Loyalty of Agents

The following facts are taken from Reading v. Attorney General [1951] A.C. 507 (H.L)

In 1944 and 1945 certain sums, all in Egyptian currency, amounting in all to £E 18,842, equivalent to £19,325, and held by or on behalf of the Suppliant, were seized and taken into possession on behalf of His Majesty.

By Petition of Right presented on the 1st November, 1946, the Suppliant sought to recover these sums or their sterling equivalent (allowance being made for sums released to him), as money had and received by His Majesty to his use.

The Respondent admitted that these sums had been seized and taken into possession on behalf of His Majesty but alleged that they represented part of the proceeds of bribery and that the Suppliant was accountable therefor to His Majesty and received and held them in trust for His Majesty. Alternatively he claimed that the Respondent was entitled to set them off against the Suppliant's Claim.

The facts proved or agreed in the Action are not in dispute and may succinctly be stated substantially in the form adopted by the Appellant in his case and are as follows : -

(A) In 1943 and 1944 the Appellant was a Sergeant in the Royal
Army Medical Corps and receiving pay at the rate appropriate to his
Rank. He was employed as a Sergeant in charge of medical stores at
No. 63 General Hospital, Cairo.

(B) On the 14th March, 1944, he dictated and signed a statement to
Lieutenant Brooks of the Special Investigation Branch, Middle East,
that he had received in all some £20,000 from a man named Manole
in the following circumstances:

Some time about the beginning of 1943, when having coffee at
Alexandria whilst on leave, he was asked by a man, who apparently
knew him but whom he did not know, whether he would assist by
selling cases of whisky and brandy to agents in Cairo for which he
would get a few pounds. The Appellant expressed his willingness and
was told that someone would get into contact with him outside the
hospital gates at Helmeih and tell him what he had to do. About a
month later Manole met him there, told him a lorry was coming at
a specified time to a place which was pointed out to him. When
it arrived he was to board it and take it to another spot which again
he was shown. At the specified time and place a lorry duly arrived,
the Appellant then boarded it and conducted it through Cairo to the
appointed spot, where the contents were transferred to another lorry
but he was unable to see of what they consisted. He then went home,
but by arrangement met Manole later on the same day at a restaurant
in Cairo and received from him an envelope which on examination
was found to contain £2,000. This process was repeated on a number
of occasions on which, as in the first, a lorry arrived with cases the
contents of which were undisclosed, and after each journey he was
given sums varying from £1,000 to £4,000.

(C) On the 20th March, 1944, his statement was shown to the Suppliant
by Sergeant-Major Jones of the Special Investigation Branch, and the
Suppliant acknowledged that it was his statement and that it was true.
He also told Sergeant-Major Jones that he had been dressed on each
occasion in uniform, and on a later occasion showed Corporal Read of
the Special Investigation Branch a number of different places in Cairo
as points at which he had met or left the lorries which he had accom-
panied from time to time.

The Appellant's Case also alleges that at all material times it was obligatory for all service personnel in Cairo to wear uniform, except when engaged in
sport or other specially excepted activity.

In these circumstances [Judge] Denning held that the Crown was entitled to the money in question.