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Prime Minister's Cailj to…



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PROMINENT SOUTH WALES SOCIALIST ARRESTED. ALLEGED EMBEZZLEMENT OF prnLIC MONEY. A painful sensation has been caused in South Wales Labour and Socialist circles by the news of the arrest oi Harry Davies, Cwmavon, who wa.s assistant overseer and clerk to the Parish Council on a warrant charging him with embezzling £ 1,000 of publics money. The arrest followed mxm the result of a Local Gov^pyjuent Board audit, together with the cp lifers ion oi accused. No Socialist in South Wales is better • known than Harry I)avies Ca-mivoi). He has takein a proiiiiiieiit, Tart in fur- thering the l.L.P. rnowmnt in the Principality, and was recently selected by the local branches as the ir nominee to contest the new Aberavon division at the next general election. Tntii n- c?'ntly he representee! Cwmavon on the County Council, and is still a mem- ber of the Board of Managers for the Pnrt Talbot Group of Schools. It would appear from the confession of the ac- cused, voluntarily made to the auditor of the L.Q.B., that his defalcations were the acts of a insftT* en des- perate by certain circumstances, the nature of which has not yet trans- pired. On Monday the accused was brought before the magistrates at Port Talbot. Mr. Edward Powell prosecuted and Mr. Lewis M. Thomas represented the orerseers. Mr. Gibson Davie-s de- fended. The prisoner looked pale, but. during the proceedings maintained his usual composure. Mr. Edward Powell explained thai Mr. Davies was assistant overseer and collector of rates for the parish oi Michaelstono Lower and clerk to the Parish Council. He was arrested on a warrant charging him that from September, 1916, to January of this year he o:nbeszlod £ 16ULXX UyL.proper- ty of the overseers. There would b"> other charges formulated later. 'Mr. Davies h;*d held these positions for 13 years. As assistant overseer he collect- ed the poor rate and the special sani- tary rate. For the former he received £100, and for the latter £ 60 a year. His books were audited up to the halt- year ended September 30th, 1916. and they appeared in order. Owing to pres- sure of work the auditor was unabl e to conduct the audit for the March, 1917, half-year, and gave notice that the two audits for the whole year would be taken together. Mr. Davies was given notice to attend, but did not do so, but after a note had been sent to the overseers he appeared on Friday last. He had written to the auditor regretting his non-attendance, and added that he bad been guilty v: gross irregularities. Last Friday, i.i the presence of himself (Mr. Po well I and the overseers prisoner told the auditor that before September, 1916, he had been borrowing yery heavily, and that people were pre; .sine; him. and he then commenced to take parish money in small amounts. He had passed the audit for March. 1916. and September, 1916, and his bnk book tallied with the collections. He (prison- er) explained that in September. 1916. he had written to his bankers saying he had lost his pasg-book., He secured a duplicate, and wrote up from the old bank-book and presented it to the auditors. He said he had appropriated f)i-(,r £ 1,000, but-iliow meh more h, did net know. No entry had be«r>n made in the books sinct.> January, ItH7, and the overseers had placed them in the competent hands of Mr. Lewis M. Thomas. Until thctse were made up he (Mr. Powell) could not go into details. It had been considered necessary in the public interest, that prisoner should He arresetd --immediately on his own confession. REMANDED. Superintendent Ben Evans, giving evidence of arrest, said he tailed at prisoner's house' in Cwmavon on Satur- day night at S o'clock. In the house wore a number of prisoner's friends, and after witness had told .him the ob- ject of his visit, said, "VYe will Ie-ate the room." His son remained, and witness saw prisoner pasa something from his pocket 'to his son's hands. W i tness I??:,d for it, and found that' it was £ 46 in Treasury notes. Prisoner explained that Mr Wyndham Edwareis handed him the notes which he cof-. Jectcd from friends, and which kad been given him that night. itnes.* was of opinion that undoubtedly this money was for the purpose of enabling prisoner to evade arrest. Mr. Edward Powell having applied for a remand, Mr. Gibson Davies asked for bail, and said that his client \rap anxious to render the overseers as much assistance as possible1. Accused was remanded f. eight days, bail l>eing refused." k