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ARGUED AND DETERMINED
THE POOR LAWS,
POINTS IN CRIMINAL LAW,
AND OTHER SUBJECTS
CHIEFLY CONNECTED WITH
The Duties and Office of Magistrates:
MICHAELMAS TERM 1848, TO TRINITY TERM 1849,
REPORTED PRINCIPALLY BY
PHILIP BOCKETT BARLOW, Esq., HENRY JOHN HODGSON, Esq.,
FORMING PART III. OF
NEW SERIES, VOL. XVIII.
THE LAW JOURNAL REPORTS.
Printed by James Holmes, 4, Took's Court, Chancery Lane.
PUBLISHED BY EDWARD BRET INCE, 5, QUALITY COURT, CHANCERY LANE.
REPORTS OF CASES
THE DUTIES AND OFFICE OF MAGISTRATES:
MICHAELMAS TERM, 12 VICTORIÆ.
At the trial of a servant for attempting to poison her mistress, a medical man, having denied that he had held out any inducement to the prisoner to confess, gave evidence of a confession, without which the prisoner could not have been convicted. Evidence was then given that before she made her confession he had said to her in the presence of her mistress, "it will be better for you to tell the truth." The medical man was recalled, but did not admit this, and the Judge left the evidence, including the confession, to the jury; but reported that if the evidence had been given in the first instance, he should have excluded the confession : — Held, that the confession ought to have been struck out, and that the conviction was wrong.
Per Erle, J.-Whether an exhortation to tell the truth, is a mere exhortation or an inducement to confess, is a question for the Judge at the trial.
This was an indictment, tried before Patteson, J., at the Summer Assizes for
(1) This case was reserved prior to the 11 & 12 Vict. c. 78, but was heard by the following Judges, who sat as the court, under that act: Pollock, C.B., Patteson, J., Maule, J., Cresswell, J., and Erle, J. NEW SERIES, XVIII.-MAG. CAS.
-Lincoln, against the prisoner, a girl of the age of thirteen, for administering poison to her mistress, Mary Smith, with intent to murder her. It was proved that the prisoner had given her mistress, who was bedridden, some milk, in which a quantity of fag-water had been mixed. Fag-water is a mixture of arsenic, soft soap, and water, used for dressing sheep. But in order to prove that the prisoner had put the fag-water into the milk, that she knew the nature of it, and intended to murder her mistress, her own confession to Mr. Gilby, a medical man who attended her, made in the presence of the prisoner's mistress and her husband, was offered in evidence. Mr. Gilby, on being questioned, swore that he did not tell the prisoner that it would be better or worse for her to tell; that he used no threats or promises, nor did any one else; and it appeared that before Mr. Gilby's arrival the prisoner had not made any confession, nor had any threats or promises been held out to her. Patteson, J. admitted Mr. Gilby's statement, which was as follows:-I asked her if she had given the woman anything in her milk; she said she had mixed fag-water with the milk; she had put in half a teacup full. I asked her if she was aware of the nature of it; she said she knew it was poison; she thought it would kill the woman; that she had done it to be released from her service. A woman of the name of