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On This Day



In On This Day

By Nicola Gauld

On This Day, 23 July 1917

On 23, Jul 2017 | In On This Day | By Nicola Gauld

Birmingham Mail

Monday 23 July 1917




George William Boston, Aston Lane, Perry Barr, appeared before the Stipendiary (Lord Ilkeston) at the Birmingham Police Court, to-day, to answer a series of charges of embezzlement and falsification of the books of the now defunct St. Stephen’s Liberal Club Money Society, formerly carried on in Summer Lane, of which he was secretary.

Mr. Graham Milward (instructed Mr. W. H. Stoddard), agent of the Director Public Prosecutions) prosecuted, and explained that as in the case of other similar societies the members of this particular society took shares, paying so much per share, and they borrowed money on their shares. When they borrowed in this way they gave promissory notes for the amount, which was covered by two sureties. Defendant had been secretary of the society 10 or 12 years until it was wound up in 1915 by order of the court, and Mr. C. T. Appleby was appointed liquidator. No regular statement of accounts was made for the year 1914, but there had in previous years. While Mr. Appleby, with the help of the defendant, was getting out the financial statement, matters came up of such character that Mr. Appleby laid them before the Public Prosecutor, who ordered proceedings against the defendant. There were altogether five charges, the first of which related to a cheque paid to the defendant on behalf of the society by Richard William Pearson, who appeared from time to time to have been treasurer. Mr. Pearson had two shares, both of were in arrear in 1912, and in August in that year Mr. Pearson received a cheque in payment moneys due to him from the Liberal Club amounting to £26, which he handed to defendant in part payment of his arrears in connection with the Money Society, but no credit was given in the books of the society for the £26, neither in the 1912 nor the 1913 balance sheets. In March, 1914, after the winding up of the society had been resolved upon, defendant debited his own account with the society to the amount of £26, and credited Pearson’s two accounts with £13 each. He (Mr. Milward) suggested that the society never received Pearson’s £26, and that the money which was credited to Pearson’s accounts in 1914 was paid from defendant’s own pocket.

In the second case Albert Edward Humphreys, a member of the society, borrowed £40 to enable him to purchase an insurance book. He repaid £9 18s., and when in 1907 he sold his insurance book he paid the balance of £30 2s. to the defendant and received his promissory notes duly cancelled. No entry of this money appeared either in the cash or contribution books of the society.

In the third case a member named Edward Harold Kench also borrowed money for the purchase of an insurance book in January, 1907. Forty-one pounds twelve shillings and sixpence was owing, and Kench repaid that amount to defendant the following February. No mention of it was found in the society’s books.

The fourth case related £25 15s., balance of a loan of £60 obtained by a member named Peter Holt in 1900 which was paid by cheque to defendant on April 26, 1909.

The fifth related a loan a family named Ward, amounting to £8 17s. 3d.

Mr. C. T. Appleby, the liquidator, produced the books the society, and gave evidence with reference to the various transactions.

Mr. Ward was proceeding with cross-examination when the Stipendiary adjourned the hearing till Wednesday morning.