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The Charges Against D. H. BROWN.

A LIGHT SENTENCE.

Davitl Hastings Brown was indicted at the Christchurch Supreme Court sittings yesterday, on five chargesfor having, on the 2nd September, 1889, falsely pretended that he had purchased certain grain to the amount of £106 ss, and thereby obtained the said sum of £106 5s ; and having on 12th September, 2nd October, 2Cth October, 4th December, 14th December, all m the year 1889, on the 15th April, 1890, whilst employed as the servant of the Bank of New Zealand, embezzled certain sums of money. The prisoner, for whom Mr Stringer appeared, pleaded "Guilty" to all the oharges. Mr Stringar said whilst he bore m mind the remarks made by his Honor m the preceding case, he should ask his Honor to bear with him a few moments, whilst he brought before him what he conceived were exceptional circumstances m this case. He should place before his Honor testimonials from business persons m Belfast, Ireland, all holding high positions, and speaking m the highest terms of the prisoner's probity and business ability. The prisoner came out to this colony, and waß engaged by Mr 0. W. Turner to superintend a mill at Ashburton. The relations between Mr Turner and the prisoner were of the most confidential, and not at all those of master and servant. The Bank took over the mill from Mr Turner, and then the prisoner made a claim for certain machinery which he had put into the mill and paid for. This was allowed by the Bank. Then prisoner was engaged as manager by the Bank, and there was then art amount which he had not the moral courage to tell the Bank that he alleged he had expended for machinery. This seemed to have raised m the mind of the prisoner a mad notion that he was entitled to repay himself, and then set m a course of conduct quite opposed to all his life previously. This had led to the cases which formed the subject of the charges now before the Court. The prisoner had made full restitution, and he would ask hia Honor to allow him to read the statement of Sergeant Felton, the Probation Officer at Ashburton, who unfortunately was prevented by the illness of his wife from being present. Sergeant Felton stated that the prisoner had borne an irreproachable character m Ashburton, that he had asked Sergeant Felton to report to him any cases of distress m any families, and that m many cases he had received orders from the prisoner for bread, flour and other necessaries to these families m distress. He had taken a leading part m the township m everything which was ior the public benefit, and he was esteemed and respected throughout the whole district. He (Mr Stringer) would also call Mr Turner to show what had been the course of conduct by the prisoner during the seven years he was with him. His Honor said that he was perfectly willing to accept all that Mr Scringer had said ; indeed, nothing could be stronger than the report of the Probation Officer, but still there was the fact that this man had taken the money of the Bank, and tliore was no evidence that restitution would have been made had it not been found out. Mr Stringer quite admitted the force of tho remarks of his Honor, but he would desire to call his Honor's attention to the absence of any criminal intent. He could on^y account for the conduct of the prisoner by attributing it to mental aberration on his part. He would now, with his Honor's permission, call evidence. Charles Wesley Turner deposed to the high opinion he had always held of the prisoner, and to the fact that he held a highly confidential position m connection with witness. A close audit bad been made of the accounts of the null at Timaru, which had been managed by prisoner, and everything was found to be perfectly light, W. J, Oreighton deposed to the authenticity of certain letters from firms and individuals m high positions m Ireland, giving the prisoner an excellent character. John Orr, merchant, Ashburton, deposed to the correctness of the report made by Sergeant Felton as to the conduct of the. prisoner, Witness had the lug-host opinion of Brown, and had, when making his will recently, put him m as trustee. His Honor asked Mr Stringer what possible ground the prisoner had for taking the money as due to him by the Bank 1 He had made a claim against the Bank, which was paid. How then could he suppose that there was further indebtedness on the part of the Bank to him? Mr Stringer said that the prisoner had esxpended stijll further sums beyond that charged by him to, the Ba,nk, but had not the mora} courage to state it, His Honqr said Qf course Mr Stringer ncight have been instructed to that effect, but there was no evidence of any *urther ex.pe,ndjtwe beyond the amount paid. Did Mr Turner know anything of the further expenditure ? Mr Stringer said that the prisoner had put the machinery m the mill without Mr Turner's knowledge or consent, m order, as he put it, tp make th© m\\\ a great sucpe^jj 0. W. Turner, recalled, stated that the prisoner had told him some two months ago that he had put this £500 worth of machinery into the mill without his knowledge or consent. He then further stated that he had put a larger sum into the nd\\ but he had no vouchers for it. His Honor asked Mr Turner whether it was possible for £2000 to be expended m machinery m his mill without hia knowing it. Mr Turner said he did not fchink ifc was possible, Ho was astonished whes he heard of jt. The prisoner made a statement to. the effect that he had increased the working of the mill from 10Q tons* per- week to 150 tons, and anyone who knew anything about mUl'Working would know that this would cost £-2000. He had spent that money on the mill hoping to make it better for Mr Turner's sake. There was one machine alone, besides the one paid for by the Bank, which had cost £300. The mill had earned £22,000 during the five years he had had charge of it, which would not have been the case had it not been for him. The Bank had had every farthing of the money restored, and they also had the £9OQO worfyi of machinery., which he had put m there. They, hag" the flesh and the blood, too, and jf he was sentenced, he would try, with God's help to bear it, and when he came out to show the world that he, was still an honesit m^n. He affirm,ed that every farthing had been,* paid) ajnd, tl\at the,re w,er,e r^ce^p,^ to, nrqy.e it. He ha,d acted, wrcmgly. he knew w endeavoring- to pay himself, but ho had no criminal intent, as every penny had been spent with a view to make the mill a greater success. His Honor said that it was not a question as between the prisoner and the Bank, but as between the prisoner and the country. He was quite willing to take in*o consideration th.c fftcifc t&M'i?eati» tution hac} been made, and also tW- the previous character of the prisoner was excellent, and therefore to pass a comparatively light sentence, which to a man like the prisoner, who had occupied the position he had, would be a heavy p^nisjiment. The sentence of the Court wou^d be that the prisoner be imprisoned for twelve calendar months, witl|i hard labor, on all' the indictments, to run concurrently,

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900819.2.5

Bibliographic details

The Charges Against D. H. BROWN., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2495, 19 August 1890

Word Count
1,291

The Charges Against D. H. BROWN. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2495, 19 August 1890

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