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Mail Tribune 100, March 12, 1921, Continued

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

March 12, 1921, continued

*Please note this is a continuation of the Jacksonville bank story from Friday, March 12.

BEN COLLINS NOT GUILTY BANK CASE (continued)

Bank Examiners Attacked

Charging that the state board of bank examiners “pulled a boner” in the Bank of Jacksonville, and had built a fire in the south part of town to cover up and detract attention, Attorney Gus Newbury in a strong address, made his plea to the jury Friday afternoon, before a crowded courtroom in the trial of Ben M. Collins, indicted in connection with the failure of the Bank of Jacksonville.

In his argument Attorney Newbury told the jury that all the records in Collins’ case had not been presented, “though they were in the possession of the bank examiners, and in this very courtroom this morning.”

“They only submitted one sheet of the ledger,” continued Attorney Newbury. “Where are the remaining sheets? Where is the note register? Johnson testified they were kept. The state of Oregon did not introduce the records because it feared the case would be taken out of the jury’s hands. No matter how long it took, every bit of the records should be introduced if it takes three days or three weeks. The state did not dare to introduce this evidence.

“In his opening argument to you, the district attorney asked you what W. H. Johnson, former cashier of the bank, had to gain by giving testimony as he did in this case, and that he had nothing to hope for. I’ll tell you what he had to hope for. A lighter sentence and consideration at the hands of the prosecution was what he had to hope for.”

Attorney Newbury took the record evidence introduced, and showed the jury how there had been no misapplication of funds, and passed by Johnson’s testimony, that a pencil notation on the ledger sheet introduced, showed Collins to have overdrawn over $700, “as mighty suspicious,” and “don’t it look like it was put there for the purposes of this case.”

Moore’s Closing Strong

District Attorney Moore reviewed the state’s case, stressing the tendency of the evidence of the state to show that the defendant had knowledge of his overdraft. In reply to Attorney Newbury’s criticism of the bank examiners the prosecutor said the bank board was not on trial, and that records in the case were open alike to state and defense. The district attorney made a good impression with his talk and arguments.

Ben M. Collins, the defendant, was the only witness called by the defense. He told a straightforward story of his dealing with the Bank of Jacksonville and denied any conversation with Johnson in the county jail, as the latter testified, regarding the alleged disposal of notes, in exchange for the payment of a $2,800 personal note. Collins was a former cashier of the defunct bank, and he and Johnson were friends.

In rebuttal the state called W. H. Johnson as a witness, but was barred from testimony in the case any further on an objection by the defense, that was sustained by the court.

— Alissa Corman;acorman@rosebudmedia.com

News from 100 years ago