Explore the growing digital archive of deaf history in Australia.
Document: Charge of Forgery – Deaf Mute Charged

A charge of forgery against a deaf man. This doesn’t report on the actual trial, and we haven’t yet found out what happened in the end.




A case in which an unusual method of conveying evidence to an accused man had to be adopted was heard in the City Police Court yesterday, when Leslie Thompson, a young man, was charged on the information on Sub-Inspector Priest with having on August 18 at Adelaide forged the name of M. Davis on a cheque for £4, drawn on the Bank of Adelaide, and uttered the forged cheque. The bench was occupied by Messrs. T. Gepp, S.M., H. Cronin, H. Wells, F. W. Wood, L. P. Lawrence, T. Woodhead, and W. H. Jones. Inspector Burchell prosecuted and Mr. C. M. Muirhead defended. The defendant is deaf and dumb, and the evidence given had to be translated by an interpreter. The defendant hails from New South Wales.

Maurice Davis, clothing manufacturer, of Twin street, Adelaide, said that the defendant was in his employ between August and December, 1913. The form on which the cheque produced was made out had once been in his cheque book. He missed it from the book on the Tuesday morning. He could not say when the cheque form was actually taken.

Edgar A. Mann, ledgerkeeper of the Bank of Adelaide, said that the accused presented the cheque (produced) at the bank about 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Witness looked at the signature and discovered that it was not that of any customer of the bank. Accused was asked a number of questions relating to the cheque. The signature on it was not that of Mr. Maurice Davis. No customer of the bank signed the name of M. Davis.

James H. Reddaway, of Adelaide, cabdriver, said that on Tuesday last he saw the accused in company with Detective Goldsworthy approaching the police station. When very near to the watchhouse the accused put his hand in his pocket and took out a bunch of keys (produced) and dropped them near one of the posts of a treeguard. Witness subsequently picked the keys up and handed them to Mounted-Constable Wells.

Detective Goldsworthy said that on the day in question he visited the Bank of Adelaide in Kind William street, where he saw the accused. A cheque was handed to witness by the accountant of the bank. It was signed “M. Davis.” In response to a number of questions put by the witness to the accused in writing the accused wrote a statement setting out that his name was Les. Thompson. A man had given him the cheque. This man’s name was Miller and he lived about the city. At the accused’s request he was taken to the Imperial Hotel, because he thought the man Miller would be there. He was afterwards taken down Grenfell street. The accused said he had known the man only for a few days. The keys produced were shown to the accused, and witness said, “A man saw you throw these keys away.” Accused made no reply. The same morning witness and Detective Mattin went to the business premises of Mr. Davis. The Yale lock key opened the lock of the door that gave access to the office where the books were kept. When the accused was told of the opening of the door he said the key belonged to a boarder in Melbourne. Witness wrote down, “Why did you thrown in away if that is true?” Accused wrote, “Because everyone would think it was me.”

Another witness said that he had known the accused for over a year. He had often seen him write. The writing on the cheque was like that of the accused.

With the aid of the interpreter, the accused said that he was innocent of forgery. He was committed for trial, bail being fixed at £35.

By downloading this file, you
agree to comply with our
Copyright & Usage policy.

Welcome to the Deaf History Collections

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of Country throughout Australia and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors to our site, recognising the long, rich, complex and unjustly disregarded histories of First Nations peoples in Australia.
Continue to the website


If you have feedback, information to add, or see an error that needs to be fixed on this page, use this form. There are two ways: write a message or send us a video message.
Write a message
Send us a video message
Close Button