisoner after the 5th of February, till he was taken into custody - I have tried to find him in town, but could not - I went to his lordship's house at Roehampton to find him, three or four times, and called at his lordship's house in St. James's-square, but could get no intelligence of him.

Cross-examined. Q. Was he in the habit of paying you money on account of Lord Bristol before? A. He paid me the Christmas before - he paid me Lord Bristol's cheque then - he knew how I spelt my name - he had a £10 bill of my acceptance, it was due on the 6th of February - I had given it to the prisoner.

COURT. Q. On the 6th of February did he hold a bill of yours? A. He had drawn the bill himself, and I accepted it to accommodate him - I did not owe him the money.

THOMAS HARVEY . I am house-porter to the Marquis of Bristol. In February last, I recollect receiving a direction from the Marquis to see the prisoner at Roehampton - it was on the 8th - I went down to Roehampton in consesequence, but could not find him - I made inquiry also at his lordship's town residence - I was in a public-house that night (the 8th) - I went in, and had been there about five minutes, and the prisoner came in - the moment he saw my face he turned round and went out immediately - I tried to speak to him - I followed him, but could not overtake him - it was very foggy, and I lost sight of him.

Cross-examined. Q. Perhaps you went in the way he did not go? A. I could not see which way he went.

The Most Noble the MARQUIS of BRISTOL. The prisoner was in my employ last year - he ceased to be in my service about November last year; but still continued to live at my house at Roehampton, and was occasionally employed - in January last I was staying in Suffolk; and while there, I received from the prisoner a list of my annual bills in Roehampton and London - I believe this is it - the prisoner was a very short time in my service; but I believe this list to be his handwriting, and am certain I received a list from him (looking at the draft) - this draft is in my own handwriting - after receiving the list, I transmitted that draft to the prisoner with other drafts for different tradesmen - I afterwards received from the prisoner receipts from the different tradesmen to be paid - I was in the habit of sending him a draft for all the bills under £30 in one amount; but for bills above £30 I sent separate drafts for each tradesman to be paid to the parties themselves; and gave my bankers advice of those which were to be paid to the bearer, and of those which were to be paid to particular parties - I have a receipt for this particular amount, which I received from the prisoner - this is it.

MR. AIKMAN re-examined. This receipt is not my handwriting, nor have I any knowledge of it - it is spelt"Aickman" - the endorsement on the bill appears to resemble my handwriting a little - I think the "A" is in the way I generally sign - the prisoner has had an opportunity of seeing me write.

(The Court ruled that the indictment, could not be sustained.) NOT GUILTY .

The prisoner remains to be tried next Session on a fresh indictment.

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