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THE MONEY-LENDING INQUIRY.…

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FORESTRY IN CHESTER. ol

ACTION AGAINST THE HIGH SHERIFF…

CHESTER EXTENSION PROPOSALS.…

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A SOLDIER'S STRANGE DEATH.…

COURT MARTIAL AT CHESTER.…

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COURT MARTIAL AT CHESTER. + QUARTER-MASTER SERGEANT'S SAD FALL. As briefly announced in our columns last week, a court-martial was opened at Chester Castle on Monday last, under the presidency of Colonel Cary, to investigate certain charges of irregularities against Quarter-Master Sergeant Ford, of the Cheshire Regiment. The chief accusation against the prisoner was that he had embezzled £ 10, which a private named Hollins- head had paid to procure his discharge. The case for the prosecution occupied Monday and Tuesday. Evidence was given to the effect that Hollinshead had paid the X10 to prisoner and that the latter had failed to account for it' The court sat again on Wednesday morning when Ford began his defence. He pleaded not guilty. On the 24th June, he said, he was sitting at the river side with his wife, when he was told by a corporal that a man- Hollinshead-wanted to buy his discharge, and wanted to hand the money over to some one for safe keeping. Hollinshead's sister gave him (Ford) 110, and he went to the barracks with the intention of handing over the money to an officer. There was no officer in barracks, however. On the 28th he prepared an army form for Hollinshead's discharge, and on the 29th he gummed the receipt for the purchase money on one of the documents. In conclu- sion, he said it was not likely he would have done such things as he had been charged with, for he had been fourteen years in the service, was receiving good pay, and had been looking forward to a good pension.— Private J. Lydon in evidence stated that he remembered being ordered by Ford to take a letter containing coin to the pay- office and wait for a receipt. He was also given another letter to post. The one for the pay office was addressed to the chief paymaster, and witness took it to the headquarter offices, handing it to Sergeant Major George, who took it upstairs. Witness had often taken letters containing money from the orderly-room to the pay office.-Private Garratt, a former orderly-room orderly, had frequently taken money from the orderly-room, and brought back receipts. Quartermaster Sergt. Ford had often given him these envelopes. —Major Neville, recalled, was examined by prisoner. He did not remember giving Ford money for any purpose during a fortnight about June 29th. He was of the opinion that Ford had had enough assistance in the orderly room, although prisoner had often com- plained to the contrary. Ford had called his attention to the occasionally irregular delivery of letters which had been left lying about the place. One instance was when a letter addressed, he thought, to the command- ing officer was found on a bed in the barrack room.—Prisoner: Did I make a statement to you yesterday ?-Witness: Yes, he said the key of B Company store room fitted the orderly room "door. I tried it, and it does.- Witness (continuing) said he never remembered receiving the company default sheet of Private Hollinshead.—Private James Noble, assistant in the orderly-room, saw Hollinshead sign his discharge document on June 29th or 30th. Witness, on the direction of Ford, got out some documents ready for the discharge. He passed the gum to Ford, whose reason for asking for it he believed would be for him to attach the receipt for the purchase money to the attestations. He saw the documents on Ford's table when he left the orderly room. He locked the door, and left the key on the ledge over the door. Next morning he did not see the documents. The defence was continued on Thursday morning.—Sergt.-Major George said no letter was handed to him by an orderly of the Cheshire Regiment on that date, which contained other than ordinary correspondence.—Major Lodwick said no discharge money had been paid about the time stated.—Capt. D. B. Thomas gave evidence as to prisoner's character. While witness had been acting adjutant he had found Ford do his work satisfactorily. He had been regular, punctual, and steady.—Sergt.- Major Dutton, as senior member of the sergeants' moss, gave similar testimony.— Ford in his second statement said he adhered to his first defence. In regard to the first charge, the only evidence he could bring was that of himself and the orderly owing to the system of the depot. He must bitterly complain in regard to the second charge of the manner in which the prosecution bad endeavoured to throw the whole responsibility of the office work on his shoulders, seeing that the actual responsibility devolved on his seniors. With regard to charge three, had it not been for the negligence of Major Neville in signing a return without comparing it, and for which he was responsible, the case might have cropped up not later than July 1st, when, in his opinion, it could have been investigated with the conversations and circumstances fresher in the minds of the witnesses. He called attention to the dis- crepancy between the evidence of two witnesses, and in respect of charge four pointed out how utterly insane it would have been for him to make away with any document. So far as the removal of the documents was concerned, he referred to the fact of the discovery that the key of B Company store-room would fit the orderly room. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The court was closed for the consideration of the case. THE SENTENCE. The finding of the Court was promulgated in the Castle Yard on Saturday morning, in the presence of all the men stationed at the depot. Prisoner was found guilty, and was sentenced to be reduced to the ranks, to undergo 84 days' imprisonment, while he was also ordered to have his pay stopped until the 910 had been refunded. As is usual on these occasions, Ford was publicly deprived of his stripes, and those who witnessed his degradation declare it to have been a painful and impressive spectacle.

- DEATH OF THE REV. CANON…

HAWARDEN FESTIVAL. <♦>

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