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On Friday morning at the Lewes Police Court, before F B Whitfield, Esq (in the chair) and H Whitfield, Esq, Charles Arthur Massingham was brought up on remand charged with embezzling the sum of £36 15s. The money of the Glynde Creameries, Limited, at Glynde.
It will be remembered that at the last hearing evidence was given of the arrest of the prisoner and the case remanded until Friday, so that the books of the company might be gone into, and the true state of affairs found out. This had been done to a certain extent, with the result that two other cases were cited against the prisoner, one of £12 10s, received from Mr Lade, of Brighton, and one of £16, received from Mr Percy Black, also of Brighton.
Mr Holt, in opening the case, said that he intended on this occasion to offer evidence upon the amount of £36 15s 0d mentioned in the warrant, and if necessary upon one or two other cases. He would then ask for a further remand, as the books were in such a complicated condition that he had been unable to go thoroughly into them, and he would perhaps prefer further amounts against the prisoner, and should possibly have to make another charge under a different section of the Act, for defalcation of accounts. With regard to the first charge he called:
Edward Eager, Esq, 17 Wilbury Road, Hove, a director of the Glynde Creameries, Limited, who stated that he was acting under his Board to proceed. The prisoner was engaged by the late Lord Hampden, and was taken over when the company was formed. He held the position of secretary to the company and managed the Glynde factory. His duties were to sell the produce, collect the money from customers, and to pay the same to the company’s bankers, Messrs Molineux and Whitfield, of Lewes. He had a petty cash account for small payments. Cheques resolved were endorsed by the prisoner on behalf of the company. He received a weekly salary of 50s, but received no perquisites or commission. He had to keep all the books, including a petty cash book, rough cash book, and ledger. The customer’s accounts were sent out the first week in each month for payment during the month. About the month of June, the Board became dissatisfied with the prisoner’s general conduct, and Captain Brand and witness spoke to him; he then promised to give up attending race-courses. He was warned as to what might be the result. He afterwards received notice to leave on the 1st of August, in consequence of his failure to keep his promise. The new manager was put into the office on July 31st. Mr Arthur Brand and witness had an interview with prisoner at Glynde on July 31st, when instructions were given to the new manager to call on customers, especially those who, according to the ledger, owed large amounts of money. On the 3rd August Massingham visited witness at Hove, between two and three in the afternoon. He said, ‘I have come to see you about the money I have taken.’ Witness asked him ‘What money, and how much?’ He replied, ‘The money of the company, and the amount is about £475.’ He then handed witness a sheet of paper (produced), which was in his handwriting, purporting to be a list of sums he had taken. Witness went through the list and found that the amount, instead of being £475, came to close upon £900. Witness said, ’It is a great deal more than you say. It is more than double.’ Prisoner seemed very nervous, and said he was very sorry; he thought it was only the amount he had said. Witness asked him what he had done with the money, and he replied that he had lost it in betting. He was about £100 to the bad before Ringmer races; since that he had plunged, hoping to get it back, but had lost £600 more. Witness said he was very sorry prisoner had put himself in this position, and he must report the result of his interview to his co-directors. Some entries in the list had been struck out, and Massingham explained that these were accounts he had taken, but which he had since repaid. On the 12th August the board decided to prosecute and witness was asked to take out a warrant, which he did on the same day. When prisoner left witness on the 3rd he said he would be found at the Railway Hotel, Worthing, and two days after he wired that he had moved to the Crown Hotel, Lewes. The amount £36 15 for which the warrant was issued was a monthly bill payable by Mr Thomas Cowley, of the Sussex Dairy, Eastbourne. The bill produced was in Mr Massingham’s handwriting, and was receipted by him on June 3rd. There was no entry in either the cash book or ledger as to the receipt of the amount. On the list of defalcations made out by the prisoner was one of ‘Cowley, T, £109 15s 0d,’ the same man who had paid the £36 15s. The balance shown in the ledger was £109 19s 2½d against Mr Cowley on July 31st.
By Mr Buckwell—The prisoner had been in the employ of Lord Hampden some considerable time before he came to the company; they at first had the utmost confidence in him. Before that he was in the employ of Mr J J Clark at Brighton as manager of a wholesale sweet factory.
Thomas Cowley, of the Sussex Dairy, Eastbourne, said that he had dealt with the Glynde Company all the year, and had monthly accounts. He had never had balance sheets showing that he was in arrears on previous accounts. He paid all his accounts at the end of the month. His April account amounted to £36 15s. He paid the amount on June 3rd by cheque, which was probably sent by post. The cheque would be drawn to the Glynde Company. On July 31st he would owe about £100 for the June and July accounts, so that the amount in the ledger of £209 19s 2d was too much by that amount.
Mr J C Buckwell asked that the Bench would deal with this case summarily. The directors present agreed that if the Bench did so, they would not go into any other charge. On behalf of the prisoner he pleaded his previous good character during the time he had been employed by the Dairy Company, and also during his four years’ service at Brighton. The prisoner, he said, had only lately taken up betting, and had thus fallen into difficulties. He had a wife and four children to keep, and Mr Buckwell pointed out that Massingham, when the charge was made against him, made no attempt to go away, but he had stayed to face his punishment. The company, also, would not lose the entire amount, owing to the fact that the prisoner held shares in the company to the extent of £100, which would either be seized by the company itself or by the Guarantee Society. He therefore asked the Bench not to commit the prisoner, who would then have to wait six weeks for his trial, and after that undergo a sentence of imprisonment for his crime.
Mr Holt said that until that morning he did not know that this course would be suggested, but he did not wish to oppose the application of Mr Buckwell, if the Bench agreed to this the directors would be quite satisfied.
After some deliberation, the chairman said that the Bench considered the evidence too serious to allow them to take the course suggested and they should therefore commit the prisoner to take trial.
The prosecution, in view of the Magistrates’ opinion, then proceeded with the two other cases against the prisoner, as follows: -
Mr James Lade, 8 Richmond Street, Brighton, said that he had dealt with the creameries ever since it had been started. He had monthly accounts, and paid regularly. The one produced for June was for £12 10s, and was paid to the prisoner. It was shown in the ledger to end of July £25 8s 4d, but this was incorrect.
Mr Buckwell asked if the prisoner’s admission was not enough. Was not £900 sufficient for the prosecution.
Percy Black, proprietor, of the East Grinstead Dairy Company, Brighton, produced an account for £16, receipted by the prisoner for June and July, paid on 23rd July. In the ledger the balance was £36 19s 8d to the end of July, but witness only owed from the middle of July, being about £15.
Edward James, clerk to the Glynde Creameries, who said that he worked under Mr Massingham, gave evidence that the receipt for £12 10s from Mr Lade and £16 from Percy Black were not accounted for to the company.
The prisoner having been charged, and not wishing to make any statement, the evidence of Superintendent Stevens, heard at the last Court, as to the arrest of prisoner, was read over, and the Chairman committed prisoner to take his trial at the next Quarter Sessions.
Mr Holt stated that he did not intend to proceed with the case of defalcation of accounts.
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