AN ALLEGED COINER
THE SENSATIONAL ARREST AT WHITCHURCH
Prisoner Before the Magistrate
Albert Heitzman, jeweller, was brought up in custody at Llandaff Police-court this morning charged with being unlawfully in possession of counterfeit coins, and also of instruments for making the same. The case was the outcome of the sensational police raid at Whitchurch last Friday. Prisoner was a well-dressed, gentlemanly-looking man of about 34 or 35. He seemed to be not at all perturbed by his position, and calmly stroked a heavy brown moustache during the brief period which the proceedings lasted. Mr. G. C. Williams was the only magistrate on the bench. Prisoner was legally represented by Mr. Harold Lloyd.
The story of the raid, as concisely told by Inspector Nott at the occasional court, was repeated. He stated that at 6.15 o'clock on Friday morning last he and six constables, as well as Detective-sergeant Gretton, of the Cardiff Borough Force, surrounded the house, 9, Hickman-road, Whitchurch, and forced an entry under a search warrant. While he was in a bedroom with Heitzman, Police-constable Bennett came into the room, and stated that he and Police-constable Kinsella had seen Heitzman throwing coins from an upstairs window. He (Bennett) had picked up four 2s. pieces and Police-constable Kinsella had found six.
Mr. Harold Lloyd: I reserve my cross-examination.
Mr. Joseph Spiridion, silversmith, 29, Duke-street, Cardiff, next entered the witness-box. He said he received certain coins from Inspector Nott on Saturday.
The Clerk (Mr. Evans): How many coins did you receive?
Mr. Spiridion Ten counterfeit florin pieces.
Was anything else handed to you? Yes, some other coins.
Did you receive any acids? Oh, yes.
Have you tested the coins? Yes, sir.
And you say that they are counterfeit? They are.
What were the other things handed to you ? A bottle of silver solution, a jar of copper solution, a small quantity of nitric acid, a box of plaster of Paris, a Daniells battery (all complete for the purpose of plating the counterfeit coins), files for cutting the milled edges of the coins, brushes and other things for cleansing the coins before plating them, some copper rods for holding the coins in the plating battery, and various smaller similar articles, all used for the same purpose; also a large quantity of metal, a large piece of bismuth, and a piece of zinc.
The Clerk (to Mr. Lloyd): You don't cross-examine on that to-day?
Mr. Lloyd: I propose to reserve my cross-examination, sir, until the case is gone into properly.
Mr. G. C. Williams: The case is remanded until this day week.
Mr. Lloyd: I don't know whether your worship will allow me to apply for bail in this case? I can offer bail in any reasonable sum.
Mr. G. C. Williams: I don't think this is a case really in which I should grant bail.
Mr. Lloyd observed that the principle on which bail should be granted was not whether a man was guilty or not, but whether the interests of justice were likely to suffer, and whether the prisoner would appear for his trial.
Mr. G. C. Williams: I think the interests of justice would suffer.
Mr. Lloyd: Well, I won't press it till this day week, sir.
Source: Evening Express and Evening Mail - 10th October 1904
PLEADS GUILTY AT THE ASSIZES
At Glamorgan Assizes at Swansea on Tuesday Albert Heitzman, 31, watchmaker, pleaded guilty to making counterfeit coins resembling florins and half-crowns; also to having in his possession a galvanic battery for the purpose of making such coin, and having in his possession certain counterfeit coin, at Whitchurch on October 7, 1904.
Mr. Lloyd Morgan, M.P., appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. St. John Francis-Williams for the defence. There were previous convictions against the prisoner; but Mr. Williams, on his behalf, said this was the first charge of coining. He did not belong to any gang of coiners. He worked as a jeweller and watch repairer, and it would be necessary for the trade that he should possess some of the articles found in his possession. They were not used exclusively for making base coin. It was twelve months since prisoner was last in trouble, and he must ask his lordship to assume that during that time prisoner had been leading an honest life.
The Judge: Can that be shown? I can't assume it.
Mr. Williams: I can only ask you to assume it.
The Judge: I should like to know something as to what he has been doing.
Mr. Lloyd Morgan (for the Crown) said that prisoner had been living in a cottage near Caerphilly by himself. All these things found in his house were instruments used for the purpose of manufacturing base coin.
Inspector Nott was called, and, in answer to the judge, said that prisoner had lived at the cottage for four months, and previously to this had lived at Cardiff. He had not heard that the prisoner had done anything of that kind at Cardiff. He had not uttered coin to his knowledge.
The Judge (to prisoner): I will give you another chance - eighteen months.
Prisoner: Thank you, my lord.
Source: The Weekly Mail - 26th November 1904
Albert Heitzman, 36, a watchmaker, described by the judge as an expert and deliberate coiner, was sentenced at Leeds Assizes on Tuesday to seven years' penal servitude.
Source: Evening Express - 11th November 1908