Page images



Cases of bribery.

BRIBERY is the receiving or offering any undue reward by or to any person whatsoever, whose ordinary profession or business relates to the administration of public justice, in order to influence his behaviour in office, and incline him to act contrary to the known rules of honesty and integrity. (a) And it seems that this offence will be committed by any person in an official situation, who shall corruptly use the power or interest of his place for rewards or promises : as in the case of one who was clerk to the agent for French prisoners of war, and indicted for taking bribes in order to procure the exchange of some of them out of their turn. (b) And bribery sometimes signifies the taking or giving of a reward for offices of a public nature. (c) Corrupt and illegal practices in giving rewards or making promises, in order to procure votes in the elections of members to serve in Parliament, are also denominated bribery, and punishable by common law, and by statute. (d) And the attempt to influence persons serving as jurymen corruptly to one side, by gifts or promises, (which, with other practices tending to influence a jury, will be considered in treating of the crime called embracery, (e) may be mentioned as a species of bribery.

The law abhors the least tendency to corruption; and upon the principle which has been already mentioned, of an attempt to commit even a misdemeanor, being itself a misdemeanor, (f) attempts to bribe, though unsuccessful, have in several cases been held" to be criminal. Thus it is laid down generally, that if a party offers a bribe to a judge meaning to corrupt him in a case depending before him, and the Judge takes it not; yet this is an offence punishable by law in the party that offers it. (g) And it has been held to be a misdemeanor to attempt to bribe a cabinet minister, and a member of the privy council, to give the defendant an office in the colonies. (h) And an information was granted against a man for

Attempts to bribe.

(a) 3 Inst. 149. 1 Hawk. P. C. e. 67. 1338. 2 Geo. 2. c. 24. 49 Geo. 3. c. s. 2. 4 Blac. Com. 139.

(1) Rex v. Beale, E. T. 38 Geo. 3. (e) Post, Chap. xxi. cited in Rex v. Gibbs, 1 East. R. 183. (f) Ante, Book I. Chap. iii. p. 45. and see Rex v. Vaughan, 4 Burr. 2494, (g) 3 Inst. 147. Rex v. Vaughan, anle, 148, 149.

4 Burr. 2500. Ante, 148. (c) I Hawk. P. C. c. 67. s. 3. As to (h) Vaughan's case, 4 Burr. 2494. this species of bribery, see the pre- ante, 148, and see Rex v. Pollman and ceding Chapter

others, 2 Campb. 229. (d) Rex v. Pitt and another, 3 Burr.


members of

promising money to a member of a corporation, to induce him to vote for the election of a mayor. (i) An information also appears to have been exhibited against a person for attempting by bribery to influence a juryman in giving his verdict. (k)

The statutes relating to the customs and excise impose penalties, Geg. 4. as well upon officers taking bribes as upon those who offer them Officers takThe 6 Geo. 4. c. 108. s. 35. enacts, that if any officer of the cus- ing bribes not toms, army, navy, or marines, duly authorized, and on full pay, duty in relaor any other person employed by the commissioners of customs, tion to the shall make any collusive seizure, or shall deliver up, or agree to customs and deliver up, or not to seize any vessel or boat, or any goods liable excise, and to forfeiture, or shall take any bribe, gratuity, recompence, or ing bribes to reward, for the neglect or non-performance of his duty, such officers to officer, &c. shall forfeit 5001. and be incapable of serving his neglect their Majesty in any office whatever, civil or military: and every person to penalties. who shall give, or offer, or promise to give, any bribe, recompence, or reward to, or make any collusive agreement with, any such officer as aforesaid, to induce him in any way to neglect his duty, or to do, conceal, or connive at any act, whereby any of the provisions of any act of Parliament may be evaded, shall (whether the offer be accepted or performed or not,) forfeit five hundred pounds. (1)

Bribery at elections for members of parliament was always a Bribery at crime at common law, and consequently punishable by indictment elections for or information :(m) but in order to enforce the common law, and

parliament. because it had not been found sufficient to prevent the evil, considerable penalties have been imposed upon this offence by different statutes.

The 7 & 8 W. 3. c. 7. s. 4. enacts, that all contracts, promises, 7 & 8 W.3. c. bonds, and securities to procure any return of any member to tracts

, &c. to serve in parliament, or any thing relating thereunto, shall be void; procure elecand that whoever makes or gives such contract, security, promise, tion void, and or bond, or any gift or reward, to procure a false or double return, ing them to shall forfeit three hundred pounds. (n)

forfeit 3001. The statute 2 Geo. 2. c. 24. s. 7. enacts, “that if any person 2 Geo. 2. c. 24. “who shall have, or claim to have, any right to vote in any elec- s. 7: Persons “tion of any member to serve in parliament, shall ask, receive, &c. for voting

, or take

any money or other reward, by way of gift, loan, or or forbearing "other device, or agree or contract for any money, gift, office, to vote, and employment, or other reward whatsoever, to give his vote, or

curing others to refuse or forbear to give his vote in any such election; or if to vote, or forany person by himself or any person employed by him, shall by bear to vote, “any gift or reward, or by any promise, agreement, or security, forfeit 5001.

any gift or reward, corrupt or procure any person or per- and are dissons to give his or their vote or votes, or to forbear to give his abled to vote (1) Plympton's case, 2 Ld. Raym. (n) One-third to the king, one-third

persons pro

" for

to the poor of the place concerned, (k) Young's case, cited in Rex v. and one-third to the informer, with Higgins, 2 Ěast. R. 14. and 16. his costs, to be recovered by action or (1) And see also 6 Geo. 4. c. 106. s. information. But if it appears to be

a void election, an action for this pe(m) Rex v. Pitt and another, 3 Burr. nalty is not maintainable. i Hawk. 1333. by Lord Mansfield, C. J. P. C. c. 67. s. 8. in the margin.



in any

eleco « or their vote or votes in any such election, (a) such person so tion, and to

“ offending in any of the cases aforesaid, shall, for every such hold any office or franchise. “ offence forfeit five hundred pounds.” And further, that such

offender, after judgment against him in any action, or information, or summary action or prosecution, or being otherwise lawfully convicted thereof, shall for ever be disabled to vote in any election of any member to parliament, and to hold any office or

franchise, as if such person was naturally dead. 2 G. 2. c. 24. The eighth section enacts, “that if any person offending against 8.8. Offenders “ the act shall, within the space of twelve months next after such discovering

“ election, discover any other person or persons offending against others in 12 months after “ this act, so that such person or persons so discovered be therethe election upon convicted, such person so discovering, and not having indemnified.

“ been before that time convicted of any offence against this act, “shall be indemnified and discharged from all penalties and dis

“ abilities which he shall then have incurred by any offence against Prosecutions « this act.” The eleventh section provides that no person shall must be with- be liable to any incapacity, disability, forfeiture, or penalty, unless in two years.

a prosecution be commenced within two years after the incapacity, &c. shall be incurred, or, in case of a prosecution, the same be

carried on without wilful delay. This statute

It has been holden that, notwithstanding this statute, bribery does not take in elections of members to serve in parliament still remains a away the come crime at common law; that the Legislature never meant to take mon law

away the common law crime, but to add a penal action; and that

this appears by the words in the statute," or being otherwise King's Bench will rarely

lawfully convicted thereof."(0) And a conviction upon an inproceed by formation granted by the Court of King's Bench is just the same information, as if the party had been convicted upon an indictment. (p) But

as the offender will be equally liable to the penalties of the statute,(9) that court will not interpose by information until the two years are expired, in ordinary cases ; though there may possibly be particular cases, founded on particular reasons, where it may be right to grant informations before the expiration of the time limited for commencing the prosecution on the statute. (r) And in one case, where the defendant had been convicted of bribery, and the time for bringing the penal action was not expired, the court permitted him to enter into a recognizance to appear at the expiration of that time. (s)

(a) An action will lie though the being under prosecution for perjury, party bribed does not vote according was no ground for postponing the to the bribe. Tulston v. Norton, I judgment. Rex v. Haydon, 3 Burr. Blac. R. 317. and Orme, 296, note. 1387. S. C. 1 Blac. R. 404. And the

(o) Fex v. Pitt and another, 3 Burr. Court refused to stay judgment upon 1335. S. C. 1 Blac. R. 380.

the postea where they were moved to (p) Rex v. Pitt and another, 3 Burr. do so on the ground that the defendant 1389.

had made a discovery of another per(7) Coombe v. Pitt, 1 Blac. R. 524. son offending against the statute, who (r) Rex v.Pitt & another, 3Burr, 1340. bad been convicted on his (the de

(8) Rex v. Heydon, 3 Burr. 1359, fendant's) evidence. Pugh v. CurgenBut where that time had expired, the ven, 3 Wils. 35. And see the cases Court held that the circumstance of collected in 1 Hawk, P. C. c. 67. s. 10. the witness, by whose evidence the note (4) where see also as to the Court defendant was convicted of bribery, of King's Begch granting a new trial.

crime. But the Court of

Where a friend of the candidate gave an elector five guineas to Construction vote, and took from him a note for that sum, but at the same time of the statute. gave a counter note to deliver up the first note when the elector had voted, it was held to be an absolute gift and bribery within the act, although the elector voted for the opposite party.(t) And laying a wager with the voter that he does not vote for a particular candidate is also bribery within the act.(u) In an action upon this statute it has been held, that, before the time of election, any one is a candidate for whom a vote is asked ; and that it is not competent to the defendant to dispute a man's right of voting when he has asked him for his vote; it being immaterial whether the voter bribed had a right to vote or not, if he claimed to have such right. (w) It seems that a declaration upon this statute must state what the bribe was, and specify that the defendant took money or some other particular species of reward; and where it stated generally “that the defendant did receive a gift or reward, in the disjunctive, it was held bad, and that the defect might be taken advantage of in arrest of judgment, the charge being of a criminal nature. (x)

As to the person who shall be considered as a discoverer within Who shall be the eighth section of the statute, so as to be indemnified from deemed a disits penalties, it has been decided that the circumstance of a party the eighth having been, within the limited time, a plaintiff in an action on section of the the statute, and having prosecuted it to judgment, does not prove so as to be him to have been the first discoverer. Lord Mansfield, C. J. ob- indemnified, served, that the Court had not said, nor would say, that a plaintiff cunnot be the discoverer ; but that the act does not make him so, or consider him as the discoverer; and that as the plaintiff could not be the witness himself in the action, some other person must have been the wituess; it was not therefore to be presumed, without any evidence of it, that the plaintiff in the action was the first discoverer. (y) And where one person procured another to make an affidavit of facts amounting to bribery, and then prosecuted a third person upon those facts to conviction and judgment, it was held that the person making the affidavit was the discoverer. (2) With respect to what shall be deemed a conviction within this section, it has been held that a verdict will not be sufficient, and that there must be a judgment; but that when the judgment is obtained it will relate, for the purpose of the indemnity, to the time when the discovery was first made. (a)

A recent statute, 49 Geo. 3. c. 118. reciting that the giving 49 Geo. 3, money, &c. in order to procure the return of a member to Parlia- c. 118. s. 1. ment, if not given to or for the use of some person having a right, nalties on per

coverer within

(t) Sulston v. Norton, 3 Burr. 1235. illegal. I Blac. Rep. 317.

(w) Combe v. Pitt, 1 Blac. R. 523. (u) 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 67. s. 10. note (x) Davy r. Baker, 5 Burr. 2471. (4), citing Lloft 552. and referring also (y) Curgenven v. Cuming, 4 Burr. to Allen v. Hearne, I T. R. 56. where 2504. a wager between two voters, with re- (z) Sibly v. Cuming, 4 Burr. 2464. spect to the event of an election, laid (a) Sutton v. Bishop; 1 Blac. R. before the poll began, was beld to be 665.

to yoters.

sons giving or or claiming to have a right, to act as returning officer, or to vote receiving mo

at the election, is not bribery within the former statute, (2 Geo. 2. ney, &c. to procure the

c. 24.) enacts, that if any person shall give, or cause to be given, election of a

directly or indirectly, or promise, or agree to give, any money, member to Parliament,

gift, or reward, upon any engagement or agreement that the perthough such son to whom, to whose use, or on whose behalf, such gift or promoney, &c.

mise shall be made, shall by himself, or by any other at his request be not given

or command, procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person to Parliament for any place, he shall, if not returned himself to Parliament for such place, for every such gift or promise forfeit one thousand pounds; and if returned, and having given, or promised to give, or knowing of and consenting to such gifts or promises, shall be disabled and incapacitated to serve in that Parliament for such place, and shall be as if he had never been returned or elected a member of Parliament. And it enacts also, that any person who shall receive or accept of by himself, or by any other, to his use or on his behalf, any such money, gift, or reward, or any promise upon any such engagement, contract, or agreement, shall forfeit the value and amount of such money, gift, or reward, over and above the sum of five hundred

pounds. (b) 49 Geo. 3. The third section of this statute enacts, that if any person c. 118. s. 3.

shall by himself, or by any other, give or procure to be given, imposes penalties upon per- or promise to give or procure to be given, any office, place, sons giving or employment, upon any express contract or agreement that or receiving

the offices, &c. by

person to whom, or to whose use, or on whose behalf, such way of bribes gift or promise shall be made, shall by himself, or by any other at to procure the his request or command, procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of members to

return of any person to Parliament for any place, such person so Parliament. returned, and so having given or procured to be given, or so pro

mised to give or procure to be given, or knowing of and consenting to such gift or promise upon any such express contract or agreement, shall be disabled and incapacitated to serve in that Parliament for such place, and be deemed no member of Parliament, and as if he had never been returned; and any person who shall receive or accept of by himself or by any other, to his use or on his behalf, any such office, place, or employment, upon such express contract or agreement, shall forfeit such office, &c. and be incapacitated for holding the same, and shall forfeit five hundred pounds. And it further enacts, that any person holding any office under his Majesty, who shall give such office, appointment, or place, upon any such express contract or agreement that the person to whom, or for whose use, such office, &c. shall have been given, shall so procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person to Parliament, shall forfeit one thousand


49 Geo. 3. c.

The fourth section of the statute enacts, that no person shall 118.8.4. limits be liable to any forfeiture or penalty imposed by the act, unless prosecutions,

some prosecution, action, or suit for the offence committed, shall &c. to two

(6) s. 1. The second section pro- to or by any person, for any legal ex-> the offence.

vides that the act shall not extend to pense bona fide incurred at or couany money paid, or agreed to be paid, cerning any election.

years after

« EelmineJätka »