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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Roemer [1841] NSWSupC 12

fraud - promissory note

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 10 February 1841

Source: Sydney Gazette, 13 February 1841[1]

            Before Chief Justice Dowling and a Special Jury, viz., John Brown, Esq., of Parramatta, foreman, James Frew, W. S. Deloitte, J. J. Curtis, Prosper de Mestre, R. Anderson, Robt., Ball, A. Fotheringham, L. Duguid, Phillip Flower, John Campbell, and C. Christmas, Esqrs.

            Charles W. Roemer, merchant, Sydney, was indicted for having attempted to defraud John Terry Hughes, merchant, Sydney, of the sum of £510, on the 11th Nov. last, by alleging that a promissory note of that amount drawn on the 10th July, 1840, payable at four months, drawn by Dodds, Blackett, and Aird, millers of Sydney, and endorsed by John Terry Hughes to the prisoner, was still unsatisfied, whereas it was stated that Messrs. Dodds, Blackett, and Aird had given their promissory note to Roemer, before they became insolvent, satisfying the above note of £510 granted in July to Hughes.

            John Terry Hughes was first examined. - He deposed that he was a merchant and knew the defendant Roemer; recollected having a promissory note of Messrs.Dodds, Blackett, and Aird's in his possession; it was for the sum £510 at four months, and payable at the Commercial Bank; he then said the signatures of Messrs. Dodds & Co. on that note are now cancelled; it was not so when in my hands; it has my endorsement; Roemer must have endorsed it after me; Mr. R. met me in George-street near the Sydney Bank in November last, he asked me if I was aware thatDodds & Co.'s note with my endorsement was to fall due in a day or two; I told him I did not know the very day, but I thought that "sufficient for the day was the evil thereof;" he said that as money was very scarce I would have to retire it; I then said I had quite enough to do to retire my own bills; he said he would take my promissory note with interest added for the amount, which I agreed to; we went in to the Sydney Bank where he draw out a bill at 3 months for £522 15s., bearing date 11th November, which I signed; I remarked to Roemer, while he was drawing out the bill, that he was a good deal agitated - that he trembled very much; Roemer replied, these are trembling times; subsequently to this I had an opportunity of seeing Mr. Dodds, and from what transpired at that time I applied to Captain Innes for a warrant; Mr.Dodds was with me as a witness at the Police Office; were I aware of what I heard from him, I certainly should not have given my note for £522 to Mr. Roemer.

            Mr. a'Beckett then cross-examined Mr. Hughes at great length. - He stated that he did not repeat all that he had said at the Police Office as he was not asked; that it was at his request Mr. Ryan Brenan granted the warrant; I did not propose to take up the bill; Mr. Lord and Mr. Rodd might have heard the conversation that passed between Roemer and me; took Roemer's receipt for £522 15s.; had I not received this I would not have given him my note; there were two days of the promissory note for £510 to run, which I fully expected he would retire; Mr. Roemer might have said, but he did not recollect it; that he would make no use of the note for £522 15s. until he had taken up the £510 bill.

            James Dodds, miller, was next examined. - He deposed that he was of the late firm of Dodds, Blackett, and Aird; recollects a note drawn by their firm in favour of Mr. Hughes; when I gave it to him it did not bear his endorsement; it was antedated; I saw the same note of £510 fourteen days afterwards with Mr. Roemer, the defendant, who told me that as he did not like Hughes' named, he would take our note for the same amount; I said he should have it, and a few mornings afterwards he came and I gave him one of the same date and amount, and he gave me the one with Hughes' endorsement, and drew the pen through his own name; I filed the bill when; I saw Mr. R. afterwards in October, we were then in difficulties; he asked me if I had the bill with Hughes' endorsement; he was on horseback at the time; I went into our office and saw the bill on the file; when I came out I told him that I thought I had destroyed it; he begged of me to say nothing to Hughes about it, which I promised; he came to me in about a week afterwards and requested me not to say a word about the bill to Hughes, and mentioned also that Hughes was to give him another bill; I said that I did not think Mr. Hughes was such a flat; he said he would, as Mr. Hughes was obliged to him in money matters.

            Mr. Dodds was then cross-examined by Mr. Windeyer, but as nothing very important was elicited, we shall not trouble our readers with irrelevant matters. Doddsstated that he had commenced business with £2000 give years ago, and had failed lately for the sum of £34,000.

            This closed the case for the prosecution.

            The following gentlemen were then examined: - Richard Jones, Esq., M. C., A. B. Spark, Spark, Esq., J. P., George Allen, Esq., Attorney, Captain Fotheringham, H. C. Sahing, Esq. and Adam Wilson, Esq., who gave the highest possible character to Mr. Roemer for his integrity, uprightness, and honorable conduct in every transaction or relation they knew him in, and stated that in their opinion, from an intercourse of years, Mr. R.'s conduct was irreproachable.

            Mr. Lord, Manager of the Sydney Bank, deposed that he recollected Messrs. Hughes and Roemer entering the Sydney Bank in the early part of November, when Mr. Hughes said to Mr. Roemer, why do you not take my bill at once, which Mr. R. agreed to, saying he would do so sooner than run after him with the bill with his endorsement; Mr. Hughes signed the bill and gave it to Roemer, for which he gave him a receipt, saying now Mr. Hughes I will not make use of this note until I give up the other bill.

            Mr. Foster replied on the evidence, and impressed on the Jury that they should not be led away by any impressions they might have formed before coming into Court. He entered largely into the case, and strove to make it appear that the defence set up could not be sustained.

            The Chief Justice then summed up in a most powerful and eloquent address to the Jury. The Jury then retired, and the foreman (Mr. Brown) on entering the Court, gave in a verdict of Not Guilty. This announcement was received by the audience with symptoms of no slight satisfaction. 


[1]              See also Australian, 11 February 1841.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University