5th March 1906
Reference Numbert19060305-40
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

ROBERTS, Charles Barber (46, joiner) . Being adjudged bankrupt, not discovering to his trustee how and to whom and for what consideration and when he disposed of part of his property, such part not having been disposed of in the ordinary way of trade or laid out in the ordinary expenses of his family; and not delivering up to the trustee certain property relating to his affairs; within four months next before the presentation of a bankruptcy petition against him, being a trader, did dispose of otherwise than in the ordinary way of trade, certain property obtained on credit and not paid for; making a transfer of certain of his property with intent to defraud his creditors; concealing and removing part of his property to the value of £10 and upwards.

Mr. A. E. Gill, Mr. Graham Campbell and Air. Arnold Ward prosecuted; Mr. Angus Campbell defended.

FREDERICK CHARLES MACKRELL , usher and office keeper of Wandsworth County Court. I produce the file in bankruptcy of prisoner, described in the petition as Charles Barber Roberts and Co., of Totterdown Fields Estate. Tooting. The petition

was presented on 26th February, 1904; the receiving order made on 17th. March; the adjudication on 22nd April.

WILLIAM GEORGE STAPLETON , shorthand, writer, I was present at the Wandsworth County Court when prisoner's public examination was taken and took shorthand notes. I dictated a transcript of the shorthand notes, examined the transcript, and initialled each page. The transcript is on the file and is correct.

EDWARD EBENEZER ALEXANDER , clerk to Hubbard, Son, and Eve, solicitors to the London and South Western Bank I produce the writ, dated 6th October, 1903, in an action by the L. and S.W. Bank against prisoner. The claim is on four promissory notes of £1,500 each, dated February 3rd, 1903, payable on demand. I alto produce the judgment, dated 22nd January, 1904, the amount being £6,000 and £4 14s. costs, prisoner not having delivered any defence.' That judgment remains unsatisfied.

Cross-examined. An execution was put in and withdrawn by arrangement.

Re-examined. After it had been withdrawn it was put in again.

JOSEPH GEO. BARR , in the employ of Messrs. Murray and Co., Rolls Chambers, Chancery Lane, Bailiffs to the Sheriff of Surrey. I went into possession of "Moira," Queen's Road, Wellington, on January 23rd, 1904, to levy execution in respect of a judgment obtained by the L. and S.W. Bank against prisoner. I produce the authority under the seal of the Sheriff of Surrey. I remained in until the 25th, when I was withdrawn by wire. I never saw prisoner there. I remember looking into an outhouse or stable and seeing some brass and iron ware in boxes, locks, and various things that would be used by builders in fitting up houses.

PERCY BRABY , of Messrs. Braby and Maodonald, solicitors. I acted at solicitor to Mr. Bowner, trustee of prisoner's bankruptcy. I produce an office copy of a bill of sale given on 10th February, 1904, and purporting to be ait absolute bill of sale by prisoner to Ada Coley of the household goods, furniture, fittings, horses, carriages, and effects at Moira, Wallington, for £250, the payment of which is acknowledged. The execution purported to be attested by Harold A. Whitfield, solicitor. I produce the office copy of the affidavit of the solicitor filed with the bill of sale. On behalf of Mr. Bourner I took steps to contest the bill of sale. I wrote to Ada Coley making that claim in April, 1904. An order was eventually made for the examination of Ada Coley in the Bankruptcy Court. On February 13th, 1905, the Judge declared the bill of sale void, and ordered what was referred to in the bill of sale To be given up to the trustee at once. I was present in Court, as were also the prisoner and Ada Coley. On the same day I took steps to recover the furniture, and gave instruction

to Mr. H. W. Smith, an auctioneer. I subsequently received a communication from Mr. Smith, and wrote to prisoner on February 17th. Acting upon my instructions Mr. Smith took possession of the furniture at "The Mount" Kitchener Road, Thornton Heath, and the proceeds of the sale have been paid over to the trustee. After the seizure a Mrs. Healey laid claim to the whole of the goods, which we opposed. We started an independent motion against her, and she opposed our proceedings. Mrs. Healey produced no documentary evidence in support of her claim. Statements were put in saying that certain things belonged to her under certain titles, but they were all in her handwriting or the bankrupt's. In April an order was made clearing the title of the trustee to the property. I also acted on behalf of the trustee in some interpleader proceedings with regard to the proceed of carts and horses sold at the Elephant and Castle repository. An action was commenced in the High Court by Ada Coley against the proprietor of the repository, and ultimately we made a claim in the same action, and an interpleader issue was directed as between Ada Coley and the trustee. Judgment was ultimately given for the trustee, no evidence being adduced in support of the claim. Prisoner was called upon to deliver an account of moneys received and dealt with after January 8th. The account produced purports to be a cash account from 18th August to 17th March, and purports to show a receipt of £75 from Ada Coley for horses and carts, £250 from the bill of sale, and £167 12s. 10d. from the London County Council clerk of works; total, £492 12s. 10d. The other side of the account purports to show how that was disposed of: personal expenses, £125; wages on contracts, £180; legal and accountants' costs in respect of Bankruptcy proceedings, £75; counsel, solicitor, and witnesses' expenses in an action brought by U. Gurney, High Street, Tottenham, approximately £11; total, £490. We pressed prisoner for vouchers of these receipts and payments, but he never gave any information which would enable us to trace the £75 and the £250 alleged to have been received by him.

Cross-examined. I have not considered the point whether if prisoner had not been bankrupt he could have claimed this property from Miss Coley on the ground that the bill of sale was void. The bill of sale has only been declared void as against the trustee. The matter of consideration was not gone into; the bill being declared void on the ground that it was conditional though the form was absolute; it was unnecessary to go any farther. The suggestion that this was a fraudulent transaction was not an afterthought. The trustee got the proceeds of the sale at the Elephant and Castle Repository. I am aware that Miss Coley and the prisoner have both said throughout that these horses and carts were sold to Miss. Coley before

the bankruptcy, and if that were so, prisoner would have nothing to do with these horses and carts at the time they were sent to the repository. I know nothing of prisoner having, been financed by the bank. As to the denial that the furniture at The Mount was the furniture claimed in the bill of sale, it was, I believe, suggested that there were also other things at The Mount. Mrs. Healey claimed a great part of the furniture as having been sold to her by Miss Coley. It was not finally decided that the furniture at The Mount was the property of the trustee until 3rd April. I consider the furniture was the property of prisoner, seeing that we have succeeded in establishing a title to it. When application was made for further accounts, the Registrar expressed the opinion that the bankrupt had done his best.

ARTHUR HENRY Moon, clerk to H. W. Smith, auctioneer, Great James Street: On 15th February, 1905, by Mr. Smith's, instructions I went to The Mount, Thornton Heath, accompanied by William Bellhouse and Joseph John Knight for the purpose of taking possession of certain furniture there on behalf of the trustee, Mr. Bourner. The door was opened by Miss Jane Lawson, the prisoner's niece. Mrs. Healy afterwards appeared on the scene. I had considerable difficulty in getting into the house. The women resisted my efforts to get in. The-door was open and I had my foot on the mat, and they tried to push me out. Through the glass panel I noticed what appeared to be the arm of a man outstretched against the door. When we. got into the hall I saw prisoner. I asked him his name. He made no reply, but said he was there representing the ladies. I told him I had come on behalf the trustee to take possession of certain furniture which had been removed from "Moira," and asked if he would show me round the house and point out that furniture to me. He refused. I left Knight and Bell-house in possession, and next day returned with another possession man named Prince. I could not obtain admission to the rooms on that occasion and went again on 23rd February. The men had been in possession in the meantime. I served notices upon two of the ladies, Mist Coley land Mrs. Healey on behalf of the trustee. Prisoner was present, and remarked that if the women allowed the furniture to be removed they would lose their home. The ladies refused to serve me with particulars of their claims, and next day I took steps to remove the furniture On my way to the house I was handed a claim of Mrs. Healey, stating that the furniture was her absolute property, but not a detailed claim such as had been asked for, setting out the circumstances under which she claimed. The furniture was removed in vans to Mr. Smith's auction rooms. I made a list of the goods removed.

Cross-examined: I had a letter of authority from Messrs. Braby and Macdonald, portions of which I read to prisoner.

My instructions were to remove the whole of the goods. Prisoner did not say it was his house. He said he was there to protect the ladies.

Re-examined: The part of the letter I read was the solicitor's advice to take possession, and put two men in.

JOSEPH JOHN KNIGHT , 66 New Crawford Street, Soho. On 5th February, 1905, I accompanied Moon to take possession of some furniture at "The Mount" After Moon went Bell-house and I had to stop in the passage because we were not allowed to go into any of the rooms. Prisoner advised the two women to turn us out, and said he would get us out somehow or another if he had to wash us out. I had some dirty water thrown over me from the upstairs landing. When I made an attempt to get into the rooms to take an inventory a glass was thrown at me by one of the women. Prisoner did not do anything beyond advising. He once took off his coat and said he could fight me if the two women could get rid of the other man. I had my hat broken by the woman I knew as Miss Coley. One night when prisoner came home he held a lighted lamp in front of me and said if he could not wash me out he would burn me out. We had a very uncomfortable time. I was there nine days. All day long we spent in the hall and two nights. On the first day we were not allowed to have a chair. The first night I spent on the door mat and the other nights in the drawing-room.

Cross-examined. In my experience of these cases the ladies give more trouble than the men, but both they and the prisoner caused a lot of annoyance. Application was made to the Judge to commit prisoner, but he refused to do so.

SAMUEL FORD , furniture packer, 62 White Hone Lane, Norwood, employed by Mr. Eve, furniture remover. On 24th December, 1904, I went by instructions to "Moira." Queen's Road, Wallington, and took a load of furniture from the house to "The Mount," Thornton Heath.

RICHARD KEMPSON , assistant bailiff. In the beginning of 1904 I was in the employ of Messrs. Murray and Co., and on 10th February I went into possession of "Moira." I showed prisoner the warrant and he said he thought the matter would be settled. I remained in possession down to 26th March, nearly six weeks. I used to go home to sleep. One morning I noticed a lot of straw and stuff about as if something had been removed from the stables or the loft. I found at the police station that something had been removed the night before about 10 o'clock.

Cross-examined. No one was left in charge when I went away to sleep. I had no difficulty in getting in again. After the things were removed I had some one in, and we stayed day and night.

GEORGE STEWART , manager of the London Horse Repository

at the Elephant and Castle. On 11th February, 1904, I sold five horses and four carts, and on 15th February two horses, a van, three carts, and some harness, in the name of Mr. Mearles, Childebert Road, Balham. The name on the carts was C. B. Roberts. After the sale of the first lot I received a notice from the L. and S.W. Bank, and in consequence I did not pay Mearles, as in the ordinary case I should, three days after the sale. Eventually, under an order of the Court, the money was handed over to Mr. Bourner, the trustee. The amount realised was about £150. Mearles said that sale was under a bill of sale, which he produced.

GEOGE ENDICOTT , wheelwright, Upper Tooting. I am a creditor in prisoner's bankruptcy. My claim includes £18 for a new tip cart, which I sold to him on credit on 30th October, 1903.

Cross-examined. Mr. Roberts ordered the cart. I stated at the police court that prisoner had complained of Mr. Gurney ordering these two carts without his authority. Prisoner was not in the least anxious to take the cart, as he already had one. The cart was ordered some five months before it was delivered.

Re-examined. Before I delivered the cart I spoke to prisoner about it, and he told me to finish it, but I need not hurry.

RICHARD FIRMAN . I am a carman in the defendant's employment in 1904. I remember receiving an order from Mr. Mearles with reference to some ironmongery, but I cannot fix the date. In consequence of that order I took my van to the store-house just outside Totterdown Fields. I loaded the van with ironmongery and parcels. Two other carts were similiarly employed at the same time. Mr. Mearles was there when I loaded up, and I saw prisoner go into the office. I was ordered to go to Redhill, but at Parley I was overtaken by the office boy on a bicycle, who told me to turn back and take the things to King Street, Croydon. Mearles was prisoner's manager. Mr. Mearles told me on the telephone to stop there that night and ring him up the next morning. That night I went home and the next day I went back to Croydon and spoke to Mr. Mearles on the telephone, and in consequence of what he said we took the van and cart on to Queen's Road, Wallingion. There I saw Mrs. Roberts. I again rang Mr. Mearles of on the telephone, and in Consequence of what he said I took the stuff back to Croydon Again. The van and the carts remained there that night. Next day I again spoke to Mr. Mearles on the telephone, and in consequence of his orders I took it back to Wallington again, where I unloaded it and put the stuff in the loft of the defendant's stables. I remember getting an order two or three weeks afterwards to take some horses and vans to the Elephant and Castle Repository; there were three horses, one van, and two carts.

Cross-examined. Prisoner had a place of business at Redhill, a house, a big yard, saw-mills, and stores.

To the Court. There were a van and two carts full of this ironmongery.

Re-examined. No explanation was given to me by Mr. Mearles for the orders under which three men were three days moving this ironmongery from Totterdown Fields to "Moira," Queen's Road, Wallington.

JAMES HENRY TARRY , 27, Moreing Road, Tooting. I was formerly employed as storekeeper by prisoner at Totterdown Fields. I left his service about February 8th, 1904. At that time there was no ironmongery in store, except a few oddments—nothing to speak of. There had been some, but it was taken away by Firmin. Prisoner was about the place when it was taken away.

Cross-examined. It never occurred to me to ask prisoner if it was all right about moving this stuff. It was my duty to do as I was told by Mr. Mearles, the manager. I do not know that anything was said about a new place being made for it. I cannot say whether prisoner knew anything about it. Some of these goods were damaged goods that the County Council had refused to accept for their work on the Totterdown estate. When I left that job was still unfinished.

Re-examined. There was nothing to prevent prisoner seeing the removal of these goods upon that day. I am not able to tell what proportion of these goods had been damaged.

JOHN PATTENDEN (P.C. 302 W). I remember the night of February 29th, 1904. I was on duty in Manor Road, Wallington. I saw a van turn out of Queen's Road into Manor Road about ten at night I stopped the van and took the name and address of the driver and owner of the van. The name on the van was Albert Forwood, 501, York Road, Wandsworth. I got on the wheel and saw that the van contained three large cases, which appeared to be heavy judging from the way the horses were drawing. I asked the driver where he had got the stuff from, and he said from round the corner. I asked him if he would go with me as far as the corner of Queen's Road and Manor Road. At the corner I saw prisoner, who asked the carman what was the matter. The carman replied that the policeman was not satisfied as to where he got this stuff. Prisoner then said, "That's all right; you have got it from my place." Prisoner then went back to "Moira," and entered the house.

Cross-examined. The man I stopped and spoke to appeared to me to be heavier than the defendant. (Daniel Roberts, defendant's son, was called into court.) That is not the man who spoke to me. I had seen prisoner before, but not to notice him particularly. I made a report of the goods being removed.

GEORGE WHITFIELD FOSTER , of Mr. A. Forwood's. About the

end of February, 1904, we received an order for sending out a van. I saw the van next day with some ironmongery in it, and that ironmongery is still in our possession. We were subsequently rung up on the telephone by a firm of solicitors, who made a communication respecting it. Mr. Yerbury afterwards called and saw it. When the ironmongery was stored at the yard I had no name given with it.

THOMAS WILLIAM HATTON , carman to Mr. Forwood. I remember early in 1904 being sent out, by Mr. Foster with another carman named Hilton with a van. We filled up at Tooting Broadway and proceeded to Wellington according to orders. I could not swear whether I saw the defendant there. (Daniel Roberts was again brought into court.) That is not the man I saw; it was a much older man. At that house we loaded up some ironmongery, think, which was in the, coach-house or the stables, and after that we drove away to our warehouse. I remember being stopped by P.C. Paitenden, and I remained in charge of the van while Hilton and the constable went back. Hilton came beck and said, "It is all right, drive on.' The person we met at Tooting Broadway gave us instructions.

Cross-examined. I will not be certain that I saw prisoner at any time that night. The man I saw I took to be the occupier. I naturally thought it wise a moonlight flitting.

EDWARD HILTON , carman to Mr. Forwood. I remember being sent out with Hatton one night in February, 1904. We went to Tooting; Broadway and then to a house at Wellington, where I saw a gentleman and two or three women. I assisted in loading up the van with the goods. They were brass house fittings as near as I could see. We then drove away, and I remember being stopped by the constable. I went back to the house and there saw the man that helped me load up. He spoke to the constable and then he drove away. I do not remember that the man gave him any instructions whatever.

JOHN EDWIN YERBURY , surveyor, 3, Queen Street, Cheapside. I remember going to York Road, Wandsworth, and making an inventory, which I dated December, 1905. Mr. Foster there showed me some ironmongery in 3 cases, and 2 of the men helped me to set it out so that I could count it and make the inventory. (Produced.) The total value was £56 15s. 6d. I should say that the ironmongery I saw could easily be carted in one van. The value of the ironmongery required to load, 2 carts and a van would in my opinion be about, £168 and would weigh about 3 tons. I was concerned with prisoner's affairs long before the bankruptcy. I assisted Mr. Bourner either in advising or keeping a check on prisoner for the benefit of the L. and S.W. Bank, and I inspected his works and his stock at various times. I cannot tell what the deficiency in prisoner's bankruptcy was, but the stock would no doubt have been very

much more valuable to use in building than sold under a bankruptcy. I cannot say that, if the bank had displayed a little more patience prisoner might not perfectly well have carried out his contract and paid the bank off. I think the bank was very patient, and I do not think this is a fair question for me to answer. I cannot say I think the bank lost far more by stopping the prisoner than they would have done by allowing him to go on. The stock claimed by the London County Council was handed over to the trustee and sold by him. An arrangement was made by which the contract should be completed, and the County Council handed the goods over to the trustee and it was sold. Some, portion of the ironmongery and certain of the goods had been condemned by the County Council.

Re-examined. I wrote to prisoner expressing surprise that he had started the Fountain Hospital contract on September 14th. The bank had not agreed to finance him in regard to that contract. The bank had asked me to make a preliminary report to them, and I think had come to the conclusion that they would help him with, that contract as well as with the Totter down contract, provided my report was a favourable one, but when I got to the job I found that the work was started and I went away rather annoyed, as prisoner had started the work before the bank had come to a definite decision. In the end the bank did consent to finance it.

WILLIAM CHALWIN , assistant to Messrs. Randall and Co., estate agents, Ilford. In May, 1905, I had the letting of No. 55, Wanstead Park Road. I recognise prisoner, who called upon me to point out that the water was not connected. That was after the house had been let. The name of the tenant was Charles Roberts. The letting agreement was prepared in our office. I think I interviewed prisoner five or six times, and once when I went to the house he let me in. That is the only Mr. Roberts I ever saw. He said he was brother to the tenant.

Cross-examined. I should hardly let a house to a lady in her own name. The lady might really have been the tenant of the house, but we wanted a man's name in the lease.

STANLEY DAVIS , inspecting engineer, 53, Wanstead Park Road. My house is next door to No. 55. I have seen prisoner entering and leaving that house. I cannot remember the dates when I first saw him; it is too long back, but I think it was in the summer of 1905. I have seen him in the garden once or twice in the early morning, walking about in his slippers.

BENJAMIN ROBINSON (D.S, K Division, West Ham). I remember the 12th October last year. On that day I went to 55, Wanstead Park Road and when into all the rooms. I found a number of burnt articles, and in the front room downstairs I saw a quantity of books and papers relating to

business affairs. I removed two letter books and a diary, and took them to the police station at Ilford. There were a number of assessors in the house from the various assurance companies, there having been an alleged fire.

Cross-examined. I brought away those three books because I thought they would be material to this case. I did not examine the others with any care.

JOHN WILLIAM GREIG , Clerk to the Trustee in Bankruptcy. I went to Stratford on the 17th October, and from there to 55, Wanstead Park Road. I there took possession, of 23 books, a list of which is produced. All of them; I think, are connected with prisoner's business. In addition to the books I found a letter dated January 25th, 1904, from Mr. Woodham to the Architect of the London County Council. I also found a list of ironmongery at Wallington amounting to £266 9s. 3d.

Cross-examined. I do not know of my own knowledge that any or all of these books have not been examined on behalf of the Official Receiver. I know they were not marked by him. He has nothing in his list of books to show that these books were ever in his possession. The Official Receiver is supposed to take possession of all books and papers. I have been 15 years in an Official Receiver's office, and that has always been our rule.

HAROLD EDWIN FOSTER . I produce a statement signed by prisoner with regard to the books and papers in his possession, dated March 17th, 1904, the date of the receiving order. These books were handed over by him to the Official Receiver. When the trustee was appointed in April, 1904, the books and papers in the possession of the Official Receiver were handed over to him.

ARTHUR CHARLES BOURNER , chartered accountant. I was appointed trustee of prisoner's estate on April 18th, 1904. I had previously been advising the L and S-W. Bank in connection with advances to prisoner. He carried on business as a builder and contractor at Totterdown Fields and Monson Road, Redhill, but he really had no work at Redhill after he got the work from the County Council. He had what was really a permanent office at Totterdown Fields which, of course, was a big contract. He never delivered up the furniture snd effects at "Moira," nor handed over any money paid to him in respect of that furniture under the Bill of Sale. The proceeds of the sale of the horses, and carts was paid to me as the result of an interpleader action. I periodically went over the assets with him. Amongst them was a quantity of iron-mongery at Wallington amounting to £266 9s. 3d., which was the figure he gave me in January, 1904. I think that was iron-mongery condemned by the London County Council, and it had figured in the list of assets for about 5 months. Prisoner has

never explained what became of that, and it was never handed over. He has never accounted for any ironmongery or the proceeds of ironmongery removed from Totterdown Fields in January, 1904. The contract at Totterdown Fields was for the erection of 300 cottages for the County Council, and the amount was £66, 000. The ironmongery found at Mr. Forwood's ware-house came to my knowledge some time in May, 1904. Only one of the books found at 55. Wandsworth Park Road had been in the possession of the Official Receiver and had gone back. The books found there were, material to the examination of the defendant's affairs.

(Thursday, 8th March.)

ARTHUR CHARLES BOURNER , further examined. The admitted proofs were. £16,024 6s. 5d., and the assets realised £3,576 10s. 8d., leaving a deficiency of £12, 447 15s. 9d. According to the statement of affairs, the L. and S.W. Bank are returned as creditors for £14, 864 6s. 3d., with security valued at £14, 110, leaving a deficiency of £754. The bankers have proved for approximately £15.000, and the security has realised under £10, 000, leaving a deficiency approximately of £5,000. I remember being cross-examined at the Police Court with reference to the alleged, payment of £75 by Miss Coley for the horses and carts, and I remember this question being put: "Would you be surprised to learn that Miss Coley at that time had a considerable balance at the bank?" There was a balance at the time at the London and Provincial Bank of £140 10s. 10d. in favour of Mrs. Roberts, and prisoner told me that the Mrs. Roberts then referred to was the same as Ada Coley. I was brought in to advise the L. and S.W. Bank in their relations with prisoner about February, 1903, and from time to time I saw prisoner in connection with advances the bank were making for the purpose of carrying out the contract with the London County Council at Totterdown, known as Section A. He spoke on the subject of being allowed to enter into other contracts and the bank financing other contracts, and I think I told him to consult the bank. On September 11th, 1903, I wrote to him calling his attention to the fact that his indebtedness to the bank was no less than £12,016. It first came to my knowledge that he was doing a contract for the Metropolitan Asylums Board in October of that year, and upon the 9th of October I wrote to him: "I learn that you have been engaged upon the Fountain Hospital for nearly a month" and that material had been sent on to the site to the amount of nearly £800. The bank had not authorized prisoner to use any money advanced by them on this contract down to the first week in October. The wages book produced from the 28th of August, 1903, was disclosed, and, turning to September 11th. there is nothing in the entries

of the wages showing that money had been spent on the Fountain Hospital. The total wages for that week are £301 6s. 6 1/2 d., said to have been expended on Section A and the intermediate section. The intermediate section was a branch of the first contract, Section A, which the bank was financing. The wages book that was not disclosed purporting to cover the same period showed the same total of wages, but that a portion of that was applied in building the Fountain Hospital The figures are the same in both books, but one apparently attributes the payment of wages to the work of the County Council, while the other shows that a portion of the money was expended in connection with the Fountain Hospital. The bank acquiesced in the decision, to finance him over the Fountain Hospital after it was discovered in October that he was doing the work. In December he entered into a third contract, Section B. In November I wrote to him informing him that the bankers had been informed that he had signed the contract with, the London County Council for the erection of 400 cottages at Tooting, and on the 27th November he wrote saying "here is no truth in the report that I've signed a contract for a further 400 houses with the L.C.C. or signed any contract at all since the Fountain Hospital contract. I shall most-certainly keep my promise to you and the bank re any further contracts." Notwithstanding that, prisoner signed a contract with the L.C.C. for Section B on December 9. That fact came to my knowledge some time in January, 1904, and upon that the bank declined to advance any further money to him and the action for the recovery of £6,000 on the promissory notes was proceeded with.

Cross-examined. I heard of the bill of sale almost as soon as it was registered. I have never suggested there was any concealment about it. The bill of sale was impugned as not being a genuine transaction. The list of the ironmongery was amongst the papers found at 55, Wanstead Park Road. I knew of the ironmongery at Wellington in 1903. Prisoner furnished me with the information, and put the total value of the ironmongery at £266 9s. 3d. I should not think much of it had been used in connection with various works, as it had been condemned by the London County Council. My solicitor advised me that the bill of sale on the furniture at "Moira" did not cover the ironmongery, though no doubt it may have been intended to by prisoner, who might honestly have believed that it did. The date of the act of bankruptcy was February 11th, and the bill of sale was given the day before. The act of bankruptcy was that the Sheriff had been in possession for twenty-one days. There was no other act of bankruptcy. The bank had to make one in order to get him into the Bankruptcy Court. Assuming the bill of sale was valid, that consideration passed, and that everything was properly carried out, the furniture did not belong to

prisoner on February 11th, but I am afraid I cannot reconcile myself to the assumption. I do not believe in the transaction. The Sheriff was in possession for twenty-one days with the deliberate object of getting an act of bankruptcy. I think the bill of sale was a sham bill of sale. The question of its shamness does not affect me. I was acting as trustee for all the creditors, and it was in the interest of all the creditors that the bank should put this man in the Bankruptcy Court. My first connection with the bank was in February, 1903. Prisoner then owed the bank some £3,000. He wanted to be financed for the Section A contract, and the bank consulted me on the subject, and, after taking advice myself, I advised the bank that it was better to carry out the contract. On the information furnished me I was of opinion prisoner was solvent. I did not think it was good business for the bank to finance him, but I thought that it would minimise the loss they would otherwise make. By closing the account in January, 1904, they made a very much larger loss. That was not the result of the bank following my advice, but owing to prisoner having entered into Section B contract and the Metropolitan Asylums contract without authority. The Fountain Hospital contract was completed by the Metropolitan Asylums Board, who would not even allow the bank to complete it. The bank refused to finance Section B contract. They did not refuse to finance the Fountain Hospital contract; they were not asked. They were not prepared to enter into any further contracts. They thought at first prisoner was a "straight" man; so did I; but it was not "straight" conduct to take the money of the bank and go on with the Metropolitan Asylums Board contract, nor was it "straight" conduct to enter into Section B contract after the bank had refused. The bank, having refused, had, of course, no right to complain of his going elsewhere for assistance. I think they had a right to complain if he sold his horses for £75 and his furniture for £250 and used the money for Section B contract as the bank had gone out of possession at "Moira" owing to his pleading. If they had not gone out of possession the furniture could not possibly have gone to Miss Ada Goley. When I was called in about £20, 000 of work had been done on Section A contract; therefore, there was roughly £50, 000 of work to be done, and the bank found such money as was necessary. As the County Council paid on the certificates of the architect, the money went to the credit of the bank. I complained at the police court that prisoner had over-estimated his stock. I do not agree that the chief cause of this large deficiency was the suddenness with which the bank came down and sold him up. The ironmongery at Forwood's I kept as tangible evidence. It is valued at £56, but I do not suppose it would realise a tithe of that, as it is special goods made for the County Council work. I believe there is £1,000 worth of ironmongery that I cannot

trace anywhere. I do not remember that it was suggested that I should get possession of prisoner's books through the London County Council, who were in the possession of the Totterdown Fields office. I do not know that it was in May, 1905, that the County Council locked him out of that office. I was under the impression that he sold off all the stock in May, 1904, about a month after I was appointed. One of the wages books was found at 55, Wanstead Park Road, which appears to have been practically prisoner's own house. There was no necessity for two wages books. The books were kept by prisoner's clerks. It is not usual for book-keepers to take the books home with them; it is not often done in my experience, and I consider it a dangerous thins to do. I should think a lady book-keeper would be less likely than anyone else to take them home because, as a rule, when she leaves the office the lady book-keeper had had quite as much as she wants for the day. She is not sufficiently interested in the business to work at home. The writing in the book found at 55, Wanstead Park Road does not look like a lady's. The indebtedness to the bank at the time I came in to advise was £3,000, and, if prisoner had been made bankrupt at the time, the security of the bank would have all gone. In the case of a contract for £50, 000 the certificates would have been of no value whatever, and the retention money would have been forfeited. I cannot say it would have been imprudent for the bank to put a stop to the contract at that time; it was considered desirable at the time to let the prisoner go on. Section A and the Fountain Hospital contract were supposed to be finished on December 31, 1903, and I made a note in my book at the time on the information supplied by prisoner of what was required to complete them. These contracts were not finished because prisoner deceived us. He told me early in January, 1904, that it was a matter of about £400 to complete both contracts. Neither the London County Council nor the Metropolitan Asylums Board would allow us to finish the contract, but they handed over the balance that was due, the contract being completed at substantially the same price. That the bank made a greater lose through continuing to finance prisoner was not due to any advice of mine. I think it is a very bad business contracting for the County Council. I have a very poor opinion of the London County Council, and when I advised the bank to support the man who was doing it, it was a question of doing what was best under difficult circumstances. The methods of doing business of the London County Council are very objectionable. They do not do business on business lines. So far from the result of the Council not doing business on business lines being that the contractors get more profit, I think they often come to the Bankruptcy Court through the County Council officials. I have my own views—

strong views—as to the officials of the London County Council and the bankrupt in this case. I do not ascribe the bankruptcy to prisoner not having been dealt with on business lines, but to his acting in defiance of what the bank said, and to there being no probability of his completing the contract entered into for £126, 000 (Section B). Section B contract contributed to the bankruptcy because, immediately it was signed, prisoner handed over to the County Council all the free property and stock, which was a considerable sum. It is true we got that back eventually after I had taken up a pretty strong position, but there was some hundreds of pounds worth of material put on to the site that we did not get back, and that the new contractors had the benefit of. Work was done by prisoner in excavating, for which we did not get payment. To give an instance of the business methods of the County Council, when a man enters into a contract, he expects, as a business man, to be paid on the architect's certificate at the end of the month, but the County Council keep him waiting another month; that means two months. That means that a man must have double the capital he would otherwise need to carry out a contract. I call that unbusiness like conduct on the part of the Council. It may be said that was prisoner's misfortune and the bank's misfortune, but in the case of the first contract he did not know what he was entering into. He signed for the Section B contract on December 9th, 1903, but the bank did not proceed against him until the middle of January, 1904, because they did not know, nor did I know, that he had been using the bank's money on this Section B contract I do not agree that the only money he had been using upon it was money he obtained from Ada Coley and from other sources. The clerk who examined the wages sheet struck out every, week between October and December, 1903, a number of items which had reference to Section B, and that is how we came to find out about the contract. We then, of course, came to the conclusion that prisoner was a thoroughly wrong man, and we acted accordingly. Prior to that we did not examine the wages and time sheets. Our firm was simply acting as auditors to prisoner, and it was no part of our duty as auditors to examine his wages sheets. Up to that time, on the best information we could get (which I am putting now as false) we had satisfied ourselves that Roberts was solvent and in a position to carry out this contract and to pay the bank what he owed. Of the deficiency of £10, 000, I do not think all went in Section B. I suppose some of it has gone to Miss Ada Coley. £4,000 of the loss may, I think, be attributed to Section B. I have endeavoured to be fair and just all the way through. As to the suggestion that if Roberts had been given a chance he would never have been insolvent, he was given more than a chance. He was given every chance up to October, 1903,

and he was only treated as a suspicious man between October, 1903, and December, 1903. I then formed the conclusion that he was a rogue, and from that time he has been treated as a rogue.

Re-examined. Mr. Yerbury reported in October, 1903, that the Asylums contract was a, good and profitable one, and could be completed at the same time as the other contract (Section A), and Mr. Yerbury advised the bank that it was a case where they might overlook what prisoner had done and give him another chance. The bank showed him every consideration, and he made no complaint against the bank in any of his letters. When in January, 1904, the bank discovered that he had entered into Section B contract, they had no alternative except to finance him or make him bankrupt. The bank, of course, need not themselves have made him bankrupt, but they did it under my advice. Prisoner never said that other people would advance him the money to undertake Section B. He tried and I tried for him to get other people to do it, without success. He had no prospect of carrying out Section B contract unless the L. and S.W. Bank acquiesced in what had taken place in September. A book found at Wanstead dealing with variations in the contracts with the London County Council was of importance in settling with the London County Council. Another book found there showed the measurements upon which prisoner periodically got certificates. The ironmongery at Wallington, valued at £266 9s. 3d., was included by prisoner as part of his assets when he was negotiating these advances and also in January, 1904. None of that ironmongery was used in the Fountain Hospital contract, which was a totally different thing.

Further cross-examined. I did not ask prisoner for these books specifically, as I did not know of them. We asked him for all his books. He was asked in the Public Examination if he had handed over all his books, and he said he had I went personally to Totterdown Fields to inspect the books immediately the County Council gave me possession.

JAMES ROWLANDS , ledger clerk, London and Provincial Bank, Wallington. I produce a certified copy of the account of Mrs. Ada Roberts,"Moira," Queen's Road, Wallington. The account was entered on January 18th, 1904, and the copy produced goes down to March 31st. No such sums as £250 and £75 have been withdrawn at any time. The balance on February 11th was £140 10s., and on March 31st, £8 9s. 4d. The account was opened with a cheque for £137 12s. 10d., dated January 13th, 1904, drawn in favour of Roberts by the County Council, and £30 cash. Two of the payments out were in the name of Roberts and two in the name of Emanuel.

JOHN EDWIN YERBURY , recalled. I have examined the list of ironmongery at Wallington and checked the figures, which

appear to be correct, with the exception of the last two items. The japanned buttons are taken at 1s. 6d. each; but they would not be anything like that price.

Cross-examined. I think Mr. Roberts told me that the ironmongery at Wallington, had been taken from the yard at Totterdown. With the exception of the japanned buttons the items in the Wallington list correspond with the items that were at Totterdown.

MR. ANGUS CAMPBELL submitted, on the authority of Regina v. Thomas Creese (L.R., 2, Crown Cases Reserved, p. 105) that, so far as goods comprised in the bill of sale were concerned, there was no case to go to the jury. If the entering into this bill of sale was a criminal act, it could only have become criminal by virtue of the subsequent bankruptcy. There was no evidence to show that it was criminal at the time. As between Ada Coley and prisoner the furniture, etc., comprised in the bill of sale was Ada Coley's property from the moment the bill of sale was signed and registered—in fact, before registration.

JUDGE LUMLEY SMITH held that the question must go to the jury, the view of the prosecution being that this was not a real sale but a gift praotically by prisoner to himself.

DANIEL KOBERTS . (Prisoner on oath.) My name is Daniel Roberts, trading as Charles Barber Roberts. I set up in business as builder in 1901 with a capital of about £2,000. I borrowed £1,500 of Ada Coley; I had £500 or £600 of my own, and £100 I borrowed of a man named Luther Smith, a joiner. I gave Miss Coley an I.O.U., which I believe is in the hands of the trustees solicitors. I asked for it at the police court. When Ada Coley was making her claim she had to send the original I.O.U. I began to do business with the London County Council in the latter part of 1901 or the commencement of 1902. That was a contract to build houses for £66, 000 in four groups, A, B, C, and D, at Totterdown Fields, Tooting. Previously I had been doing work at Red Hill, Merstham, and various places in a small way of business. I asked permission of the County Council to build shops and offices at Totterdown, and they granted it to me free of charge, as I thought it better to be on the spot than to have to remove materials from Red Hill. When I obtained the contract I was living at Red Hill, but removed then to "Moira," Queen's Road, Wallington. Some part of the furniture was brought from Red Hill. Other furniture Mrs. Roberts bought to suit the requirements of the house, which was larger than the one at Red Hill. Mrs. Roberts is the same person as has been spoken of as Ada Coley. I managed the business myself for a few months; afterwards my manager was Urban Gurney, whom I got rid of in consequence of complaints by the Connty Council that he was not competent. Mr. Mearles, who had been my surveyor, was then made manager, and remained with me up to the end. A man named Petty was chief clerk and kept the books. There would be two or three other clerks in the office, but Mearles and Petty were the only persons I spoke to or acknowledged in respect of the books. My niece, Miss Roberts, who

was in the private office, kept the books before Mearles came on the scene as manager. I had not sufficient capital to finance a £66, 000 contract, as the specification said the contract was to be done in groups and that, on each group the certificate should be monthly, I ran away with the idea that if I could work all four groups together I could get my certificate weekly, but the London County Council architect disagreed, and let me into a little bit of a hole over finance. Instead of getting money once a week I only got it once a month, and then I had to wait three weeks for the cheque. As I had to make some arrangements with regard to capital, I asked my solicitor, Mr. Grant, who was then acting for me, if he would go with me to see the London and Southwestern bank; and we went by appointment to see Mr. Woodhams, the manager, who at once advanced £500 on a certificate worth £800, and other advances were made. Mr. Bourner came on the scene in February, 1903. At that time £3,000 was owing to the bank. Mr. Bourner kept a check on my advances from the bank. They audited the books. A fresh system of book-keeping was introduced, and my niece kept the books according to that system. As the retention money increased, so my liability to the bank increased. Towards the end of September there was a question of further contracts. Some time in September I entered into the Fountain Hospital contract, which was also financed by the bank. I saw the manager of the bank respecting that with Mr. Yerbury, and he fixed the matter up at once. I explained that the contract was for £13, 000, to be done in so many weeks, and I thought this would be a means of raising capital, because my credit was so good that I could do this £13, 000 job and without having to pay any of the creditors that supplied the goods a farthing until I drew the money. Mr. Woodhams agreed, and offered to pay ready money for the goods if that would suit me better. Besides these two contracts there was an intermediate contract of £6,000, approximately part of Section A, but on the site of Section B. The intermediate section was financed by the bank as part of Section A, When the roofs were finished in Section A I was asked by the County Council whether I would give a price for Section B and I gave a price for it, 1 1/2 per cent, leas than the original contract for Section A. The reason I did so was that I was fixed on the site with materials and machinery, and the men knew the manager of the London County Council. I was charged with rent for the workshops and I paid no taxes, so that there was a saving of first coat. When I spoke to Mr. Bourner about the contract he seemed to think it would be a good one if I could finance it, and I also spoke to Mr. Yerbury about it. Mr. Yerbury thought it would be a splendid contract, and said he would report to Mr. Bourner about it, which he did in December. I thought it would mean £9,000 or £10, 000 to

me if I could get it through. The bank, however, would not agree to finance it, and said they would not go any further with the County Council contracts, having already gone further than they ought to have done. I signed that contract after I had completed or nearly completed the contracts I had, because I had made a promise to Mr. Bourner that I would not sign any more contracts until those in hand were nearly completed. Having signed the contract, it became a question of carrying it on. In January, 1904, I had a cheque for about £140 for building a clerk of works' office at Norbury. That was something outside the contract, and was never reported to the London and South-Western Bank, but was a little perquisite for myself if you like to put it so. At first I thought of paying the cheque into the London and South-Wastern Bank and asking them to give me cash for it, but I changed my mind, as I did not think they would give me the cash, and I wanted to proceed with Section B. I mentioned the matter to Ada Coley, and she said she had the cash in the house and would give it to me if I would give her the cheque. That money I put into Section B and paid other expenses as well, and that, of course, did not last long. The next thing was that I was at Brighton with the family, and the hotel bill came along and I could not meet it Miss Coley got into a temper about it and said she would see her solicitor about the other money she had lent me—the £1,500. I got to know she had some more money, but she would not lend any more unless she had security. Mr. Grant was called in, and, the Sheriff being in at "Moira," he advised a bill of sale on the furniture and effects for £250. He mentioned the word "absolute," the technical meaning of which I did not know. Miss Coley advised to realise some of the goods and stock at Totterdown. I said I had the horses, which were practically no use as Section B was a level site without gradients. She offered me £75 for them, and I took the money and a receipt produced was drawn up by one of the clerks. The money was paid in gold, and the greatest part of it went in wages on Section B. The money I had on the bill of sale was paid in gold and notes. A cheque was produced on that occasion, but it was of no use as she had not paid the money into the bank, so I took the money and tore the cheque up. The date of that transaction was, I think, February 10th. My financial position at that time, according to my trustee, on whom I leaned for every information respecting finance, was correct and right; I was solvent I never knew I was insolvent until the receiving order was made, and then I did not think I was. I believe I was only made insolvent through the bankruptcy. I was solvent while I was kept alive. It was my belief that I should survive these bankruptcy proceedings and pay all the creditors in full. If I could have raised another £5,000 I could have drawn £4,000 from the County Council and

the Council's architect would have allowed me £2,000 for the goods on the site. That, would have staved off the bankruptcy. I attribute the bankruptcy to the persistency with which the London and South-Western Bank claimed their receiving order. The amended cash account (produced) is a correct account of receipts and disbursements. You will find an item of £167 12s. 10d. London County Council, Clerk of Works Office. I did not receive that money, but £30 less. As to the list of ironmongery at Wallington, I do not think it was made out by one of my clerks. It was certainly not made out by anyone with any knowledge of the building trade, because he would have known that japanned buttons for plates only cost about 3/4 d. each, and here they are charged at £32 8s. The white lead may have been at Wallington. I know personally about that because I saw it go over to the Fountain Hospital contract, so it would not be true to say that that was at Wallington after Christmas, 1903. This quantity certainly could not have been there. I heard Mr. Bourner say that this figure of £266 exactly corresponded with the figures I gave him of the stock at Wallington, but I never gave him any figures at all. These things were all drawn up by my clerks, and if Mr. Bourner can produce the figures actually sent in to him by my clerk I shall be able to verify if it is their handwriting or not. I never made such a statement to Mr. Bourner, nor anybody else. My stocktaking was done by my manager and clerks. I made a report monthly to Mr. Bourner in the ordinary way, but I do not accept responsibility for the accuracy of the figures. I believe the ironmongery condemned by the London County Council was sent back to Mr. Fitzgerald, the agent, who exchanged it We had peremptory orders from the County Council to carry it off the site lest it should be used there, and it was accordingly taken to Wallington. Some of it may have been left there until Fitzgerald could sell it to another customer, as he had no accommodation for it. I remember some ironmongery being removed from Totterdown to Wallington. If it was on 18th February I might have been there, but if it was on the 25th I should be at Dieppe. It was put to me in my public examination that I had assisted to load up these carts, but I should not give myself away to the men in that way. I should simply give the orders and exercise my position as governor of the establishment. I gave special orders that the ironmongery which had been condemned should go away, and I heard afterwards that it had gone. I directed that it should be taken to Redhill. I was not much at Wallington at that time, as I was endeavouring to arrange the financing of Section B and was away from home a great deal. I am not quite sure when I discovered these things were at Wallington. I was not present at "Moira" on the evening when the van came to remove part of the goods and I did not assist to load

up these vans and carts. I did not go to the door and meet one of the men coming back with a policeman. I am sure Patten den is mistaken in saying I am the man he saw that. night. As to taking the goods to Forwood's, I can understand how that came to be done. We had some difficulty with the London County Council about taking goods on to the site after the clerk of works had left. That was in Mr. Urban Gurney's time. We could not get on fast enough with the joinery. I got a permit from the County Council to order more joinery from one firm, and Mr. Gurney ordered from another firm a duplicate set of goods and we had got to have them, I did not want to cart them to Redhill and I tried to get them on to the Fields. We were met by Alderman Dew, of the London County Council, and the walking delegate of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, who followed them on to the site and came to the office and threatened to annul the contract. Consequently I gave orders that no goods were to come on to the site after the clerk of works had left. It was a thing the Council had a very stringent regulation against, as they wanted the clerk of works to see all the goods that came on. On that occasion, it being ten or eleven o'clock, the clerk of works would have left the site, and it looked very bad against me. The goods that were taken to Redhill ought to have been taken to Wallington. I ordered their immediate removal back to Totterdown. The clerk of the works left at 6 o'clock, and the goods had to go in before 6. As to Mr. Bourner's suggestion that there is £1,000 worth of ironmongery unaccounted for, it is very easy to make a suggestion, inference, or charge. There is no truth in it. I was asked about this ironmongery many times in my public examination, and the account there given is the truth. As to the tip cart, I remember Mr. Endicott meeting me one day and telling me Mr. Gurney had ordered another. I told him Mr. Gurney had no business to do so as we had one and I wanted to keep the stock down. He asked me to take it, as things were not bright—the usual way of doing business. I told him I did not want the cart, but he could send it on, and it was delivered at Totterdown and put with the rest. When I disposed of all these carts and horses in January, 1904, to Ada Coley I cannot say if that particular cart was included. If there were two new carts and they had been newly painted I could not tell t'other from which. For all I knew it might have been across at Endicott's yard at the time. With regard to the books after the receiving order, the Official Receivers representative came to Totterdown to see me and told me that he had come to take possession. He instructed us to send up some books, and they were sent up. I do not know the particulars of them. Some books were left behind With regard to the books found at Ilford. I do not know how they came there,

and I never saw them there. This book, No. 8, which relates to the Norbury estate, was certainly found at my office in Totterdown Fields. This book of variations I do not understand. It was kept by Mr. Mearles, and surveyors have a way of their own. I am under the impression it was at my office. The particulars are so brief and terse that it wants the man who wrote them down to understand them. This book (No. 15) has reference to the Fountain Hospital. We started the contract before we had signed for it. We did not enter actually into the work of the contract, but we did some extra work. We had no clerk, and the wages sheets were marked by the men themselves. The better educated of the men made their wages sheets out in proper form, the less educated put down that they had been at Totterdown, and some would not put down where they had been at work at all. There is not a single entry of mine there, nor erasure; nor pencilling. I am under the impression that this book was also found at Totterdown Fields, althought it is said to have come from 55, Wanstead Park Road. There was no check of the books taken, and they may have got mixed up. It is not true that I entered into the bill of sale with Ada Coley with the intention of deceiving my creditors. I only wanted to carry on Section B. The sale of the horses and carts was for the same purpose. With regard to the ironmongery, there was no place at "Moira" where I could conceal any quantity, and I never attempted to do so. I first became aware that I was insolvent at the date of the receiving order. I did not think then I was insolvent and could not meet my liabilities. I draw a distinction between the two. It may be that a man cannot meet his liabilities because he cannot obtain money owing to him. In my statement of affairs, which was drawn up by my cashier, a deficiency of £1,000 was shown. If he had put in the goodwill of the Section B contract, which was taken at 3 per cent less, or a difference of £4,200, the balance would have been on my side. My view when I entered into these sale transactions was that I was perfectly solvent and that the property was mine to do what I liked with, and not my creditors'.

Cross-examined. My only complaint against the bank is that if they had held off a little bit longer I should have overtided my difficulties, the creditors would have been paid in full, the business would have been kept alive, the bank would have got their money, and I should not have been in the Bankruptcy Court I could have done the Section B contract with far less assistance than the Section A contract As to whether I behaved badly to the bank, that is a matter of opinion. I did not know in July, 1903. that the bank did not intend financing me over Section B. I never thought the bank was go bad as to want to prevent me getting my living. I was compelled to do other work or sink. I remember the letter of

July 19th to Mr. Bourner, in which I wrote: "I am not entering into any new contracts "; and the letter of September 5th, where I say: "I am very sorry to hear that your directors will not consent to the accommodation required for the large contract. I am extremely grateful to you for the handsome manner in which you have assisted me in the past, especially as the business is entirely against your practice. I am more than anxious to sign for the other contract, Section B." I was then asking them to reconsider their decision. I recollect the letter of September 11th from Mr. Bourner, in which he spoke of the largo amount of the balance due from me to the bank. As to whether I carried on this contract without the knowledge and consent of the bank between September 11th and November 7th, I may have done a lot of things without the consent of the bank. They had never said they would be unwilling to finance me if I entered into fresh contracts. I was tendering for new jobs all along the line. Wages were, no doubt, paid on the Fountain Hospital contract before it was assigned to the bank, though they had not consented to finance it, and we had no other source from which to draw money to pay wages except the bank. I am not suggesting that Mr. Bourner was not telling the truth when he wrote on December 22nd that he had only just ascertained that I had been engaged on the Fountain Hospital contract. As to whether I was using the bank's money without their authority, I had made use of their money under similar conditions before, and they did not object to my going on with the work in the ordinary way. Very often I did not know whether there was a debit or a credit balance. Sometimes after we had just received a cheque from the London County Council with the retention money, which was theirs, there would be a credit balance; at other times a debit There was no agreement that the money was only to be expended on the County Council job. If the bank had refused to continue the advances the London and County Bank would have taken the matter up instantly. I had approached them as to whether if I became bankrupt the bank would not lose the retention money; no doubt the holders of the retention money would have looked after themselves. I do not consider that I tried to force the hands of the bank at all. All I did was to assist them as well as myself. On November 26th Mr. Bourner wrote to me; "I, of course, rely upon the assurance you have given to me and also to the bank that you will not enter into any contracts without first consulting me and the bank thereon." On November 27th I wrote: "There is no truth in the report that I have signed any contract at all since the Fountain Hospital contract. I shall most certainly keep my promise with you and the bank re any further contracts." I there said what I meant. I had taken the contract, but had not signed it. I signed it on December 8th, the day after the bank stated that they adhered to their decision

not to finance me over this big contract. I was advised that it could be financed elsewhere. I had approached the London and County Bank, and I was told that if the worst came to the worst I could assign that contract or take in a partner, and as it looked as if the London and South-Western Bank was going to smash me up I had better sign the contract and see if I could not get it assigned or take in a partner. I am not finding fault with the bank's attitude at all. What I understand by insolvency is that a man cannot pay his debts after realising his estate. On January 8th, 1904, I did not know but what I could meet my liabilities. I did not know who would have come to my assistance if the bank had dropped out, but I should have tried other people. I still thought I was solvent on February 11th, when the act of bankruptcy occurred as regards the value of the assets and liabilities. As I say, I was approaching several financial firms and I was contemplating taking in a partner with some capital, and if I had done so I should have staved off certain of the creditors and the situation would have been saved; but it is a well-known fact that it is a difficult matter to borrow money when there is a receiving order against you or there are writs out against you. I never thought I should have to go through the Bankruptcy Court until the date of the receiving order, and I struggled hard to evade it I got it adjourned or postponed, but another came along, and I caved in and knuckled under. When the bill of sale was given on February 10th Mr. Whitfield, of the firm of Grant and Whitfield, was present. When the money was handed over I think Mr. Whitfield had gone out of the office. A cheque was produced and handed over to me by Ada Coley in the presence of Mr. Whit-field, but as he had gone out of the office he did not see any money pass. It is entirely wrong to say that the cheque was for the benefit of Mr. Whitfield. It was a crossed cheque, and, of course, would not have been met if there had not been sufficient assets. The money was to have been paid into the bank at Carshalton, but if Miss Coley had stayed to pay it in she would have missed her train, so she brought it on to me at Totterdown, and I had the money instead of having the cheque which I destroyed.

(Friday, March 9th.)

Daniel Roberts, further cross-examined. It was mentioned in the statement of affairs that I owed £1,500 to Ada Coley, but I do not remember that I volunteered the statement to Mr. Bourner. A claim was made in the bankruptcy by Ada Coley, and I gave evidence in support of it Down to the present time no banking account has been disclosed out of which £1,500 could have come, and that proof was rejected. That claim of £1,500 was one of the matters in respect of which a prosecution was

ordered, but the prosecution was not proceeded with. Ada Coley might have had a small account in the Post Office besides the one respecting which evidence has been given. I think she was against banking accounts, as she had no knowledge of banking. The furniture in the bill of sale was left in Ada Colev's possession. I do not know where it is now. I heard evidence that she sold some £40 worth to her daughter as she wanted food for her children. Some of it was removed to "The Mount" on December 24th. I cannot tell where I was living on January 26th, 1905. Sometimes I was in London. Once I was in a common lodging-house in London. In the week from February 10th to February 15th I was in Manchester. I do not know that I can remember where I was sleeping on the night of February 14th, the night before Moon And Knight. came to take the furniture from "The Mount," but I am under the impression that I slept at the Three Nuns Hotel. Mrs. Healey and Miss Lawson asked me to sleep at "The Mount" when the men were in possession, as a safeguard, I suppose. I slept on a chair bed. I am afraid I had no settled abode. I was knocking about from one place to another and living in lodgings. Amongst other things I worked on the new offices of the Central News Agency. I did not conceal from my son where I was living, but I did not want him to know of my downfall. I wanted to keep it to myself. I worked with him at the Central News Agency. I did not keep anything from him. I did not volunteer so as to expose myself unnecessarily to him. I was sorry for myself. Mrs. Healey has never been under my influence. She is twenty-five, and I have known her since she was nine. She is the daughter of Ada Coley. She has had a separate establishment independent of Ada Coley for years. I was present when the judge made the order for the furniture in the bill of sale to be given up. On February 15th there was at "The Mount" certain furniture that had been removed from "Moina," but I had no power to give that furniture up to Mr. Smith, and Kate Healey would not. I had no influence with her, but I advised her when the men came into possession; "There is some mistake here. I am certain the trustee will not do anything wrong. You had better go and see him." She went, and as the result the things were taken away. It was my desire that the judge's order should be carried out, and I did my best to advise the lady to get the matter settled. It is not true that I threatened Moon with a lighted lamp. The only thing I did which could be called a threat I will explain. I got there one night after I had been out at work, and I heard that there had been some bother during the day. I saw Prince drunk myself, and I was told he had called Ada Coley a "——cow." I did not hear the man say it, or there would have beer a row probably. I remember asking Mr. Bourner if he would be surprised to hear that at the time of the purchase of the horses and carts in January, 1904, Ada Roberts

had a large balance at the bank. I did not go with her when the account was opened on January 18th. I do not know what she paid in. I advised her to pay in the London County Council, cheque and open an account, but I do not know that I knew the exact amount paid in until a few days or weeks ago. I could not say whether or not she told me the amount. The County Council cheque was for £137 12s. 10d., and I cannot say whether the three Bank of England notes, making up the £167 12s. 10d. notes, were ever in my possession. I used to allow the lady £10 a week. It is true, as stated in my cash account, that I spent the proceeds of the money received from the London County Council in personal expenses, and amongst other things legal costs. I employed two firms of solicitors. One was Messrs. Grant and Whitfield, of Coleman Street, E.C., and the other Messrs. Emanuel, Round and Nathan, 2, Walbrook. There appear from the banking account to have been two cheques paid to Mr. Emanuel. He was my solicitor then, and also Ada Coley's in respect of the horses. I had my cheques of Ada Coley. I had no banking account then. I would give her money and she would give me a cheque. I used that banking account for the purpose of making payments if it suited me. With regard to the £266 9s. 3d. for ironmongery, I do not think there was ironmongery at Wallington corresponding to that amount. There had been some sent away to Mr. FitzGerald to my knowledge. I cannot pledge myself to any date as the papers furnishing the dates have been given to the trustee. That figure was. never put forward by me to Mr. Bourner as part of my assets. If I had said such a thing it would have been a misrepresentation, but I have never said anything that was wrong. I do not accept the suggestion that the account I have given of the ironmongery yesterday and to-day is quite new and inconsistent with what I said at my public examination. As to the suggestion that I said in my public examination that this was ironmongery which had been condemned by the London County Council somewhere about May, 1903, and remained at Wallington down to the end of the bankruptcy I do not say the whole of it did, a portion of it. I am quite certain a portion of it was at Wallington when the Sheriff went into possession. When Mr. Kempson went in there was some ironmongery and white lead, because I removed the white lead myself. The ironmongery was removed from Totterdown Fields in January to Wallington by my instructions. I ordered them to take it to Redhill, and afterwards back to Totterdown. I am not sure whether I knew the ironmongery was being removed on the morning spoken of by Tarry and Firmin, but I might have been on the site at the time. The fact that it took three days to remove the ironmongery from Totterdown Fields to Wallington I explain in this way: it was being removed to Redhill

and I am under the impression that Mr. Mearles found out that the Sheriff was in at Redhill so did not know what to do with it and brought it back again to go to Wallington, and on the way altered it to Croydon, waited there for a couple of nights, then took it on to Wallington and deposited it there. If the reason for this delay was that it was feared the Sheriff would seize it, I should have done the same, and I excuse Mr. Mearles for doing it, whether he acted under my instructions or not. I certainly should not have taken that ironmongery and deposited it straight into the jaws of the Sheriff; I should have given the other creditors a chance. I say I did not know that these three carts and three men were away those three days. Mr. Mearles did not report that to me, and I sometimes did not go into the stables for a month at a time. As to what became of the ironmongery, some of it was sent back if I remember right to Totterdown and used up, and some is in the hads of the trustee. Some was taken back to Totterdown from Wallington after January, 1905. As to the suggestion that £700 of ironmongery was removed from Totterdown Fields, I do not think I had that amount. The trustee will probably have documentary evidence of what was there. I take the responsibility for what Mr. Mearles did as my manager, but who gave the order to Forwood I have not discovered up to the present time; that is still involved in mystery, and I have not been at any pans over the thing. I cannot give any explanation why the order for the van of February 29th, 1904, should have been given without anybody's name being mentioned, and I am surprised at their taking such an order. I cannot tell who it was met the two carmen in Tooting Broadway. I cannot tell why that cart and van should have been brought to "Moira" at 10 o'clock at night There is no earthly reason why it should not have been done in daytime. If it is suggested that the reason for ordering it at night was that the man in possession went home to sleep at 8 o'clock, suggesting a reason and proving it are two distinct things. If I had had any choice in the matter. I should certainly have ordered it there in the ordinary way, but the Sheriff would certainly have stopped it. As to whether it was an improper thing to do. it was certainly very indiscreet. The thing had no right to have been done; it was open to suspicion. I did not care about the Sheriff; if he sold me up, he sold me up. Pattenden is certainly wrong in identifying me as the person he saw, but I cannot say if the carman is wrong in saying that it was a man much older than my son.

Re-examined. I do not know of my own knowledge what orders were given to Forwood. Whoever gave them, it was not me. I heard the carman who went with Forwood's van say they were assisted by someone in the house, but that was not I. With regard to the removal of ironmongery from Totterdown,

I do not remember giving any special orders for its removal to Redhill. The instructions would be that any condemned ironmongery was to be removed to Redhill. I did not want any more at "Moira," but this was a very long time since, and I cannot be certain about the exact order. I left it to Mr. Mearles to remove it from time to time to Redhill. I did not then know the Sheriff was in at Redhill, but I have heard since so. The bank only took the Sheriff out at Wallington and left him at Redhill. I did not personally make a representation to the trustee as to there being £266 worth of ironmongery at Wellington, and I do not know whether the trustee made that representation, to the bank or not. At to the legal charges in the cash account, I had to defend an action about that time. It was an action brought by Urban Gurney, who had been my manager and was discharged. He thought he had a grievance and issued a writ for the sum of £1,000. He came to me several times, and as he was a relative of Miss Coley I was inclined to pay him. Miss Coley, or Ada Roberts, and Mrs. Gurney are sisters. My niece, Miss Roberts, found out that instead of my owing him money he owed me money. I entered an action, which was tried before Official Receiver Vesey, who gave judgment in my favour, and Gurney had to pay the costs, but I am not aware that they have ever been asked for. That accounts for the £110 to Emanuel. It was a two days' trial and two counsel were employed The furniture that was ordered to be delivered up was that at "Moira." The order was made upon Ada Coley, not upon me. There was other furniture at "The Mount"—a house full. In the end the trustee took the whole of it, whether it was in the bill of sale or not. There was some furniture belonging to Ada Coley quite apart from the bill of sale, and also furniture belonging to other people which had been in their possession for fifteen or sixteen years. They sold a lady's hat and a lady's fur cape which could not have been mine. Up till Christmas, 1903, there had been no disagreement between me and the bank; they were honouring my drafts and financing me in the way they had undertaken to do. I was under the impression that the B contract was one of the best contracts in South-West London, and am now. I am still of opinion that if I had been, allowed to keep control of that contract I should have made a profit out of it, and that instead of being where I am I should have been worth £10, 000. I ascribe my present position to the withdrawal of the bank's support I had some suspicion that there was some undercurrent at work. My sole object in these transactions with Ada Coley was to try to keep the business alive until I could turn the corner. I tried to raise money in every possible way I could. I would have pawned the shirt off my back to have done Section B.

To Mr. Gill. A quantity of the furniture at "The Mount"

had not come from "Moira" at all. I did not give evidence in support of Mrs. Healey's claim in the County Court. Mrs. Healey had to prosecute her own case as she had no money. She had no money to file the affidavit. I asked her to call me and she forgot.

To the Court. Her claim was gone into in a certain way, but here was a woman with no knowledge of the law, and she could not make out a case at all. I was not by her side; she did not call me. I understand that a bankrupt has no standing at all; he is civilly dead. I could not speak at all for her. No doubt she was right and the other side was wrong. Urban Gurney got up and said the things had been at "Moira." I think if we had been able to examine him we should have been able to prove something against him; anyhow the lady lost her case.

DANIEL ROBERTS, JUN ., private 4th Lancashire Fusiliers. I am a son of prisoner, and was in his employ in January, 1904. I was at Totterdown in that month when some ironmongery was loaded up on carts. I do not know under whose direction that was done. It might have been by Mr. Mearles, who was there with two of the labourers and the carman. Prisoner was not there, and I remember a van coming to "Moira" one evening. I was in the yard. Prisoner was not there. They loaded up some ironmongery. We all took part in the loading. Having loaded up the carman drove off, but returned, and told me it had been stopped by the police. Most of the furniture at "The Mount" came from 43. Tantallon Road, Balham, where Mrs. Healey lived and only a small part from "Moira."

Cross-examined. I was not the person who satisfied the suspicions of the police.

JANE RAWSON . I am a niece of prisoner, and was at one time-in his employment as clerk, and used to keep the books. I recognise some of the books found at Wanstead Park Read. They were in a trunk of my own which I brought from Tantallon Road, but, of course, not all that quantity. I never received instructions about taking the books anywhere. I remember negotiations between Mr. Roberts and Ada Coley about some horses and carts, the result of which was that Mr. Roberts sold the horses to her for £75. I do not remember any other financial transactions of a similar kind.

Cross-examined. The money for the horses was paid in gold at Totterdown. The books went to Wanstead Park Road in a trunk of my own when I moved there. I may have taken them to the house in Tantallon Road myself or got one of the boys to carry "hem. Two wages books and a diary are all I can identify. Sometimes Mr. Roberts would ask me to go through the wages books after the other clerks and then I would take them home.

Re-examined. I was Mr. Roberta's private book-keeper, and kept the books in his private office at Totterdown Fields, The receipt produced for the £75 for the sale of the horses is in the handwriting of one of the clerks.

ADA COLEY . I have known prisoner for sixteen yean. I recognise the bill of sale (produced). I simply botfght the things of Mr. Roberts and paid for them, £200 in notes and £50 in gold as nearly as I can remember. I paid him in hit private office at Totterdown Fields. Mr. Roberts, Miss Jane Rawson and Mr. Whitfield were present. As to the circumstances which led up to the bill of sale, Mr. Roberts said he was short of money and asked me to lend him some. I said I would not lend him any more unless he pave me security, so the bill of sale was drawn up and signed. It comprised everything on the ground at Wallington. I think this was the first time he had sold me anything, but I am not sure. I had lent him money before that. On January 16th he sold me the horses, and I authorised Mr. Mearles to sell them for me. The receipt produced is the one given me. The money was paid in cash. I did not, of course, receive the money which the horses and carts realised, as the bank attached it. I was tenant of "Moira," which I left last Christmas, and went to reside with my daughter at "The Mount," Thornton Heath. I remember tome property being brought to Wallington in January, 1904, and stored in the stable. I was in the house at the time, and I suppose also the servants and the coachman. Mr. Roberts was not there. I remember going before Mr. Willoughby. I was very queer at the time, but I know that in the finish they upset the bill of sale. At that time the furniture in the bill of sale had been sold. I did not sell it all together, but to ever so many people where I lived at Wallington, owing to being short of money. I remember Mr. Moon coming to the house at Thornton Heath about the time the bill of sale was upset. I know the furniture in that house was my daughter's.

Cross-examined. I heard the Judge make the order for delivery of the furniture to the trustee. I knew in the course of the year 1904 that the trustee was trying to claim this furniture. I was compelled to part with it because I had no money. The things, I considered, were mine. I think the money I gave Roberts was always gold and notes. I always had a stock of gold and notes available. I know I tried to prove for the £1,500. but I do not know whether I proved it because I was very queer in my head at the time, and I do not know what was said to me nor what I said really. I cannot remember exactly where I did get the money to pay for the horses, but it is true that I paid the £75 on January 16th to Robert. I do not seem to remember drawing it out of the bank. I never had so much money at Carshalton as £250. I always had money in the house.

Re-examined. I had nothing to deliver up at the time the

order for the delivery up of the furniture was made. I remember opening an account with a cheque I got from Mr. Roberts. Ho wanted money, so I gave him money for the cheque and opened the account with it. That was also money I had in the house.

EDMUND PERCY BETTY . I was in the employ of the prisoner. The receipt produced for £75 of January 16th, 1904. is in my writing. I am afraid I do not remember writing it at all, but certainly that is my writing. I remember making an inventory of certain property at Totterdown as soon as work was stopped, but I could not tell whether that was after the bankruptcy or not. I was acquainted with the details of the business. I assisted Mr. Mearles in taking an inventory of everything on the site, and we made up a balance-sheet. The value of the stock according to my valuation was £7.800; machinery, £1,400; fittings, utensils, etc., £1,176; office furniture, £50; due on account of Section B, £300; total, £10.726. I had no knowledge of what would be realised if it was disposed of. I had left before anything was done with it. When we made out that statement we found that the defendant was solvent, and that the estate could pay over 20s. in the pound.

Cross-examined. At the time we made the thing up we reckoned Mr. Roberts was solvent. I believe the machinery was on the hire-purchase system. We put the liabilities at £12, 836, but the admitted proofs are upwards of £16.000. I do not suggest that anybody has improperly proved in the bank ruptcy. I cannot say if Miss Coley's alleged claim of £1,500 is included in the liabilities.

EDWIN MEARLES . I was defendant's manager at Totterdown. I remember the incident with regard to the removal of some ironmongery from Totterdown. I cannot give the date, it is so long ago. What I remember is that we could not use it for Section B or for any other work we had on the site. I cannot remember whether I gave orders to the carman to remove it to Redhill or to Wallington. Mr. Roberts told me that I was wrong, and must have it back again as I had sent it to the wrong place, and I believe I sent a boy on a bicycle to get them—to bring it back again. On their return journey I believe they were stopped, but by whom I cannot say, and the carman returned the ironmongery to Mr. Forwood's yard, and that I think is about the end of it. With last witness I assisted to make up a statement of affairs.

Cross-examined. At the end of December, 1903, Section A contract was nearly completed and £8,000 or £9,000 of material had been accumulated for Section B. I could not say the value of the stock on the site without seeing the papers. Mr. Roberts gave orders for the removal of the ironmongery, but was not on the works at the time it was sent away. I am not sure whether he told me to send it to Wallington or Redhill.

I said at the private examination that £700 or £800 worth of (ironmongery had been removed which had all been condemned by the London County Council. All that has been traced is the quantity at Forwood's. It is possible that I myself gave the order to Forwood's, but I cannot remember, but if I said so in my former evidence it is correct.

Re-examined. £700 or £800 worth of goods were condemned altogether, but whether it was all moved away from Totterdown on that particular day I cannot remember. I do not know whether FitzGerald refused to take the condemned goods back.

Verdict, Guilty.

Police evidence. On October 17th, 1905, prisoner was sentenced, at the Stratford Petty Sessions, to six months' imprisonment for obtaining £20 from an insurance company by fraud. There were seven similar charges against him, but by arrangement between the prosecuting and defending solicitors prisoner pleaded guilty to a specific charge, and the others were not proceeded with. The eight claims made against the various fire insurance companies were in various names, at various addresses, and the same articles of damaged clothing and furniture were repeatedly put forward.

Sentence, seven months' hard labour.

View as XML