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Colonial Cases

R v. Clayton, 1913


R. v. Clayton

Consular Court, Tientsin
Source: The China Mail, 9 July 1913



Tientsin, June 20.

Before W. Meyrick Hewlett, Esq., Acting Consul-General.

Rex. v. S. C. CLAYTON.

Sydney Charles Clayton was charged with having forged and uttered an endorsement on a bank cheque, thereby defrauding the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation of $148.

Mr. Brenan, the Registrar, who prosecuted, said the proceedings were taken under section 40 of the Forgery Act, 1861.  He proposed to call witnesses to show that the prisoner recently arrived in Tientsin, that he said he was a mining engineer, that he tried to get employment in the railway department, and that evidently he was short of funds.  Finding, however, that the banks would not cash cheques without endorsement of some notable resident, he made the acquaintance of Mr. Sheppard and asked him to endorse a cheque.  This Mr. Sheppard refused to do but gave him, however, a note of introduction. It would be shown that the prisoner forged Mr. Sheppard's name to the endorsement and on the strength of the signature received the sum of $148 on it.

Mr. Percy Augustus Sheppard, clerical assistant in the Chief Assistant Engineer's Department, Chinese Government Railways, deposed that on June 16 the prisoner called at the office and in conversation with him said that he had been on the Burma Railways and had come straight from there.  He said he was looking for work on the Chinese Government Railways.

On June 21, after the defendant had interviewed Mr. Cox, the head of that department, witness had a conversation with him in the course of which he produced a cheque drawn on the Calcutta Branch of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank.  He asked witness to endorse it as, he said, they could not get it cashed without endorsement.  Witness refused.  Prisoner then asked witness to give him a chit to the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, and the request was complied with. 

The cheque and the chit were shown to witness, who said the signature on the cheque was not his own.  As far as his recollection went the cheque the prisoner showed him was for Rupees 440.

Mr. Hewlett: Have you any question to ask the witness?

Prisoner: No; what Mr. Sheppard says is quite true.

Mr. Douglas H. Mackintosh, agent of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Tientsin, said he first saw the prisoner on June 21`.  A card was sent into his office bearing the name of "S. C. Clayton."  The prisoner came in and brought a letter of introduction from Mr. Sheppard.  The letter simply introduced him that name ands stated that the prisoner was anxious to obtain employment.  The letter made no mention of a cheque or any other matter.  The prisoner then produced a cheque for either 440 or 460 rupees, the witness could not recollect which.  He could not swear to the signature, although he was told the name at the time.  The cheque was drawn on the Calcutta Agency of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank.

In the course of the conversation prisoner said he was "in the Munsters," which witness took to mean that he belonged to then Munster Fusiliers.  He refused the request of the prisoner top honour the cheque because it was not endorsed by anyone locally, and he knew nothing about the prisoner. He was not aware of the fact at the time but the prisoner had been in the office on the previous day and had left a card bearing the name of "A. G. Sinclair."

Mr. Harold Ernest Blunt, an assistant in the Peking Branch of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, said that he had first seen the cheque on the morning of Monday, June 20, when it was sent in by the prisoner, whom he recognized.  The prisoner handed in his card and said, "Will you please cash this cheque for me?" at the same time handing a card on which was printed, "Mr. A. G. Sinclair, Ninth Soudanese, Egyptian Army and United Services Club."  The witness said he did not know the name of the drawer, but he cashed the cheque because it bore the endorsement of Mr. Percy A. Sheppard.  If Mr. Sheppard's name had not been there would have instituted iniquities or asked some guarantee.

The charge was then read over to the prisoner.

Asked if he wished to say anything, prisoner, speaking in a low voice, said he was by profession a civil engineer and had been in Burma for the last three years and four months.  He left for China on May 11 last, in order to try and get work under the Chinese Government.  When he landed at Shanghai he came straight here; and, as Mr. Sheppard had stated in his evidence, he went to the railway offices.  He had the cheque with him and he thought he would ask Mr. Sheppard to endorse it.  He had intended to pay back the money before he left China.  He had intended to make a clean breast of it to Mr. Mackintosh, but he had failed at the last moment.  He had intended to refund the whole amount before the cheque was returned.

In reply to Mr. Hewlett, prisoner said he had no witnesses to call.  He had no friends in Tientsin.

Mr. Hewlett said he would require two sureties of £50 each and would require the prisoner to give personal security for £50.

The prisoner was committed for trial and was removed in custody. - "P. and T. Times."

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