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Leonard Harper Case

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Leonard Harper Case

Post by Karen on Sun 28 Feb 2010 - 22:35


LONDON, July 13. - Leonard Harper has been remanded on bail, the amount being fixed at L10,000, including himself for L5000, all of which was forthcoming.

July 14. - At Leonard Harper's trial Inspector Pender (of Wellington) produced seven warrants, each relating to a distinct charge of fraud, the total amount involved being L15,000. The cases stand adjourned for a fortnight.


May 31. - Another stage was reached in the very sad Leonard Harper case on Saturday last. Mr. Harper was brought up for the second time, on remand, under the Fugitive Offenders Act, charged with fraud as an attorney or agent in New Zealand. A further remand was applied for by Chief Inspector Swanson who had arrested Mr. Harper in Jersey - or rather who had received him into custody from the Jersey police, by whom the actual arrest was made in that island.
Inspector Swanson said he should be obliged to ask for a somewhat lengthened remand, in order that certain necessary papers connected with the case should reach England. He produced in evidence cable messages which he had received from New Zealand, to the effect that these papers would be forwarded immediately and should reach England about the 10th of July. Mr. Harper, he said, was charged with misappropriation of various sums of money, ranging from 275 pounds up to 2000 pounds, the total of the alleged misappropriations amounting to a very large sum. It would, therefore be necessary that he should ask for the accused to be remanded until the arrival of these papers.
Blanchard Wontner appeared on behalf of Mr. Harper. He said that his client was a member of a firm of solicitors in New Zealand, and that he came to England in November 1892 as the firm was drifting into monetary difficulties. Mr. Harper left the colony for England to effect, if possible, an arrangement with the creditors of his firm. Mr. Harper had almost completed arrangements with the creditors when certain proceedings taken against his firm in New Zealand relating to his business precipitated a crisis. He had remained on this side of the world by the advice of his friends, who still hoped that some arrangement with the creditors might prove feasible. All the time he had been residing quite openly in Jersey, no secret whatever was made about it by him; his address in Jersey was perfectly well known to the New Zealand authorities. He had communicated with the New Zealand Law Society from there, and, indeed, as a matter of fact, had received a communication from the New Zealand Supreme Court despatched to him at his Jersey address. All these things showed that Mr. Harper had made no attempt to run away or to evade the creditors of his firm. He had several partners, and if there were charges against him surely there must be charges also against them, and yet he (Mr. Wontner) believed they were still at liberty. When then should Mr. Harper be differently treated and be kept in close custody for so long a time as was now proposed, seeing that he always had been and still was most anxious to meet fairly any charges that were or might be brought against him? Mr. Harper was most anxious, said Mr. Wontner, to go to New Zealand and meet any accusers face to face, as he was quite prepared to answer any charges brought against him. He was quite aware that this could not be until the arrival of the papers referred to, but it would be most unjust, and oppressive, and hard, and cruel, to keep him in prison till then. He therefore appealed that his client might be admitted to bail.
The presiding magistrate, Mr. Lushington, and the New Zealand authorities urged that if bail were accepted it should be of a very substantial amount, as the alleged defalcations were so large. Mr. Lushington thought that this stipulation was a reasonable one in view of the magnitude of the sums which the accused was said to have misappropriated. He should, therefore, require two sureties in 1000 pounds each. Mr. Harper was accordingly remanded on these terms.

Source: Otago Witness, Issue 2160, 18 July 1895, Page 24

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Re: Leonard Harper Case

Post by Karen on Sun 1 May 2011 - 13:38


LONDON, May 24.


Only a few pressmen were present at Bow street on Saturday, when Mr. Leonard Harper, looking very grey and old, was placed in the dock and charged under the Fugitive Offenders Act with fraud "as an attorney or agent within the jurisdiction of New Zealand." Chief-Inspector Swanson, who brought the accused from Jersey, described how, from information received, he proceeded there and found Mr. Harper in the hands of the police. Witness read him the warrant charging him with fraud in New Zealand. Mr. Harper said: - "I have not benefited myself a penny by it. I am living on charity here, and the furniture in my house is on the hire system." He further said he had written to the Law Institute of New Zealand expressing his willingness to return at any time. Mr. Harper was conveyed to Bow Street and again charged. He made no reply. The inspector also answered a few commonplace queries put by Mr. Gill, who appeared for the prisoner. From his replies it appeared he could not confirm Mr. Harper's statement that he had been in communication with the authorities in New Zealand. Mr. Gill was not able to do much for his client. He objected however (with what motive was not very apparent) to the locale of the proceedings. As they were taken under the Fugitive Offenders Act and not under the Extradition Act, the case should have been heard in Jersey. The Magistrate smiled and overruled the objection. Mr. Gill evidently knew he would. The question of bail then cropped up. Mr. Gill assumed, as a matter of course, it would be granted, but the police pointed out the charges of fraud involved large sums, and that the accused was besides "wanted" on other charges. Mr. Lushington consequently refused bail, and remanded the accused for a week.


On Tuesday a representative of the New Zealand Press Agency visited Holloway Castle, the gaol where Mr. Harper is incarcerated, and sent in a note asking whether he would care to make any statement through the Press. Unfortunately, he had already seen his wife and his solicitor, and no other visitors were permitted. On Wednesday morning, however, a gentleman called upon us on Mr. Harper's behalf, and left a brief statement in the handwriting of the accused. From this it appears that Mr. Harper is still ignorant of the particular charges against him. He states that he was asked to remain in England in order to arrange with the English creditors of the firm, if necessary, and has repeatedly expressed a wish to return to the colony, and his intention to do so as soon as required, but was requested to remain here. He went to live in Jersey with his family some eighteen months ago because he found he could do so cheaply in that favourite holiday resort, and because Mrs. Harper deemed it possible to add to the allowance made her by relations by taking in lodgers. Whilst in Jersey Mr. Harper has been in regular communication with various people in New Zealand, and has received and replied to letters from the Official Assignee and the Secretary of the Law Society. No attempt whatever has been made to conceal his whereabouts, and therefore, in the face of his expressed desire to return to New Zealand whenever required, Mr. Harper is at a loss to understand what has induced the Government to have him arrested without giving him the opportunity of returning of his own accord to answer the charges against him.


Mr. Harper was arrested on Tuesday last week, and for a couple of days was kept in confinement. When Inspector Swanson arrived in the Island and took charge of the prisoner, however, he treated him very courteously, and the twain came to London so that other passengers by boat and train knew nothing of their relative positions. Upon his removal to Holloway Mr. Harper became once again an ordinary prisoner, but the efforts of friends have reduced the unpleasantness of incarceration to a minimum. The accused, I hear, has so far suffered nothing in health by reason of his arrest and confinement, and Mrs. Harper bears up bravely under the strain.

Source: Star, Issue 5303, 6 July 1895, Page 7

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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