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“ that he did owe a debt, but that he had paid it,” such an admission will not be received as evidence to prove the debt, without being also evidence of the payment.' Or a
Or a prisoner may admit killing a man, and state facts which may reduce it to manslaughter. In these, and all similar cases, the statements favourable to a prisoner, or explanatory of his conduct, cannot be omitted, but as well as those militating against him, must be received, though the jury in this, as in all other cases of evidence, must decide what parts they believe to be true. The confession is evidence only against the person confessing, not against accomplices. Several Confessions persons being charged with a criminal offence, against one of them, in the presence of the others, stated before a magistrate that he himself, and one of the others, committed the offence; the person thus charged did not deny it; it was held that this was no evidence against him.
A plea of guilt is a confession in the fullest Plea of guilt degree, and will take effect on the deliberation of the court : but, as elsewhere observed, it is wisely and mercifully directed, that a court martial do notwithstanding receive and report such evidence as may afford to the authority, which has discretion in carrying into effect the sentence, a full knowledge of all the attendant circumstances. If “a voluntary confession made by a prisoner to any person, at any time or place, is strong evidence against him, and if satisfactorily proved sufficient to convict without any corroboratory circumstances,” (and this
(1) 1 Phil. 111.
is an admitted rule of evidence,) much more must a plea of guilt on a solemn arraignment be admitted as conclusive. A court martial, failing to receive and report such tendered evidence as may afford a full knowledge of circumstances, would, doubtless, commit a great breach of military duty; but, in the eye of the law, a decision arising from a plea of guilt, notwithstanding the rejection of evidence, may be maintained; and any sentence resulting therefrom, if confirmed and acted on, and not otherwise illegal, could not expose the members of the court martial to any penalty, on any proceeding in a court of common law. The superior courts will not permit courts of inferior jurisdiction created by statute, to adopt any rules of evidence, but such as are recognized by them or provided by statute. The mutiny act by itself, and through the instrumentality of the articles of war, ascertains the jurisdiction of courts martial, and the general orders for the army may, and often do, lay down rules as to the mode of conducting the proceedings; but the rules of evidence can only be ascertained by reference to the established maxims of the common law courts.
OF WRITTEN EVIDENCE.
Writings are either public or. private. It will be necessary to refer, very briefly only, to public writings; they are either of record or not of record, judicial or not judicial. Records are the memorials of the proceedings of the legislature, and of the king's courts of justice,
preserved in rolls of parchment, and are considered of such authority, that no evidence is allowed to contradict them. As records cannot be transferred from the place of deposit, examined copies are admitted as the best producible evidence. Copies of records of courts Copies of of justice are of two kinds, under seal, or not under seal. Those under seal are called exemplifications, and are of higher credit than any sworn copy, and may be under the great seal of chancery, the record itself having been either there originally or come thither by certiorari, or under the seal of some other court. An exemplification under the broad seal is evidence without further proof. An exemplification Under weal, under seal of the court to which the record belongs, is also good evidence without extrinsic proof; except the seals of private courts, foreign colonial courts, and corporate bodies, which ought to be proved by a witness acquainted with the impression. Copies of records not Not under seal, under seal, are either sworn copies or office copies. Sworn copies should contain the whole Sworn copies, of the record; they are to be proved, as other transcripts, by a witness who has compared the copy line for line with the original, or who has examined the copy while another person read the original ; and it ought to appear that the original came from the proper place of deposit, or out of the hands of the officer in whose custody the records are kept. An office copy, or office copies, copy of a record, authenticated by a person appointed for the purpose, is good evidence of
(1) I Phil. 308. (3) 1 Phil. 385.
(6) 16. 387.
(2) 16. 384.
Acts of Parliament,
the contents of the original, without any proof of its being an examined copy ; but where an officer of a court is only entrusted with the custody of records, and is not authorized to make out a copy, a transcript by him must be proved as other copies. Acts of parliament relate either to the kingdom at large, when they are called general acts; or only to particular classes of men, or to certain individuals, in which case they are called private ;' but a special clause is often inserted, declaring acts relating to individuals public, and making copies
of private acts printed by the king's printer General Acts, available evidence. Public acts are not, cor
rectly speaking, the subject of proof in any court of justice, for, being the law of the land, they are supposed to be known to every man; and, therefore, printed copies of such acts and the printed statute books are resorted to by courts of justice, not as evidence to prove that of which every man is supposed cognizant, but for the purpose of refreshing the memories of those who are to decide on them. Upon the same principle, the book of the general regulations and orders for the army, issuing from the adjutant general's office, and printed by authority; and the collection of regulations emanating from the war office and published by order of the secretary at war, are admitted on courts martial to refresh the memory, but are not the subject of proof; it being a presumption of military law, that such orders are known to all military men, as public acts of parliament are presumed to be known to every individual
(1) ) Phil. 388. (2) Ib. 300. (3) Ib. 384.
General Regulations and Orders,
of the community at large. Private acts are proved like other records, by examined copies compared with the original at Westminster.
The articles of war are, by the annual mutiny Articles of War. act, required to be judicially taken notice of by all courts whatsoever, and copies of the same, printed by the king's printer, are required to be transmitted by the secretary at war, signed with his own hand and name, to the judges of the supreme courts at home, and to the governors of his majesty's dominions abroad.
The gazette purporting to be printed by the Gazette. king's printer, is good evidence of all acts relating to the king or state, contained therein ;3 and, by the general orders of the army, is to be received as a due notification of all promotions, exchanges or retirements.
The rules as to the admission of the proof of Agradesy judgments of courts of justice, are not to be proceedingende rejected by courts martial, and may sometimes apply on the impeachment of witnesses, as to competency and credibility; and, since former convictions may now be given in aggravation of the sentence on deserters, and in all other cases) for the purpose of affixing punishment, it is more necessary than heretofore to advert to them, as correct rules of proceeding, in such cases, cannot be derived from precedents in military courts, but must be sought, when applicable and analogous, in the proceedings of the established law courts of England. A's Copies of records copies of records of courts of justice, authenti
(1) 1 Phil. 385.
(3) 2 Leach, 676. (2) Mut. Act, Sec. 4.
(4) Gen. Reg. p. 45. (5) Mut. Act, Sec. 21. 84 Art. War.