CHARGE OF FORGERY.
A charge of forgery was hoard to-day by Mr Nugent Wood against Herman Cooper, Rakaia.Sergeant Felton, sworn, said—Prisoner was brought to me yesterday at Rakaia by Constable Rowse. The constable showed witness a cheque, which he said boro the signature u' Robert Patton, Methven. I know Air. Patton’s signature, and am sure that it w: s not his. Told the' constable to arrest pri oner, and charge him, with forging and uttering a cheque. Asked prison ;r if he understood the charge, and he rep ied-—“ Oh, yes. I did not write the cheque myself, bull know who did. I. suppose I’ll do twelve months for it.” Asked him his name. He said —“ I won’t give my name, it’s a respectable name, and has never been disgraced yet ; and, as I have done this foolish tiling, I’ll bear it.” By prisoner—You told me that you knew the man, hut did not know his name. You said nothing about finding the cheque about three miles from Methven.
Constable Rovvse—l went to Mr Hardy’s store at Rakaia yesterday, (the 9th) at about half-past four. Prisoner was in Mr Hardy’s office. I got a cheque from Mr. Hardy (produced). Px'isoncr said he received the cheque from Mr Patton of Methven, in payment of wages. The cheque was for Ll 3 4s and ho had been working for three months in a shingle pit for Mr Patton, Gave the cheque back to Mr Hardy. He returned it back to me with the words ‘‘signature unlike” marked on it. Prisoner said he did not write the cheque, but he knew who did, and wouldn’t tell. This was said on being taken to the lock-up. By prisoner--You told me yon did know the man who wrote the cheque. By the Sergeant—l remember you asking the man’s name, and saying that if you knew him you would subpoena him. 0. A. Q. Hardy —I am a merchant residing at Rakaia. I saw prisoner in my store at Rakaia yesterday. He purchased some goods to the value of L 3 11s Gd. He tendered the cheque in payment, produced. I doubted the signature, and he said he got it from Robert Patton, in wages. Thinking there might be a second Robert Patton, I asked if it was the hotel-keeper at Methven, and he said it was. I presented the cheque at the bank, and it was returned marked “ Signature unlike.” I gave the cheque to constable Rouse. The constable was in my office before the cheque went to the bank. In the constable’s presence I asked the prisoner his name, and lie said that was his name in the body of his cheque. I asked him to endorse the cheque and ho did so. He wrote both the names written on the cheque. Prisoner said be had got the cheque himself from Mr. Patton for working in a gravel pit. Robert Patton, hotelkeeper, Methven— I have a oanking account at the Now Zealand Bank, Rakaia, and have a chequebook from that bank. The first number in the cheque-book is c. 22,752, and the last c. 22,843. I miss three cheques from my books—c. 22,702-3-4. The cheque predated is c. 22,702 The signature to the cheque, “ Robert Patton,” is not mine. I have seen prisoner at my hotel, hut I never knew his name ; he was never in my employ, and I owe him no money I generally car. ymy (h qu. -book with me, but on occasions leave it in a private room. I always p; irk on the butt of a blank cheque the name of the person to whom it is given, and take the cheque from the back of the book, I am quite sure I never gave the prisoner a cheque, nor did I give the cheque produced to anyone. I was in town on the Gth, and the cheque-book was in ray private room. By prisoner—l never saw you in my private rooms—nowhere except in the bar. 1 do not remember when I saw you last at my hotel. V. A. Pyke—l am agent of the Bank of New Zealand at Rakaia. Mr Robert Patton has an account at our bank. The cheque-book produced was supplied by our bank to Bdr Robert Patton. At tire time the cheque-book was issued the cheque alleged to have been forged would have been in it. There are no two cheques of the same Bank of the same number. Three cheques have been torn out of the cheque book. The forged cheque is one of them It was presented for payment at the Bank yesterday. I refused to cash it because the signature was unlike Mr Patton’s. He is the only Robert Patton in the district. The prisoner said he did not write the cheque. The three cheques, as jar as he could see, had been stolen. He found the cheque in an old pocket book, about two or three miles from Methven. Ho could read and write his name in English, but was no scholar, and did not know whether the cheques was right or wrong. Did not sign the cheque on the front, but wrote the names on the back. I only told the policeman that I was working for Patton, but it was false, and was only told to get away. When asked to sign the declaration, prisoner simply wrote the word “ Edward.”
His Worship committed prisoner for trial at the next sitting of the Supreme Court at Christchurch.
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