Home Crime Crime Other Middlecliffe Case Verdict

Middlecliffe Case Verdict

December 1959

South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 19 December 1959

All Five Accused Are Found “Guilty” In Co-Op Case.

Judge Gives Absolute Discharge in Each Case and Leave to Appeal

It took the jury just 50 minutes at the end of the six-days trial at Leeds Assizes on Monday, to reach a decision in the case in which five prominent figures in the Barnsley British Co-operative Society’s administration were charged with conspiracy.

Shortly before 3 p.m., the foreman announced their verdict in respect of each of the five accused guilty. The decision of the Judge was that they should each be given an absolute discharge. On their behalf, Mr. McLusky at once asked for leave to appeal and that was granted. It was not clear, later, whether in fact an appeal would be lodged.

Real Purpose

Mr. Justice Slade said he thought the real purpose of the case had been established when, by their verdict, the Jury had indicated that misprision of a felony – said earlier to be almost obsolete – was still an offence.

If, in his direction to them, he had erred on that particular point of law, he was ready to provide an opportunity for judging whether he was right or wrong. But, he thought, if he had erred it had berm In favour of the accused.

The defence case opened when Mr. Price called Mr. Wilde, the Society’s president, as his first witness. He said the capital of the Society was about £4 ½ millions and the annual turn-over £12 ¾ millions. It they had failed to recover £258 it would not have placed the finances of the Society in any danger nor would there have been any financial effect on himself, or any member of the Society.

Because the grocery undertaking was so important, having an annual turnover of £ 7 ¼ millions, the grocery sub-committee consisted of the full board of Directors and held weekly meetings. The two vice’ presidents and himself, with Messrs Morrey and Copley usually met in the morning of the day on which the Grocery sub-committee met to decide the agenda for the evening meeting.

On Friday, December 12th, Mr . Copley reported to the sub- committee …

Article Continues