3rd April 1905
Reference Numbert19050403-301
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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301. GUSTAV DE LUSSAN (22) , Forging and uttering an endorse ment on an order for the payment of £14 15s. 6d. with intent to defraud.

MR. HENDERSON Prosecuted.

(The evidence was interpreted where necessary.)

FRENK WALHE . I am cashier to Messrs. Woollans, of Lowndes Terrace, Knightsbridge—on March 10th I drew this cheque for £14 15s. 6d. in favour of Messrs. Whincup & Co.; it is crossed—I enclosed it in an envelope and posted it to 55, Berners Street—it has been paid by our bankers—I never knew the prisoner till after the cheque was returned—we are customers of Messrs, Whincup.

HENRY RYDER SHIPTON . I am manager to Charles Redcliffe Leedham trading as S. Whincup & Co., 55, Berners Street—we did not receive this cheque; it is not endorsed by us—I know nothing of the prisoner—on March 17th Messrs. Woollans & Co. were in our debt to the amount of £14 15s. 6d.

CAMILLO VISCONTI . I am manager to Mrs. Hart, a licensed victualler—I speak French—I am an Italian—I know the prisoner as a customer—I saw him on March 13th, when he came about noon and asked me whether I would like to pass this cheque, dated March 10th, through my bank for him—I said, "I will," thinking I would do a turn to a customer—he told me he was in the motor car business—I passed the cheque through—I did not give the prisoner any money—I had had a previous cheque for £2 9s. 5d. from him, which had come back as the endorsement was irregular, and I asked him where he took this one—he said it was given to his masters by the drawers in the course of business—it went through and J received £14 15s. 6d.—I found out that the cheque was stolen—I stopped payment and informed the police.

FLORENCE TRENCH . I work for Whincup & Co. in Berners Street—at 9 a.m. on March 13th I noticed that the door of their premises was half shut—I saw the prisoner getting letters out of the box—I did not know him—he had no business there—he is not in Messrs. Whincup's employ—I said, "What do you want?"—he said, "Mr. Whincup"—I spoke in English—I got hold of his arm, and held him for a little while, but he struggled and got away—Mrs. Jones came in—I next saw him at Tottenham Court Road police station on the 17th, when I identified him from eight other men—I cannot say what sort of men the others were; I hardly looked at them because I saw the prisoner and recognised him at once—when I was struggling with him he had a letter half out of his pocket—he had not got one in his hand.

EMMA JONES . I work for Messrs. Whincup in Berners Street—on March 13th, about 9 a.m., I went there and saw Florence Trench holding the prisoner behind the door—I went to get help, but when I came back he had gone—I saw him next at Tottenham Court Road police station on March 17th, when I picked him out from others—I am sure he is the man.

ALFRED SCHOLES (Police-Sergeant.) At 12.35 a.m. on March 17th I saw the prisoner in Frith Street, Soho, in conversation with Visconti—I told him I was a police officer and should arrest him for stealing a letter which contained a cheque, from 55, Berners Street—he said something in French which I did not understand—I took him to the station and told him a further charge would be made against him—he can speak English and understood me—I told him he would be charged with uttering a cheque for £14 15s. 6d., knowing the endorsement to be forged—he said in English, "A gentleman gave it to me; I took it to Visconti, who has the money for it in his pocket"—at 1 p.m. that day I showed him the cheque—he said, "That is the cheque, but it is not my writing," pointing to the endorsement—he was afterwards placed with eight others for identification by Sergeant Grey, who speaks French, and I saw him identified by Trench and Jones—they seemed to have no difficulty in identifying

him—they had given an accurate description prior to that of the man who had escaped from the house.

HERBERT GREY (Police-Sergeant). I was at Tottenham Court Road police station on March 17th, when the prisoner was placed among six foreigners and two Englishmen—he was immediately picked out by Visconti and Trench—I explained the charge to him in French—he said in French That he knew it was stolen, and, "I never signed the signature"—I showed him the endorsement.

The prisoner's statement before the Magistrate: "I reserve my defence."

The prisoner, in his defence on oath, said that he was employed for seven months by a Mr. Gillia, where he met a man, Leon Nepell, who had no profession, but was well known to Visconti, and who had on previous occasions entrusted him with cheques to change; that Leon asked him to change the cheque for £14 15s. 6d. with Visconti; that Leon said it came from clients of his, but he (the prisoner) had suspicions that it must be stolen, as he knew Leon did not work.

CAMILLO VISCONTI (Re-examined.) There were also cheques for £2 5s. and £4 10s.—I went to the owners of the £2 5s. cheque and they told me the endorsement was forged—the £4 10s. cheque went through and the prisoner had the money—I do not know if it was forged or not.

GUILTY of uttering . It was stated that Leon was an associate of the prisoner's, and was wanted by the police. Fifteen months' hard labour.

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