Fremantle Workers Club

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1923: The William Roche Case

William Roche was Club President 1915-1917 from the second year of existence, then (ironically) a Trustee 1918-1919, co-President in 1919-20, and then Secretary from 1920 to 1923, when he absconded with a large quantity of the Club's funds. It was alleged at his trial that he had stolen sums of money on many occasions from December 1922 to June 1923. Hewas arrested at Southern Cross. At the trial the Club President, William Moore, asked that the charges against Roche be withdrawn, the money having been restored to the Club, to the annoyance of the police prosecutor.


Secretary Arrested at Southern Cross

The Commissioner of Police (Mr. R. Connell) yesterday received a wire from Inspector Houlahan that William Roche, ex-secretary of the Fremantle Workers Social and Leisure Club, for whom a warrant was issued on September 18, had been arrested at Southern Cross.
The charge against Roche is having stolen various sums amounting to £40 14s, the property of the club mentioned.
Roche will be brought before the court at Southern Cross and remanded to Fremantle.

Sunday Times, 30 September 1923, page 1



Perth, September 30.
Information was received at police headquarters on Saturday that William Roche, at one time secretary of the Fremantle Workers' Social and Leisure Club, had been arrested at Southern Cross on a charge of having stolen sums of money totalling £40/14/-, the property of the club. For many years the accused was well-known in Labor circles at Fremantle.

Geraldton Guardian, 2 October 1923: 3


Charges Withdrawn.

By Fremantle Workers Club.

William Roche (60), previously secretary of the Fremantle Workers Social and Leisure Club, appeared at the Fremantle Police Court yesterday morning to answer six charges of stealing. The charges were that on December 23, 1922, at Fremantle, being the servant, or clerk, of the club, he stole the sum of £6 18s., the property of the club; that on July 14, 1923, he stole the sum of £28 16s.; that, on the same date, he stole the further sum of £5: that, on June 23, 1923, he stole the sum of £20 19s.; that on June 30, 1923, he stole the sum of £25 2s.; and that, on July 7, 1923, he stole the sum of £26 17s.
After the charges had been read out to the accused, the president of the Fremantle Workers' Social and Leisure Club (Mr. Moore) informed the Bench, which consisted of Messrs. H. Parker and W. J. Sumpton, J's.P. that restitution of the stolen money had been made, and that, at a meeting of the members of the club held on Sunday last, it had been unanimously decided that the charges against Roche should be withdrawn. He made application for the withdrawal.
Detective-Sergeant Dungey, prosecuting, entered a formal protest against the withdrawal of the charges. He said that the department viewed with disfavour actions of this kind, as restitution of stolen money, though in this case satisfactory to those who had laid the complaint was not always conducive to the ends of justice.
Commenting that Roche was a very fortunate man, the Bench permitted the charges to be withdrawn. The accused, who appeared to have been much affected by the proceedings, completely broke down when this announcement was made, and, sobbing convulsively, was assisted from the dock by the Court orderly.

The West Australian, 10 October 1923: 7

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