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CHRISTCHURCH, February 16. Mr Justice Denniston sentenced, the, prisoners concerned in the Customs fraud cases to-day. He said the prison-, ers had pleaded" guilty to a series ■ of, deliberate frauds against the Customs, and employers, and had also admitted \ being guilty of a large number of similar frauds not included in the charges. These extended over a - period of, years,, but the practice of destroying the re- , cords every three years made it impossible to follow the frauds to, their „ inception. It.was quite clear that the system by which the,. frauds became possible had heen in existence for many years, and the amount actually lost by the Customs was very large. The Court did not propose to make the prisoners the scapegoats for anything thai" was past, but it must inflict substantial sentences. He had endeavoured to ascertain what extenuating circumstances ' existed in each case.

Addressing John McCormick, Customs clerk, the Judge, said that frauds were traced to him, in conjunction with C. R. Smith, to the amount iof £4673, and it appeared certain that tho frauds went beyond three years. John' ; Hill, a Customs officer, had been in the service for 17 years, and was responsible for misappropriations amounting to £2500; during the last three years he was the owner of property of considerable value, the source of which was not. explained. McCormick and Hill were'sentencedto three years' imprisonment each. Ernest Walter Wood was " responsible 1 for the misappropriation of £2500 in' three years, and had spent it in selfindulgence, and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Other sentences wore: —James Campbell, Hugh Owen, a.nd Francis Leigh, 18 months; C. R. Smith, 12 monthsGeorge Francis, who offended - for ia brief period only under severe temptation, was ordered to come up for sentence when called. Mr Justice'Denniston added that he would recommend that Wood,' Campbell, Owen, Leigh, and Smith- be sent to prison camps.

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Bibliographic details

CUSTOMS FRAUDS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8795, 16 February 1914

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CUSTOMS FRAUDS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8795, 16 February 1914

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