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Colonial Cases

R. v. Calvert [1868]

conspiracy to defraud

Supreme Court, Constinople

November, 1867

Source: Pall Mall Gazette, 28 November 1867 [1] 

The Hon. Mr. Calvert, the late British consul at the Dardanelles,who was apprehended on a warrant issued by direction of the Foreign Office, has undergone several examinations at the Supreme Court, Constantinople, on the charge of conspiracy to defraud the underwriters at Lloyd's of £14,000. The prosecution is ordered by the British Government. Mr. Harper, secretary of Lloyd's Salvage Assocation, has arrived out there to produce the legal documents. up to the last advices the case was still proceeding, the acting consular judge refusing to admit the accused on bail.

21 February, 1868

Source: Daily News, 26 February 1868

THE FRAUDS ON UNDERWRITERS BY A BRITISH CONSUL.

(By telegraph.)

CONSTANTINOPLE, Feb. 22

Mr. Calvert, late her Majesty's Consul at the Dardanelles, was yesterday convicted at the Supreme Court, Constantinople, on the charge of conspiracy and attempting to defraud the underwriters at Lloyd's of a certain amount of insurances, £12,000, effected by him on a certain ship named Possiedon, laden with oil, which had loaded in Turkish waters for the United Kingdom, and which he falsely alleged was destroyed by fire off the Island of Lemnos. The frauds, it will be remembered, were committed in the early part of the year 1862, the accused, Mr. Calvert, then holding the important office of her Majesty's Consul at the Dardanelles. It was in consequence of the pressing demands he made on the underwriters to settle the loss with him that excited suspicion, and a special agent was at once despatched to Constantinople to make inquiries, the result of which disclosed a most novel and original fraud, whereupon the Foreign Office issued a warrant for the apprehension of Mr. Calvert. However, before it reached Constantinople, Mr. Calvert absconded, and for five years he contrived to elude the vigilance of the police, till last November, when he was captured, and fully committed to take his trial on the charges preferred. The attempted frauds were shown to have been carried out by means of official documents bearing her Majesty's consulate seal, and upon which he founded his claim upon the underwriters. He had represented that he had been employed to effect the £12,000 insurances on the Possiedon and her cargo by a person named Hussein Aga, a Turkish friend of his. One document professed to be a certificate from the harbour master at Tenedos, to which port the Possiedon was represented to belong, and certifying the departure of the vessel. The second document was a certificate from the consular agent at Tenedos confirming the departure of the Possiedin. The third document was the prisoner's certificate as to the cargo onboard the vessel. And the fourth document professed to be the statement made to the agent at Samos by a certain captain who had passed a vessel at sea on fire, and which was supposed to be the Possiedin. A chain of evidence, however, showed that there was no such person as Hussein Aga, and no such ship at the Possiedin - neither shipper, agent, nor cargo; but that the whole was a fraud to obtain the amount of insurances. The court found the prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced to two years' penal servitude. The prosecution in the first instance was taken by Lloyd's Salvage Association, but the proceedings at trial were conducted by order of the Foreign Office.

Source: The Pall Mall Gazette, 26 February 1868 [2]

An account of the trial of Mr. Calvery, late her Majesty's consul at the Dardanelles, is contained in a telegram from Pera, dated Saturday last. On the previous day Mr. Calvert was convicted at the Supreme Court, Constantinople, on the charge of conspiracy and attempting to defraud the underwriters at Lloyd's of a certain amount of insurances, £12,000, effected by him on a certain ship named Poseidon, laden with oil, which had loaded in Turkish waters for the United Kingdom, and which he falsely alleged was destroyed by fire off the island of Lemnos. The frauds, it will be remembered, were committed in the early part of the year 1862, the accused, Mr. Calvert, then holding the important office of her Majesty's consul at the Dardanelles. It was in consequence of the pressing demands he made on the underwriters to settle the loss with him that suspicion was excited, and a special agent was despatched to Constantinople to make inquiries, the result of which disclosed a most novel and original fraud, whereupon the Foreign Office issued a warrant for the apprehension of Mr. Calvert. However, before it reached Constantinople Mr. Calvert absconded, and for five years he contrived to elude the vigilance of the police till last November, when he was captured and committed to take his trial on the charges preferred. The attempted frauds were shown to have been effected by means of official documents bearing her Majesty's Consulate seal, and uponwhich he founded his claim upon the underwriters. He had represented that he had been employed to effect the £12,000 insurances on the Poseidon and her cargo by a person named Hussein Aga, a Turkish firned of his. One document professed to be a certificate from the harbour master at Tenedos, to which port thePoseidon was represented to belong, and certifying the departure of the vessel. The second document was a certificate from the consular agent at Tenedos, confirming the departure of the Poseidon. The third document was the prisoner's certificate as to the cargo on board the vessel; and the fourth document professed to be the statement made to the agent of Samos by a certain captain who had passed a vessel at sea on fire, and which was supposed to be the Poseidon. A chain of evidence, however, showed that there was no such person as Hussein Aga, and no such ship as the Poseidon; neither ship, agent, nor cargo; but the whole was a fraud to obtain the amount of insurances. The court found the prisoner "Guilty," and he was sentenced to two years' penal servitude. The prosecution in the first instance was undertaken by Lloyd's Salvage Association, but the proceedings at the trial were conducted by counsel under the orders of the Foreign Office.

Notes

[1] This was also reported by The Bristol Mercury, 30 November 1867, the Manchester Times, 30 November 1867 and the Belfast News-Letter, 4 December 1867, in each case under the headline "The Great Insurance Fraud".

[2]  This was also reported by The Standard, 26 February 1868, p. 6 (under the headline "Great Frauds on Underwriters"), The Dundee Courier & Argus, 27 February 1868, The Examiner, 29 February 1868, The Illustrated Police News, 29 February 1868, The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 29 February 1868, The Hampshire Advertiser, 29 February 1868, Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 1 March 1868, The Bury and Norwich Post, and Suffolk Herald, 3 March 1868, and Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser, 4 March 1868.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School