Constance Rose Tasman Cato

#275, b. 15 March 1881

Individual's Timeline

Birth15 March 1881Constance Rose Tasman Cato

Primary events

Brushes with the LAW

This case appears to have taken some time to hear in the Central Criminal Court. It was mentioned in the Sydney Mroning Herald 11th June - 3rd July, but no details other than the names of those charged are given. Frederick Bowler BURCHER, Joseph John ROCHESTER , Akma WHITE and Constance CATO.

In the Mercury dated 7th July 1906 there was the following report - " ALLEGED CONSPIRACY - All the accused in the alleged conspir acy case in connection with the will of Capt. Lindford have been acquitted. Late last night the jury returnod a verdict of not guilty in the case of George F. R. Burcher, solicitor, and Constance Cato, and this morning gave a similar verdict as regards Joseph John Rochester and Alma White.

It appears the case was started back in January, with this report appearing in the Adelaide Advertiser 11 January 1906. SYDNEY CONSPIRACY CASE


Sydney, January 10.

The hearing of the conspiracy charges, against Frederick Burcher, J. Rocherster, Alma White, and Constance Cato arising out of tbe Lindfors will case, was resumed today.

G W. Dempster, solicitor, of Port Adlaide, stated that in certain proceedings in connection with the will of Captain Lind fors, he acted for Mr. Jansen, a. nephew of the deceased, and a beneficiary under the will. The executor of the will was John, Willett,

Mr. Want said & copy of the will was found Mr Burcher*s office.

Burcher-"Found in my office? Mrs. Reimer said she handed it to me, and it was not "found" in my office. I handed it over voluntarily. The witness stated that the original will was filed in the Supreme Court at Auckland. He came to Sydney last March because he had heard about a will in favor of Mrs. Reimer. He went to Mrs. White's house and in reply to his questions Mrs. White said she was one of the witnesses to the will of Captain Lindfors. She signed a statement to the effect that Captain Lindfors was so ill while at Mrs. Reimer's, as the result of a fall on the hatchway of his ship, that they got him to make a will. The will was made in a house at Rush street. Mrs. White, in answer to a ques- tion by Lindfors, said she could write fairly well, and she wrote what he told her. Lind- fors gave Mrs Reimer a paper folded up, and said that if he came back he would claim the paper, and if not she was to take it to a solicitor. He was so ill that Mrs. Reimer's son had almost to carry him to a tram car when he left. Mrs. .White added that she took Miss Cato to the house. This was how Miss Cato came to sign. She signed first, and then went out and sent Miss Cato in to sign. She remained out in the kitchen and did not see Miss Cato sign nor did she see Linfors sign. The witness did not know when he left for New Zealand that this Will was a forgery. He learned that in Auckland.

Further details of the case were reported 26th June in the Sydney Morning Herald - FOUR PERSONS CHARGED.
The hearing of the charges against George Frederick Rowley Burcher, solicitor, Joseph John Rochester, Alma White, and Constance Cato, of having conspired among themselves to cheat and defraud Carl Gustof Hyelmar Jan- son of divers large sums, and also with con- spiring to pervert the course of Justice, was resumed. The accused pleadpd not guilty. The ease was adjourned on the 11th inst ow- ing to tho Illness of Miss Cato. Tho latter, who still looked ill, was provided with a lounge in the court.

Mr. W. A. Walker, instructed by Mr. R. H. Levien, appeared for Rochester; Mr. H. A. Moss for Constance Cato: Mr. R. H. Levien for Alma White; and Burcher conducted his own case.

In opening tho case for the Crown, Mr. Pol- lock Bald that in 1903 Captain Lindfors, when leaving Sydney for New Zealand, gave a docu- ment to a Mrs. Reimer, to whom ho was en- gaged to be married. In the following year Mrs. Reimer saw a report of his death in the papers. During December of that year she told Mrs. White her story. Tho latter told her that she knew someone who would manage the case for her, and she subsequently per- suaded Mrs. Reimer to hand the papers to Rochester, who said that she was very lucky to have property left her. Mrs. Whlte after- wards wont to Rochester's office, and at his dictation, wrote a document, which was signed by Mrs. Whlte and Miss Cato. The Crown alleged that this document was the will sent to New Zealand in order to obtain
probate of tho will of Captain Lindfors. The will, Mr. Pollock said, was in Mrs. Reimer's favour, and It was alleged that Mrs. White and Miss Cato had made affidavits to the effect that the will was signed in their pre- sence, and by them when they were both pre- sent. Those statements, the Crown alleged, were false.

Evidence in support of the Crown case was then given.

After lunch Mr. Levien made an applica- tion to his Honor for Mrs Whlte to be allowed out on bail, owing to the illness of her husband. His Honor agreed to allow both Mrs. Whlte and Miss Cato out on bail each night during the trial. A similar request by the male accused was refused. While Mrs. Reimor was giving evidence Miss Cato fainted, and was removed from the court. She returned 25 minutes later, and the case was then proceeded with.

Tho examination-in-chief of Mrs. Reimer had not concluded when the Court adjourned.

Another report in the SMH dated 3rh July 1906 says - George W. Dempster, solicitor, of South Australia, was recalled, and contradicted cer- tain statements made by Mrs. White on affi- davit.

Henry Kay, commission agent, said he saw Rochester for the first time in February or March of last year. Witness translated the contents of a number of documents into Ger- man, in order that Mrs. Reimer might under- stand them. He Was present at Mrs. Bed- ford's house when Burcher brought a paper for Mrs. Reimer to sign. Witness told her that she should not sign that paper, where- upon Burcher snatched it from him and said that be would throw up the case and send back his retainer. He had heard Burcher say on one occasion that he had two affidavits, but that the matter was so serious that he would not allow Mrs. White and Miss Cato to sign them until they were verified by Mrs. Reimer. Mrs. Reimer said that the state- ments made by Mrs. White and Miss Cato were correct. Those statements were to the effect that they signed the will in tho pre- sence of the testator.

Expert evidence was given by Henry Rut- ledge, bank manager. He stated that he was of opinion that the five signatures to the du- plicate wills in favour of Janson and the signature in a shipping register produced, were written by tho same person.

Mr. Levien: I suppose you have paid cheques that are forgeries? Never in my life

The case for the prosecution had not closed when the Court adjourned till the following day.

ON Thursday 5th July this report was in the Argus, Melbourne - AN HYSTERICAL PRISONER.
Fix this text

SYDNEY, Wednesday -The trial of four persons on a charge of conspiracy in connection with the will of Captain Lindfors, is entering upon its final stages. One of the accused. Constance Cato, is in a pitable condition of weakness, and has been unable to remain in court. She expressed a desire to make a statement on oath, and was to-day brought into court learning on the arm of a relative. She was again seized with an hysterical attack, and was speedily carried outside screaming loudly. The Governmeat medical oficcer has expressed the opinion that undue excitement might suddenlv end Cato's life. The accused at a later stage, withdrew her request to be al- lowed to give evidence.