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Colonial Cases

R. v. Moses, 1862


R. v. Moses

Supreme Court, Hong Kong?
December 1862
Source: Empire (Sydney), 28 February 1863



(From the Hong Kong Daily Press.)

His Lordship took his seat on the bench at half-past 9 a.m., when the following gentlemen were empannelled jurors: - Messrs.          F. M. Harsant, C. C. Cohen, F. Frere, J. Simson, M. P. de Rosario, A. Ridget, A. K. Watson.

   Ezekiel Moses Moses was arraigned at the bar, charged with cheating the Commercial Bank of the sum of Rs. 16,462.8.  The prisoner pleaded not guilty.

The Attorney-General, with Mr. Pollard, prosecuting.  

Mr. J. I. Reed, with Mr. J. Smale, defended the prisoner.

The Attorney-General, in opening the case to the jury, said that he should so neither the case or the jury justice in laying it before them as one of a very extraordinary character.  The only extraordinary feature in he case was the audacity with which the offence had been committed - the ingenuity with which it had been carried out by two persons - one, the prisoner at the bar and his accomplice one David Salah Levi, who, looking at all the circumstances, he had not thought proper to indict, but at the proper time should put into the witness box - considering it better that one should be thus dealt with, than that both should go unpunished. 

   The prisoner at the bar was the son of a man who had lived and died in this colony, and had been a highly respected merchant. The father left a widowed mother whose anxiety for her son had brought up his learned friend, Mr. Reed, from Calcutta, and if with his attainments the learned gentleman should succeed in clearing the prisoner he (the Attorney-General) would only be too well pleased.  He asked the jury conscientiously to discharge their duties, and the result whatever it might be, would be gratifying.

   The evidence to be brought forward would prove that Levi and the prisoner had been acquainted for years - that Levi had visited this place several times ostensibly for purposes of trade, and that in January last, Levi came to Hongkong, went and resided with the prisoner, and at prisoner's house they first concocted this fraud.  In pursuance of the plot a godown was taken by the prisoner, ostensibly  as a house for manufacturing ghee, and there certain cases purporting to contain silk, and certain others purporting to be Manila cigars, were packed.  The cases were shipped, and bills of lading, and insurance papers, were taken to the Commercial Bank, and on them was obtained the sum of Rs. 16,462.5.  Levi, as had also been previously agreed upon, left Hongkong; and some documents in the handwriting of the prisoner, found on his person, show that there was some crime in which he was engaged in connection with Levi, and that the escape of Levi would [assure] his own escape.  One of these is such as it seems hard to believe would never have been written by any person who believes in the Almighty, be he Jew or Christian.  The first in the order of date, reveals the guilty conscience, and in it the prisoner prays to God for the escape of Levi.  It commences "In the name of God," and is followed by the beautiful proverb "let us labour, and may we prosper."  It is the following:-

"(In the name of God - let us labour and may we prosper!)

That I, Ezekiel Moses Moses, hereby affirm that if three months after this date viz: the 10th of Ayar 5622 (10th May, 1862), provided that David Salah Levi not having been captured either by the Bank or any other person, whether at Galle in Ceylon, or any other part of the world, wheresoever the said David may be, but that he should have got on free from the 1st Ayar 5622 (- 1st May, 1862), until the end of Tamuz (- June) I shall contribute to the following charities of our sages: may their righteousness shield us:

Rabbi Meyer the Miracle-worker Five

                                                       Mexican Dollars     5     dollars

Rabbi Ezra the Scribe                                   do            5     dollars

Rabbi Ezekiel the prophet                             do           5     dollars

The Patriarchs                                               do           5     dollars

The Mothers                                                 do            5     dollars

Rabbi Simeon the son of Yohai

                Two and a half                             do          2 ½   dollars

Rabbi Elisha the son of the High Priest    do           2 ½   dollars

Rabbi Joshua            do do                         do            2 ½   dollars


                                                         32 ½ dollars     

   Making in all thirty-two and a half dollars which in the event of David Salah Levi, not being captured till three months after the above day.  I shall forthwith pay the said amount of 32 ½ dollars, in accordance with the respective names aforesaid, giving each one his due.  But if, God forbid! David Salah Levi (may it never happen!) be captured within these three months, I shall then not pay even a single farthing, so therefore if my wish is granted, I shall readily discharge my obligations.  Now I pray God that you (the aforementioned sacred persons) may be pleased to implore for mercy on out behalf, so that David Selah Levi might escape and not be captured.

This has come to pass and has been inscribed in the Port of Honking.


   But the prisoner's guilt was such that he dared not remain here.  He went off to Shanghai; it was too hot for him there; he returns to Hongkong finds it too hot for him here, and then goes to Canton, where he lived under the assumed name of Ezekiel Solomon.  And while at Canton he enters into further contract with the Almighty that a Chinaman who was concerned with them in an opium fraud may not be discovered.  This is similar to the foregoing, contributions being made to the same sacred persons, though the amount does not speak largely for the prisoner's generosity.  The document is the following:-

"(In the name of God - let us labour and we may prosper!)

That I Ezekiel Moses Moses, hereby affirm that if from the date of this the 25th Ayar 5622 (-25th May, 1862) until the end of 30th Ayar 5622 (- 30th May, 1862), no one can discover the Chinaman, or the carrier of the opium, and in short nothing becomes known as regards the affair of D. S. Levi, I shall contribute to the following charities of our sages, may their righteousness shield us:-

Rabbi Meyer the miracle workers one Rupee of

English currency                                                                                     Rs. 1

Rabbi Simeon the son of Yohai                                                                    1

Ezekiel the Prophet                                                                                     1

Rabbi Ezra the Scribe                                                                                   1

The Patriarchs                                                                                               1

The Mothers                                                                                                  1

Rabbi Elisha the son of the High Priest                                                        1

Rabbi Joshua the son of the High Priest                                                       1

Making in all eight English Rupees, so that if ton-night please God or to-morrow when I shall be going down to Hongkong if I hear good news, as for instance everything being quiet concerning D. S. Levi until the 30th Ayar 5622 (- 30th May, 1862) I shall forthwith pay the amount above written.  But if on the other hand I head bad news (which God forbid) such as laying hold of the Chinaman, or the police discovering anything on the subject of David Levi or my name be brought into it, I shall then not pay even a single farthing.

This came to pass and was inscribed in Hongkong.  EZEKIEL MOSES MOSES.

   The Attorney General asked the jury for a fait deliberate opinion upon these documents - could they have ever been penned by an innocent person? The last of these blasphemous documents was written on the 3rd of June, 1862, and is a renewal of the obligation.  It is as follows:-

That as in No. 2 from the date of this the 5th of Seewan 5622 (3rd June 1862,) until the 12th of Seewan 5622 (10th June 1862) that is by the time the mail steamer China from Bombay momentarily expected might be coming with no news, whereby I mean that id D. S. Levi has not been captured in Galle or any other place, until the departure of the steamer from  Galle, but the bringing news that D. S. Levi was not seen, then I shall contribute for this excellent piece of news to the following, &c., as in No. 2.

   But if, God forbid, the mail steamer which left  Bombay on the 13th of May, 1862, wither the "China" pr some other one, beings the news of D. S. Levi's capture at Galle or any other place, I shall then not pay even  single farthing.  However, if I hear good news as regards D. S. Levi I shall readily discharge my obligation in accordance with the respective names aforesaid, giving each one his due.  Now I pray to God that I should be the receiver of joyful intelligence and hear that D. S. Levi could not be captured, so that I may pay the above money.

This came to pass and was inscribed at Canton this the 5th of Seewan 5622 - (3rd June.)  EZEKIEL MOSES MOSES.


   And as if in punishment for his guilty conduct, his guilty fear leads him on the same day to wrote a letter, under the signature of "E. Solomon," addressed to one Moses a brother in this colony, and which letter came into the hands of the highly respectable firm of Moses & Co., and was opened by their partner, Reuben Solomon by mistake, and thus found its way into the hands of the prosecution in the present case.  This letter furnishes additional corroboration as to the prisoner being mixed up in the transaction and in it he seeks to have the person to whom it is addressed ascertain what news the incoming mail brings affecting Levi, and urges upon the addressee that he will lose no time in answering the letter, and that he must not mind if it is the Sabbath day, as his (Prisoner's) heart is troubled and it therefore becomes a pious act!  But the most ingenious document of all is in the transaction which in all ability and ridicule cast into the shade all the efforts of great novel writers - which was still better as being a narrative of facts, was in the handwriting of the prisoner.  It was dated the 9th day of June, 1862, just nine days after Levi was taken into custody, and was addressed to Isaac Daniel (Levi), and was found in Moses' possession.  This was the original, and the duplicate had been forwarded to Cairo or Alexandria.

   Mr. Reed objected to the letters being read, on the ground that the translation was incorrect; and if it went to the jury in that form, a false impression would be made on their minds.

   After a considerable discussion, from which it appeared, that Mr. Sassoon had translated all the documents at the request of the magistrate who deemed him most competent for the purpose, the following letter was read:-

To ISAAC DANIEL, Cairo or Alexandria.

My friend, I now come to acquaint you with the doings of our place according to your request, of whatever that occurred or came to pass after your departure from our place.  On that day no one knew that you left, but the next day Aaron Gubbay asked why David had not come to make the Passover last night, and why has he not come to eat at our place? Is it that he is angry with us?  I answered him, "Faith I do not know whether he is angry or not, and I have not seen him myself."  Then the question dropped until three days after your departure, when they again asked about you.  Why is he not coming to eat?  Well, at that moment Aaron Moshee said, that it is likely that David had absconded in the mail steamer and Emmanuel also said that he must have fled by the mail.  Then they sent Mordecai Phineas Cohen to look after you at all the Hotels, and Mordecai went to the Commercial Hotel, where they told him, that a short and fair man took his trunk away from our place on the 15th of April at 12 o'clock.

   Mordecai Phineas then came to Gubbay's house and narrated the whole affair, when everyone exclaimed that he has positively fled in the small steamer.  Aaron Gubbay asked me whether David owes any money to the Chinese in the Bazaar.  I answered, yes, he is indebted.  Then he told me to go immediately and make enquiries in the Bazaar to what extent is David indebted to the Bazaar.  I went to the Bazaar and returned, saying, that David owes to the Chinese over seven thousand dollars, and there are other Chinese who are his creditors, but I know nothing more nor will I go to enquire, for what is it to me? - I also said to the Gubbay's that David Levi owes me 500 dollars and he took the trunk and ran away.  Aaron Gubbay then said, "You will not lose your 500 dollars, he will send your money back to you, but the Chinese have lost their money to a certainty."  The Aaron Moshee and Emmanuel clamoured against you very much; but Aaron Gubbay and S. D. Gubbay, and the other Jews, did not mention your name either for good or evil.

   On the 19th of April, 1862, that is four days after your departure, the 'Fiery Cross' left our port and all the Jews wrote by her that David fled by the mail steamer and took money away from the Chinese, and I have also written the same thing to Abraham Loddi that David took over 50,000 dollars from the Chinese, and fled in the small steamer. Afterwards everything remained quiet until the 24th April, 1862, when the steamer 'Aden' came from Shanghai (i.e. nine days after you have taken your departure) and brought the news that you shipped 20 chests Patna to Shanghai, and Moses & Co., as soon as they got your letter not to accept the Bill, they went over to the Bank at Shanghai, informed the manager that Mr. D. S. Levi wrote us two letters, in the one he desires us to sell his Opium at a profitable rate, and in the other not to accept the bill, and particularly urged upon us not to do so.

   Suspicion in consequence, crossed the mind of the manager of the Bank and he forthwith went on board and opened all the chests of Opium, but found in them gunny bags and stones.  Then the manager of the Bank w axed very wroth, because you wrote to Moses & Co. not to accept the Bill, and that consequently you must have filled the chests with stones.  Well, immediately upon the return of the "Aden" to Hongkong, the manager of the Bank at Shanghai wrote to the manager of the Bank at Hongkong, that, you are to catch Mr. Levi quickly for he has played us such a trick! The letters per "Aden" came out at night, and the next day at 11 o'clock, the manager of the Bank at Hongkong wrote a letter to your address, which letter was brought to me, they thinking that you are living in my house.  Now as soon as I saw the letter in your name, I at once wrote as letter to the manager of the Bank at Hongkong, that Mr. Levi is not residing in my house.  Then all the Parsees went to the manager of the bank and told him that Mr. Levi is a rogue and a swindler, and he has formerly also done some things of this kind.  Oh! the unfortunate manager of the bank did not believe them; he said that it was a lie, and that Mr. Levi was an honest man, perhaps the Chinese defrauded him.

   The letter that he wrote to you was couched in very respectful language, saying "That such an event had occurred at Shanghai and to have the kindness to send me 13,000 dollars which you have received from me;" for he believed you to be a merchant. Well, until 2 o'clock of that day, the manager of the bank was looking after you, but did not find you, and at 3 o'clock that day, the manager of the Bank wrote as letter in my name wherein he says that if I will be pleased to inform him where Mr. Levi is living, and which is his residence, for he wished to send to him a letter.  As soon as I got this letter I sent him an answer, saying, that as regards Mr. Levi I don't know where he stays and from the 14th of April, 1862, I never saw him, and I neither know whether he has taken his departure or not; this was my reply to him.

   Now come, and behold!  These Jews of Hongkong (may their name and remembrance be obliterated), the next day opened their mouths saying that I am a partner with you, and that I am aware of all your acts.  Aaron Moshee, Emmanuel and Reuben Sassoon loudly grumbled against you.  Aaron Moshee said that if they gave me 5000 Rs., I will capture David Levi at Cairo! And poor Aaron Gubbay and S. D. Gubbay, and also the house of David Sassoon, they are all silent about you.  Those that speak loudly of you they limit their abuses to your own self but they do not being either your mother's or your late father's name.

   I also wrote to my honoured mother and to my sisters, at Calcutta, that they dare not traduce or abuse your parents, and I have most forcibly urged upon them this subject, but even in Calcutta no one mentions your parents' name.

   I further tell you that Aaron Moshee, Emmanuel and Agabeg, whenever they find an opportunity they throw out hints to my connection with you, and I consequently had as very serious quarrel with them when Aaron Gubbay took my part and conciliated me.  So since this quarrel took place they never say anything before me. but behind my back they talk a great deal, and I hear of it from outside.

   Now I come to tell all about the Calcutta news!  When the str. Thunder reached Calcutta with your bill on your father-in-law, the same was taken to him but he would not accept it, and the manager of the Bank, Mr. Clinker (who was formerly in Hongkong but left in the "Thunder" for Calcutta) when he saw that Ezekiel Bushee, your father-in-law, would not accept the bill, he called for Abraham Reuben Luddi, and told him why Mr. Ezra does not consent to accept the bill? The said Abraham answered, I don't know wherefore he does not accept the hill.  Mr. Clinker then asked Abraham Luddi to accept Mr. Levi's Bill himself and take delivery of the goods and sell them on account of Mr. Levi of Hongkong. Abraham Luddi replied that 'as I have not received a letter from Mr. Levi I cannot accept the bill.' And thus ended the conversation between the manager and Abraham Luddi, although at the time all the Jews of Calcutta believed the goods to be proper, and worth about 2000 dollars - but that you drew against them more than they were worth.

   On the 11th April, 1862, the manager called for Abraham Luddi and told him that I intend to land the goods to-day from the streamer to the Customs House and then I will send them to be sold by public auction, and I should like you to be present at the sale to afford me some assistance in their disposal.  Abraham answered 'very well I will come and help you.'  Then both the manager of the bank and Abraham Luddi went and landed the goods from the ship to the Custom House, where the chests were opened, and in them were found pieces of stone and gunny bags.  In some of the cigar cases were found coals, onion skin, old shoes, &c. The manager of the bank then got exceedingly angry and said to Elias David and E .S. Gubbay that D. S. Levi is not known to me, but that Mr. Moses at Hongkong told me that Mr. Levi is an honest as well as a wealthy man, and I bought the Bill from Mr. Levi upon the strength of Mr. Moses accompanying him to the bank. 

   The Elias Gubbay and Elias David told the manager, Mr. Clinker, that such and such are the misdeeds of S. F. Levi, and that four times before this he was guilty of such fraudulent acts, and that he is a notorious rogue and a cheat.  Then the manager got into a most immoderate passion and sent after Abraham Luddi and told him 'why did Mr. Moses say of Mr. Levi that he was as good man, since Moses must have known Levi to be a bad character?  He was the cause of my doing business with him, and now we have thus been most monstrously imposed upon.' Abraham Luddi answered that he knew nothing about the matter.  Immediately after this the Jews of Calcutta (may their name and remembrance be obliterated!)  began to talk amongst themselves to the effect that Ezekiel must have unquestionably gone shares with David, or what motive could he have had in telling the manager of the bank that he was an upright man except his being a partner with him, for Ezekiel knows David Levi well to be a consummate rascal, how would he take him to the bank.  Thus the Calcutta Jews left you in the background and began to vilify me, and verily there was no end to the calumnies I suffered at their hands, cursed be they!

   Now I come to tell you what I suffered myself since the arrival of the "Thunder" to this port on the 9th May 1862, with a warrant against you.  The Parsees (cursed be they) like Ruttonjee, Pestonjee and others, went and told the manager of the Commercial Bank, who is a fresh arrival from Bombay, that Mr. Moses knows all about the business done by D. S. Levi at Hongkong, that is, his ordering the chests and filling them with pieces of stone which was done in Mr. Moses' own godown, for Mr.. Moses had gone shares with Mr. Levi, as these Parsees saw me at that godown clarifying ghee, and thought you have packed the chests there, and did all your affairs in that godown of mine; so they said to the new manager who lately came from Bombay, in Mr. Clinker's place.  On that same day the Jews also joined with the Parsees and began to talk in the same way, which caused suspicion in the mind of the manager, and he informed the police to look at my godown and see if they can discover the plot.  Well, afterwards the manager and the police went to look at my godown where they could only find some coolies clarifying ghee. They made enquiries of these coolies and of the neighbouring builder, and the poor builders would not condemn themselves, but said they did not see any chests of opium coming out of that godown, but since the last fortnight saw people clarifying ghee in the godown.  This was the answer the builders gave to the police.  Then the police went to look after the coolies, that carried the opium to the boat, and also after the boat which took it to the steamer "Aden," and the Parsees, the manager, and the police gave liberal gratuities, but still they could not discover the transaction.  None of the Chinese would damn their fates and reveal this scheme, and verily it was the act of God (blessed be his name) that no one consented to say a word on this subject.

   Let me add that the police tried very hard to discover this plot, but they would not, and when I saw that there was such a hubbub in Hongkong and the police searching every corner about this affair, I felt frightened that my name will be implicated in the matter, so I determined to go up to Shanghai; when I was on the point of starting the Parsees (cursed be they!) went and told the manager of the bank in Hongkong that Mr. Moses is running away to Shanghai, and now while you are trying to discover this plot, whom are you to seize if you make any discoveries?  As soon as the manager heard this he went to the police office, and took the superintendent with him, and thus both came to me and said, that "as Mr. D. S. Levi was living with you, you must know where he could have gone to; you also brought D. S. Levi to Mr. Clinker and recommended him saying he was a good man and we are to do business with him and upon the strength of your word we bought bills from D. S. Levi; we know you, but we do not know Levi."  The manager of the bank further told me that "as you were aware of D. S. Levi's previous bad conduct when he ran away with the shawls in India without paying for them, how was it that you told Mr. Clinker that Mr. Levi was a good man and to do business with him?"

   Then the superintendent said that we only want to know where did Mr. Levi go to, and you need not be afraid but tell us the truth; then they conversed with me for a long time trying if they can make me blunder out something whereby to entrap me, so I got very angry and gave them such good answers that they could not by any means get hold of me, and I said that "Mr. Levi had been four times previous to this in Chinas, when he had commercial dealings with the Chinese, the banks, &c., and he was not guilty of any deception, but all his transactions were of a very equitable nature, so how could I know Mr. Levi's heart?  But even at this moment I cannot bring myself to believe that Mr. Levi was capable of acting in this way with you perhaps the Chinese have imposed upon him."

   The manager then said, "I cannot believe that the Chinese could have imposed upon him, because he wrote to Moses & Co., at Shanghai not to accept the bill, consequently none other but Levi could be guilty of this."  He then pressed me hard not to go to Shanghai for a fortnight, after which I might go wherever I liked.  I then began to talk to him with a determined air, saying that I did large business with Shanghai where I sent some goods and I must go there to dispose of them myself.  To be short there was much talk between us, the bankers and the superintendent attempted to get something out of me in order to imprison me, but (God dirtied their faces) i.e I frustrated their vile design, so they went away.

   I accordingly left for Shanghai and the very day of my arrival the Jews there would not have anything to do with me, and they eschewed my presence by every means.  The next day I saw an Englishmen belonging to the Commercial Bank, then coming to the hotel where I was staying, to enquire whether Mr. Moses was living in it, and he was answered in the affirmative.  Afterwards, as I was walking in the streets, I met the captain of Messrs. Sassoon's ships, who told me, that the Hongkong manager of the bank wrote to the Shanghai manager, to keep an eye on you as to where you are living, and, whether it is your intention to proceed. I asked what was the good of their doing so.  The captain then answered saying, that in Hongkong, they are searching after the place where Mr. Levi packed the opium and other boxes, and that furthermore, if the Chinese say that Moses was also in company with Levi and that as soon as the news reaches here from Hongkong, you can be seized, which is the reason the bank people are keeping such a sharp look out after you.  Well, when I heard all this from Messrs. Sassoon's Captain, I became exceedingly terrified and wanted to go over to Japan but was afraid to do so because I was told that there is an English consul in Japan who can lay hold of a British subject and try him there.  Thus I found myself in a fix, and it was evident that no good could be derived from my stay in Shanghai; for I said to myself, perchance the secret of the affaires might come out and the Chinaman discover who may say that Mr. Moses was also in company with Mr. Levi; in consequence of all this I at once fled from Shanghai and came back to Hongkong clandestinely, and no one knew anything about my return from Shanghai.  Well at night I quietly slipped into a boat and went over to Macao, which place I also entered at night, and stayed in a hotel, without going out at all, in order that I might daily hear of what was passing in Hongkong.  I lived at Macao for 20 days, and nothing new has taken place in Hongkong, where they could not discover anything as to who brought the chests or who shipped them.

   After the expiration of the 20 days I came back from Macao to Hongkong, where I showed myself in public and gave out that I went over to Japan, and that I have this day returned from that country.  Then I decided to go to Alexandria by the mail, but did not carry out my intention because then the Jews would have become perfectly positive that I had a hand in Levis's affair, and that I was going to meet him; so I said to myself, let me remain here for two or three months and then I will go to Calcutta and afterwards from Calcutta I will make people believe that I am going to Ceylon to be married, and by this ruse I will come to your place at Alexandria, with the help of God.

   The Attorney general thought it perfectly clear that the prisoner was taking part with Levi in the fraud; the act of one was the act of both.  There was abundant evidence in the case, and D. S. Levi would be called at the close to substantiate it.

   Patrick Ross Harper, examined. - I Interim Agent at Hongkong for the Commercial Bank of India; last became so on the 24th April, 1862.  Took possession of the records of the bank.  Identifies the documents put in as parts of those records, viz: the third of a bill of exchange dated 18th March, 1862, drawn by S. S. Levi on Ezekiel Ezra, Calcutta, for Rs. 16, 462.8, endorsed by Levi to the Bank; a bill of lading, per steamer Thunder, for 22 boxes Manila cigars and 12 boxes sulk piece goods; a letter of hypothecation to the bank of 22 boxes Manila cigars, and 12 boxes silk piece goods; protest and report of survey.

   Mr. Reed objected to the reception of several documents, but his objection was overruled.

   Sorabjee Patell, examined. - Knew the prisoner - had known him for the last five or six years.  Remembered about the 19th of March prisoner came to him accompanied by Levi.  Levi spoke in Hindustani.  Prisoner requested witness to stop a while, and pointed out Levi, and said, "Here's a merchant who wants to transact business through you."  Witness did not know Levi before.  He asked what the business was, and Levi took out a bill of exchange from his pocket - the whole set of three.  (Witness then identified bill of exchange produced in court.)  The third, for Rs. 9765, drawn by the Commercial Bank here, on the branch at Calcutta, was shown to witness.  He asked at what rate Levi would sell, and Levi asked at a better rate for the purchase; he said he bought Rs. 217 ½ per 100 dollars from the Commercial Bank and would sell at Rs. 218.  Witness asked, if he could do something more - it was then about three o'clock - and asked Levi if he knew his house.  Moses said he would bring him up.   Witness sold at Rs. 218 ½, to J. Asrdasir & Co., a little before 5 o'clock.  About half-past 5, Moses and Levi both came to his house.  He told them he had sold at Rs. 218 1/2 and the money should be paid on the following morning about 11 o'clock.

   Levi said, "We only come to tell you to draw two cheques, in two names for payment - 3,500 dollars in favour of Levi, and the balance in favour of Moses."  Witness replied, "That can't be done, because the bill has been sold for Levi alone, and J. Ardasir and Co. will not likely give any cheque in Moses' favour."  On the following day, about 11 o'clock, both came again together.  Levi asked for the cheque and witness took it to them near the house of J. Ardasir and Co.  Witness went in, and came out again with two cheques, one for 3,500 dollars, and the other for the balance, both in favour of Levi.  As he was in the act of giving the cheques to Levi, prisoner snatched them from his hand, and said something to Levi in Hebrew of which witness only understood "bank."  Prisoner then got into his chair and went off, Levi and witness walked on, and about 3 minutes after Levi asked, "Where are the cheques?"  Witness replied that Moses had taken them and gone to the bank, he supposed to collect the money.  Levi said, "He's a very bad man, and may forge them."  Witness replied, 'That can't be done - we had better follow him to the bank and catch him there."  They went in chairs to the bank, and found Moses at the door.  Witness asked for the cheques.  Prisoner showed them, and witness took them from his hand and gave them to Levi. Prisoner made no objection to that.  Witness then went away.

   Court adjourned till 10 a.m. to-morrow.


   His Lordship took his seat on the bench at 10 a.m.

   Mr. Pollard applied to have Mr. Crockett's evidence, regarding the apprehension of Levi, and the production of the documents in the case, put in.  Admitted.

   Arthur Abraham David Sassoon examined: Knows the prisoner at the bar - Ezekiel Moses Moses.  Was acquainted with his handwriting.  Believed the documents produced - the "promissory notes," the letter from Canton, addressed to prisoner's brother, the letter addressed to "Isaac Daniel," and the signatures to some other documents, in the name of Levi, to be in the handwriting of the prisoner.  He had seen these documents before at the magistrate's court, and had translated them, at the request of the magistrate Mr. May, and also at the request of Mr. Pollard.  Knew Hebrew from his infancy.  Had translated the papers to the best of his ability, and impartiality.  He had been told since he made the translation, that he had chosen some too strong words.

   Mr. Reed examined this witness at great length on the translation of four or five words in the letter to Isaac Daniel, but to no effect.

   Witness dross-examined: - Had been in communication with Mr. Harper on the case, but not recently.  Had seen Levi about it.  Told him that if he would make the best reparation in his power the bank would withdraw the charge against him.  He told him this in the magistrate's court, and in gaol.  Witness was told by Mr. Pollard to tell Levi that if he would make a clean breast of it, the Attorney General would not arraign him, and he would be let go.

   Mr. Pollard said he had made a formal application to the Attorney General, before Levi had disclosed any thing.

   Cross examination continued: Have seen the prisoner's brother, now sitting in court.  Never told any man that he (witness) would be the death of his brother.  Never told any man that he would be the death of Moses.  Witness had offered bets on the result of this case, bets that the prisoner would be convicted.  None of those bets were taken, everyone seemed to entertain the same opinion.

   Mr. Reed objected to the admission of the documents.  The long letter written by the party after everything was done - it was not an act in pursuance of the object charged - conspiracy to defraud the bank.  The whole document was simply a narrative of what other people day, and in which prisoner said nothing.

   Chief Justice: Oh, no! The writer says, "Imagine the consternation of the manager of the bank, when he found he had only got pieces of old leather, gunny bags, and stones."  This was an appeal to human nature, and addressed by one of the parties to the other.  His lordship had not been so long in the world without learning to take a worldly view of these matters.  (Laughter.)  The documents were admissible.

   Hormunjee Nowrojee Dadur, was examined as to the purchase of the bills from the broker.  Kwei Akwon, compradore of the Mercantile Bank, gave evidence as to the payment of the cheque; William Wilson, inspector of police, was examined as to the apprehension of the prisoner, and the papers found on his person.  Reuben Solomon, as to one of the letters produced in Court. William Gant, proprietor of the Canton Hotel, deposed that he knew the prisoner as "E. Soloman," and identified a hotel bill made out in that name, signed by himself, and paid by the prisoner.

   David Salah Levi, examined: It was agreed between prisoner and myself that the boxes were to be filled with worthless stuff, rubbish, and to be shopped, and money obtained on them.  Some boxes were to be represented as containing Manila cigars, and some silk piece goods.  The conversation and agreement took place in Moses'' house.  We had conversed about it two or three days.  Were to make two or three shipments and obtain about 39,000 dollars.  It was agreed that Moses should order the things, as the Chinaman was a friend of Moses and had done business with him before.  Afterwards the Chinaman asked Moses to get him a place to do this.  Moses went and looked for a place; found one, went to the landlord; here Moses did not want the agreement made out in his name, and I did not want it made out in mine, and it was agreed that it should be made out in the name of Daniel, whom I was to represent.  The landlord was a European, or Portuguese, and the godown was up the hill. Moses gave directions about packing the rubbish.  Boxes were prepared in consequence of his directions, and he went and got a shipping order.  He gave the order to the Chinaman to enable him to ship the boxes.  The boxes were taken on board the steamer by the Chinaman, and I returned to Moses' house. In about half-an-hour Moses returned, and in about two hours after the Chinaman returned with a receipt.

   Then Moses took me to the bank, where we saw Mr. Clinker.  Moses carried on the conversation with Mr. Clinker, who agreed to advance him money on Manila cigars and silk piece goods.  The bank people gave Moses some papers, and the prisoner and I went to the godown and prepared them, and returned to the bank. The prisoner filled up the bill of lading and bill of exchange and pencilled the signature and I wrote over it.  We went to the office, and there prisoner paid the freight, got the goods insured, and we went to the bank, gave over the papers, and got drafts on Calcutta.  We hold the drafts (repetition of the broker's evidence) *     *     *     *

Prisoner took 4000 of the amount, saying that 500 dollars was for expenses, and 3500 dollars his share of the account between us.  At the time we planned this fraud, a scale of division was agreed upon - two-thirds was to go to Moses, and one-third to myself.  One of the thirds retained by Moses was to be given to the bankers when we were found out.  This paper (produced in court) is a promissory note for 3500 dollars written by the prisoner, and given by him to me.  The object of that was, I feared that Moses might break faith with me in the future, and not compromise the case as agreed and then I had a hold over him. I saw Moses write it - it was written on the 20th March, 1862, payable at three days' sight.  It was agreed between us that I should leave the colony, and that the prisoner, after compromising with the bank, should follow, and meet me at Alexandria.  I was to go under the name of "Isaac Daniel," and Moses was to write to m4 by the first opportunity, giving all the news he could gather about the affair.

   Nothing was elicited in the cross-examination of this witness in the prisoner's favour.  To a question put by Mr. Reed, as to the witness's precious bad character, Levi answered that he had had a false charge brought against him at Calcutta, and he (Mr. Reed) had got him off! Which created some laughter in court.

   Court rose at 4 p.m.


   The case for the prosecution having closed,

   Mr. Reed said that he would not trouble the court with any evidence.  He said that he had been solicited by the mother of the prisoner, who was living at Calcutta, to come here and defend her son; but the mother was unable to understand the proceedings being taken against her son, and neither she nor any one else could give him any due of the nature of the charge he had to meet.  He had done all that lay in his power to do, but had felt himself incompetent to struggle against the mass of overwhelming evidence against his client; and he had, after consulting with his junior, advised the prisoner to plead guilty, and throw himself upon the mercy of the court, which the prisoner was now ready to do.  Mr. Reed knew that that appeal would not be in vain, when his lordship heard from witnesses of the previous good character of the prisoner.  He thought that his lordship must feel that the prisoner had been made the dupe of a man steeped in crime, - that man, who sold his accomplice, to go free, and his dupe is punished.

   The prisoner then withdrew the original plea of "not guilty," and pleaded guilty.

   Witnesses were called, who had known the prisoner for fifteen or twenty years, and knew him to bear a good character.

   The Attorney general said there were two other indictments against the prisoner, and the prosecution felt it their duty to press all three.

   Mr Pollard said that the appeal for mercy came so late that it would not entitle the prisoner to much consideration.  It was a plea of guilty, but was even now made on the advice of counsel.; This scheme of fraud had been a matter of deliberation for four months, and the gross amount of the frauds was about L. 8,000, and the prisoner, by the course he had taken, had put the bank to about L. 2,000 expense, only in prosecuting the case.

   The prisoner was then arraigned, and pleaded guilty to the charges on both indictments, by the advice of counsel.

   His lordship, in sentencing the prisoner, commended the course taken by the counsel who had watched the case most carefully, and had taken every objection possible; but each witness had only strengthened the one who had gone before, and it became clear that he could not do otherwise than plead guilty.  This was a proof of the wisdom of counsel, but did not evince any repentance on the part of the prisoner, of the offence he had committed.

   There were circumstance of mitigation; no one could fail to mark the youthfulness of the prisoner, who duped by the experienced old hand who would not trust him - Levi, ready to sink the prisoner to the lowest, while he goes away rejoicing.  It was more likely that the prisoner was Levi's, than Levi the prisoner's, dupe.  His lordship, after some further remarks, sentenced the prisoner to penal servitude for terms of three, two and one, years on the respective charges.

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