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.-:-'I C.W.B. OFFICIALS. !


I C.W.B. OFFICIALS. CHARGES OF EMBEZZLEMENT HEARD AT ASSIZES. At the Glamorgan Assizes on Monday, Before Mr. Justice Atkin, Charles Wta. Seymour (45), clerk; William Crynant j Griffiths (33), clerk; and David Williams j (49), clerk, were charged on a number ot j indictments with the embezzlement ot' certain sums or money and conspiring to tsteal such money, at Cardiff whilst in the employ of the Offatral Welsh Board. The total amount involved is < £ 078 2s. 7d. All the prisoners pleaded not guilty. It will be remembered that the* case created a sensation when in the initial Stages at the police court, and it was anticipated that the trial would last several days. All the parties are ex- tremely well known in Cardiff, and the ourt was full when the judge took his teat. Mr. Roland Yaughan Williams, K.C., with Mr. Wilfred Lewis (instructed by Mcssrs. George David and Evans, Cardiff), on behalf of the Director of Public Prose- cutions) appeared for the Crown; Mr. W. Llewelyn Williams, K.C., M.P., with Mr. St. John Williams (instructed by Messrs. J. T. Richards and Morris, Cardiff) de- fended Wm. Crynant Griffiths; Mr. Trevor Hunter (instructed by Messrs. Lewis and Llewellyn, Bridgend) defended Chas. Wm. Seymour, and the Hon. H. C. Bailey (instructed by Messrs. Harold Lloyd and Cross, Cardiff) defended David Williams. The prisoners having all pleaded, Mr. Vaughan Williams intimated that he would first proceed against Seymour and Griffiths for felony on charges of embezzle- ment of sums of £10, £2 10s.. and £3 12s. i Bd. on various dates between Feb. 10th. 1911, and June llth, 1912. C.W.B. Certificates. Mr. Yaughan Williams, in opening, out- lined the history of the Central Welsh Board and its functions, and said that each year certain examinations were held, and certificates of various kinds granted at different prices, and it was the custom for the headmasters of the schools to send up each year lump sums for these certifi- cates. Crynant Griffiths, who had licen since 1901 clerk to the Board, assist- ant to the chief inspector (Mr. Owen Owen), and secretary for inspection. He had previously for a number of years been an assistant, and in that pose he was suc- ceeded by Chas. Wm. Seymour. One of the most important parts of Griffiths' duty was to be responsible for the finances of the Board, and to receive the fees for l the certificates. When he received the money it was his duty to pay it into the account of the Board at the Pontypridd branch of Lloyds Bank. The only person who could draw on that account wz the chairman of the Board at the instance of Mr. Owen Owen. There was also an ac- count in the name of Mr. Owen Owen at the Cardiff branch of Lloyds Bank which was used for paying salaries, etc. Seymour's Duty. Seymour was assistant to Griffiths, and it was his duty to keep the various books, including the miscellaneous receipt book," in which were entered all receipts of the Board. Until March 31st, 1912, this book was kept in Seymour's handwriting. Counsel produced books showing the one j that of giving receipts for the fees re- ceived, and counsel proceeded to deal with specific amounts. Two amounts of £10 and 1:2 10s. balance on fees from a Mon- ] moutkshire headmaster were sent down in Griffiths' favour aDd endorsed by him, and it was his duty to pay that sum iuto the bank, but, it was alleged, Seymour paid the money into Griffiths' own account at the London and Provincial Bank, Car Iliff, There was no trace of either amounts in the Board's books. Another sum of £ 3 12s. tid. was also dealt with. For a long time. said Counsel, no notice seemed to have been taken of the discre- pancies, but on Jan. 28th of this year, the prisoners' attention was drawn to the matter, and they made certain statements and were suspended from further duty. The Evidence. b l' e f The first witness, Mr. Owen Owen. Chief Inspector to tho Central WTelsh Board, is an elderly gentleman who is so infirm and in such bad health that he i,c.i 1c be assisted into the witness box, and re- mained seated whilst giving his evidence. Examined by Mr. Wilfred Lewis, h-3 paid that for tour or five months in the year he was a-way from Cardiff on inspec. tion; he had two months holiday, ;ir<d whilst at Cardiff he was engaged on el- iminations and inspections. An interesting fact mentioned by the I witness in connection with the Board was that since its inception to the present day Sir Edward Anwyl has been one of the Members- r Witness, in answer to the Judge, said that Griffiths started at a salary of n30, and in 1913 he was getting £ 250. He was then raised to t275, which amount lie was getting at the time of his suspension. Sey- mour started at 4;80, and at the time of his suspension he was in receipt of £ 150 per annum. Witness bore out counsel's opening statement as to Griffiths' finan- cial responsibility and his duty to pay all j moneys received into the account at P01). typridd. In further answers to the Judge, witness In fiirther an.ers I said that the keeping of the account n,t Pontypridd dated almost from the be- ginning of the scheme. The Judge: It seems an odd preceeding. How was the money sent, by post or mes- senger, or how? Witness: I can't speak from my personal knowledge. The Judge: How often was the money sent to Pontypridd, daily? Witness: At intervals, I think. Witness further said that the treasurer of the Board was Mr. R. A. Lewis, the manager of the Pontypridd branch of Lloyds Bank. I n Change of Books. Witness was questioned as to details in onnection with the books, and said that as he was not in charge of them he could not be expected to answer the questions. The Judge: We have been told you were in charge of the books. Witness: I was the chief executive officer of the Board. The Judge: Would not that make it part of your duty to see how the receipts and expenditures were administered? Witness: No. that was not part of my duty. The Judge: Wh-ose was it? Witness: The clerk's. He was an inde- pendent officer of the Board, and respon- sible to the Board for the finances. Witness described a conversation with Griffiths in December as to certain alleged irregularities in which he said that he did not want to interfere but he had a perfect right to certain information, and Griffiths said he should have it. In Janu- ary he ordered Seymour to open the safe and therein found no cash but only a postal order for 2s. Witness and Mr. Griffiths as clerk would have to attend the half-yearly meetings of the Board and the Executive Committee, which were held usually on Friday, so that on those occa- sions, the meetings being perepatetic, Mr. Griffiths would often have to be away on the Saturday. Mr. Williams: We all know, and we re- joice to know that the Intermediate Act has been a success in Walee? Witness: Yes. May I take it that the number in schools has largely increased during the last tan years? Witness: Yes. from 96 to a hundred. Witness further said that as the scholars increased. Mr. Grinffiths' work and that of the staff increased. Broak-down in Health. Mr Llewelyn Viilliams: I suggest to jgon that sine* 1907 Mr. Grifiitiis has been, constantly overworking himself owing to the institution in 1907 of the Welsh De- partment of the Board of Education- During recent years Mr. Griffiths has suffered a great deal from indifferent health, and it was not possible for him to work such long hours as if his health was good. Witness, continuing, said that; weekly requisition forms were made out for what money was wanted, and were supposed to be initialled by Griffiths be- fore being passed by witness. When Grif- i fiths was not there, Seymour initialled them. Witness assumed that Griffiths, as the responsible officer, would satisfy him- self that he was accurately seived by his subordinates. Counsel: Is there anything to show in these books except the words certified by W. Crynant Griffiths that Mr.. Grif- tiths was responsible to the Board for their accuracy?—I assumed that he would r.ot certify the book as being proper not having gone into the matter. At the Glamorgan Assizes at Swansea, on Tuesday, before Mr. Justice Atkin, The hearing was resumed of the indict- ments against Scymorr and Griffiths for the embezzlement of £ 10. 4:2 lOs" and C3 12s. t>d. between March 10th, 1911, and June llth, 1912. given T)y Mr. 1'rancis Lowther, headmaster of the Milford Haven County School, of having sent a cheque for fees to Cardiff. He admitted receiving a receipt for it. Bank Cashier's Evidence. Mr. Thomas Sleed Davies, cashier of the High-street branch, Cardiff, of Lloyds Bank, spoke to cashing a cheque for Sey- mour on June 11th. Cross-examined by Mr. Llew. Williams: There was an account at Lloyds Bank in the name of the C.W. Board, which was drawn on by Mr. Owen Owen. The cheques had been drawn on that account by Griffiths. 'The Judge: It would be no good drawing on that? Witness: No, it would not be paid. Wit- j ness said he only remembered seeing Cry- nant Griffiths at the bank on one occasion some time ago. Examination of Books. Mr. Ernest Edward Hill, an account- ant of the firm of Messrs. Clarke, Dovey, i chartered accountants, of Cardiff. deposed to examining the accounts of the C.W. Board at Pontypridd and at the Cardiff office of the Board. He saw no trace of the payment of the amounts of £1(1 or £ 2 10s. into the bank either by cheque or cash. Cross-examined by Mr. Llewelyn Wil- liams: Witness had examined all the financial books of the Board for the past four years. He had found no entry in the handwriting of Mr. Crynant Griffiths except his signature. Up to January, 1913, all the books were kept in the hand- writing of Mr. Seymour. In reply to the Judge, witness agreed that it was part of the ordinary business of an audit to check the receipt entries in the cash book with the bank pass- j book, and the totals should coincide if the accounts were properly kept. In this case the totals did not coincide. Mr. Llew. Williams: The fact that al- j though they did not coincide they were certified by Mr. Dovey shows that Mr. Dovey was satisfied that the accounts were all right? Witness: I suppose so. Witness, proceeding, said that in 1913, the assets showed sundry debtors, £1,81]. and that corresponded with the total j figures in the ledger. £ 1,588 was put down as due by Mr. Griffiths, tlll cash in hand) was large, and he considered 1:50 an exces- j sive sum. In answer to the Judge, witness said that he had not audited the accounts since 1D06. In March, 1912, Mr. Dovey i signed the accounts, which were gone through by a Mr. Ford and another-clerk from witness's firm. Judge's Questions. The Judge remarked that he knew the auditor could not go into all the details, but he was supposed to make himself re- j sponsible for the summary and to verify the large figures, and his Lordship asked, Did he do any work for the Board- for his money himself?" Witness: 1 don't think so, my lord. Witness further said that Mr. Ford ceased to he employad by his firm about nine months ago. The Judge took witness over an entry in the miscellaneous book for March 31st. 1912. for a certain amount of L:435i1 Is. 6d. marked cash in hand. His Lordship: Is it the duty of the auditor to verify that the cash is in, hand?—It is. It is his first duty, is it not?—It must be. And if it is passed by the auditor, is it a representation by the auditor that the C431 Is. 7d. is in hand?—It i&. As cash?—As cash. And is the same thing true of the £ tiS 2s. 7d. in 1913. Well, now, if you look at the entry of £43.j Is. 6d. as cash in hand. is it entered in the ledger as debitted to GriffithÛ-lt is. Is that a proper entry if it were cash in hand?—No Well, I am obliged to ask you, Mr. Hill, does not that s i doe uot that signify very careless auditing?—It does. It is an entry merely made to balance the cash book?—It is. The Judge elicited that a further amount of £ 896 odd in 1912 was also merely entered to balance. The Judge: And if in fact all the re- ceipts ought to have been paid into the bank, that denotes some irregularity?— It does. And in fact denotes a deficiency ?—It does. And is it the duty of the auditor to call the attention of the principals for whom he is auditing to the deficiency in the cash?—It is. And does that also signify very careless j auditin ;-It must do. The J udgo: Very well, you are so in- genuous that. I really cannot ask you any more. (.Laughter). Your Blackmail." Mr. Mervyn Evans, an examination clerk to the Central Welsh Board, spoke to a conversation with Seymour about the; time of the dismissals. Seymour ee- I nounced Griffiths, and said. I under- stand now why Griffiths was so keen on my being written down on tho minutes as ifnancial clerk without a minute ot the committee. He wanted to shirk his responsibility, and I always considered him a pal." About the same time, said witness, Griffiths spoke to witness, and said that he felt quite relieved in a sense because the matter had been hanging over his head for years, and that it had im- paired his health and affected his sleep. immediately after the notices of dis- missal had been served, Griffiths said to Seymour, in witness's hearing, Thank God. Seymour, your blackmail is over at last." Seymour replied, You shall hear more of this," and left the room. Witness further said that certain certi- ficates were not sent to Mr. Williams, of Pantywaun, as the fees had not been paid, but, owing to a private communica- tion from Mr. Williams, witness in- structed Seymour to cause the certificates to be sent, and gave Seymour his personal cheque for the amount (£12 10s.) of the fees Answering the Judge, witness said he naid the cheque to Seymour because he was the person who dealt with the money. Witness agreed that it was Seymour's duty to pay all monies into the banking account of the Board. The Judge: Did you communicate the fact that the fees had been paid to Mr Williams, .Pantywaun -I don't know that I actually told him in so many words, but I certainly sent him a private note on the same day that the certificates were sent him. telling him that they could not be issued until the fees had been received, and. as far as I remember. I told him that I had Il able to mmbke arrangements for, the certiifcates to be dispatched. In Jan T il)12 Mr. Williams sent a cheque for and this was paid into witness's privato account at the London and Provincial i Bank, as he regarded it as a set-off against the cheque which he had given for the certificates. Answering the Judge, witness said that it was not until late in March, 1912, that lie worried that his cheque to Seymour bad not gone through the bank. He did not know it when he paid the cheque for £ H» into his own account. The hearing was resumed at Swansea Assizes on Wednesday, before Mr. Justice Atkin, The first indictments proceeded on were those against Griffiths and Seymour for embezzlement. Mr. Rowland Vaughan Williams, K.C., and Mr. Wilfred Lewis (instructed by Messrs. Geo. David and Evans, Cardiff), prosecuted; Mr. W. Llewelyn Williams, K.C., M.P., and Mr. toiL John Williams (instructed by Messrs. J. T. Richards and Morris, Cardiff) defended Griffiths; Mr. Trevor Hunter (instructed by Messrs. Lewis and Llewelyn, Bridgend), defended Seymour and the Hon. H. C. Bailey (in- structed by M essrs. LloHl and Cross, Cardiff) defended Williams. Griffiths, in re-examination by Mr. W. Llewelyn Williams, said that the rubber stamp bearing witness's name was kept by Seymour. Witness declared he had nothing to do with the keeping of the accounts. He simply transmitted to the Board's committee the accounts compiled in the office. He admitted that in the office had been found 79 of his cheques drawn in favour of Seymour totolling £ 123, and covering a period of five years. He had never given an I.O.U. for more than M, and the I.O.U. was replaced as soon as possible with a cheque. He had never taken a single penny of the Board's money without giving an ack- nowledgment either by I.O.U. or cheque, Witness admitted that he had tendered through his solicitor £ 250 in settlement and what he owed the Board, but he cer- tailly did not owe more than that, and that would include the amount of the uncashed cheques. Mr. Hunter said he would not call Seymour. Intolerable System." Mr. W. Llewelyn Williams, for! Griffiths, said that the whole system con- nected with the Central Welsh Board j was intolerable, and certain irregulari- ties as to finances and administration were inevitable. Therefore he asked the. jury not to blame any man simply be- cause things in his office were not ordered as they would be in a well ap- plied business office. Dealing with the constitution of the Board, counsel said that it was composed of 82 members from all over Wales, antl was called the Central Welsh Board because it had no centre, no fixed place of Abode or meet-1 ing. It was a peripatetic body, meeting in different parts of Wales, never twice in the same place. No one, not even the chairman seemed to take the slightest trouble to investigate the affairs ollt? tteill'.1 Board. Counsel then proceeded to argue that since the formation of the Welsh Department of the Board of Education in 1909, the whole position of Griffiths as clerk had altered owing to the increase of work his signature was recognised as being purely formal, and that he was not really responsible for the finances, Eighteen Indictments. Proceeding, Mr. Llewelyn Williams alluded to the fact that 18 indictments had been presented against the tliree prisoners, but yet the prosecution had only elected to go on three simple facts. He mentioned that they had been inun- dated with books and vapors-the ex- hibits had reached 119 or 120-until they had nearly -been submerged. He sub- mitted that whatever irregularities there might have been, the prisoner Griffiths j was not a thief. Counsel alluded to the fact that in December, 1912, and Septem- ber, 1913, the accounts of the Board were certified by Air. l'rohert, thfc Govern- ment auditor, and while counsel agreed that the prosecution had dealt with the case very iiarly, he complained that neither Mr. Dovey or Mr. Probert had been called. j