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[off,) and destroying or throwing any of the goods overboard ;- was to be deemed piracy. Moreover, by statute 18 Geo. II. c. 30, any natural-born subject or denizen, who in time of war shall commit hostilities at sea against any of his fellow subjects, or shall assist an enemy on that element,-is liable to be tried and convicted as a pirate (m).] And, lastly, in our own times, a further addition has been made to the list of piratical offences. For, with a view of putting an effectual stop to the slave trade, the statute 5 Geo. IV. c. 113(n), enacts, that if any British subject, wherever residing,- and whether within the dominion of Great Britain, or of any foreign country, or in the colonies,- shall (except in some particular cases therein specified), within the jurisdiction of the admiralty, knowingly convey or assist in conveying, persons as slaves, or to be dealt with as slaves, or ship them for that purpose, he shall be deemed guilty of piracy, felony and robbery (o).
Formerly the punishment for most piratical offences was death. But it has been thought expedient to relax this severity; and, now, whoever shall be convicted of piracy, is liable to be sentenced to penal servitude for life or any term not less than five years; or to be imprisoned, (with or without hard labour,) for any term not more than two years (p). But whoever, with intent to commit,
(m) Blackstone remarks (vol. iv. p. 73), that, under the statntes relating to piracy, commanders or seamen wounded, and the widows of seamen slain in any engagement with pirates, are entitled to a bounty to be divided amongst them, not exceeding one-fiftieth part of the value of the cargo on board. And further, that if the commander displays cowardice, he shall forfeit all his wages, and suffer six months' imprisonment. As to the condemnation in the Court of Admiralty of
ships and goods taken from pirates, and the salvage payable by the owners, vide sup. vol. II. p. 18.
(n) See also the enactments in repression of the slave trade, cited vol. 1. p. 109, n. (2).
(v) See R. v. Zulueta, 1 Car. & Kir. 215; Buron r, Denman, 2 Exch. 167.
(P) 5 Geo. 4, c. 113; 7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict. c. 88; 9 & 10 Vict. c. 24; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 99; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3; 27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.
or at the time of or immediately before or after committing, the crime of piracy, shall assault with intent to murder, or stab or wound, or unlawfully do any act by which the life of any person on board of or belonging to any ship or vessel may be endangered,—is liable to suffer death as a felon (9).
(9) 7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict. c. 88, s. 2. to wounding, &c. with intent to As to the general law with respect murder, vice sup. pp. 78, 79.
OF OFFENCES AGAINST JUSTICE.
We are now arrived, according to the arrangement before laid down, at the consideration of offences against justice (a). Of these, some are felonious, others only misdemeanors.
I. The first of these which we shall mention, are stealing, injuring, forging or falsifying records ; which practices are high offences against public justice. For no man's property would be safe if records might be suppressed or falsified, or persons' names be falsely usurped in courts (6) With regard to the stealing or injuring of records, this is provided against by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 30; and it is made felony, punishable by penal servitude to the extent of five years (c), or imprisonment not more than two years, with or without hard labour and solitary confinement, to steal or fraudulently take from its
proper deposit or custody,-or maliciously cancel, obliterate, injure or destroy,—any record, writ, return, panel, process, interrogatory, deposition, affidavit, rule, order, or warrant of attorney, or any original document whatever, belonging to any court of record or equity, or relating to any matter in such court (d). And the forgery or falsification of records is provided against by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 98, ss. 27, 28, which enact that it shall be a felony punishable by
(a) Vide sup. p. 149.
also bind over the offender to keep the peace. (24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 30.)
imprisonment as above mentioned, or penal servitude to the extent of seven years, to forge, or fraudulently alter or utter, any such court record or document as above specified. And that the above penalties shall also attach to any person who, as clerk of any court or otherwise, shall knowingly utter any false copy or certificate of any record, or forge the seal or process, of any court of record (e). There are also provisions on this subject contained in an earlier statute, viz., the 1 & 2 Vict. c. 94, intituled “ An Act for keeping safely the Public Records.” that statute it is enacted, that for any person employed in the Public Record Office to certify any writing as a true copy of a record in the custody of the Master of the Rolls, knowing the same to be false in any material part, --shall be felony: and he is punishable with penal servitude for life, or not less than five years; or imprisonment for not more than four, nor less than two years (S). Moreover, by 14 & 15 Vict. c. 99 (the “ Evidence Amendment Act, 1851"), if any officer authorized or required by that Act to furnish any certified copies or extracts shall wilfully certify any document as being a true copy or extract, knowing that the same is not so, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and be liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding eighteen months (9).
II. [Striking, or other outrage, in the superior courts of justice, in Westminster Hall, or at the assizes, is highly penal. Indeed by the antient common law before the Conquest, striking in the king's courts of justice, or drawing a sword therein, was a capital felony (h); and
(@) If the court think fit, it may also bind over the offender to keep the peace. (24 & 25 Vict. c. 98, 8. 51.)
(f) 1 & 2 Vict. c. 94, s. 19; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 99; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3;
27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.
(9) 14 & 15 Vict. c. 99, s. 15.
(1) Wilk. Leg. Anglo-Sax. LL. Inæ, c. 6; LL, Canut. c. 56; LL. Alured. c. 7.
[our modern law retains so much of the antient severity, as only to exchange the loss of life for the loss of the offending limb. Therefore a stroke or blow in the superior courts, or courts of assize or oyer and terminer, whether blood be drawn or not; or assaulting a judge sitting in the court, by drawing a weapon, even without any blow struck;—is punishable with the loss of the right hand (i), imprisonment for life, and forfeiture of goods and chattels, and of the profits of the offender's lands during life (k). Moreover, not such only as commit actual violence of this description, but such as use threatening or reproachful words to any judge sitting in the courts, are guilty of a high misprision; and have been punished with large fines, imprisonment, and other corporal punishment(?). And even in the inferior courts, an affray or contemptuous behaviour is punishable with a fine, by the judges there sitting; as by the steward in a court leet, or the like (m).
(i) Lord Thanet and others were attorney-general entered a nolle prosecuted by an information filed prosequi upon the three first counts; by the attorney-general, for a riot and the court pronounced judgment at the trial of Arthur O'Connor and of fine and imprisonment, as for a others for treason, under a special common riot.-(Christian's Blackcommission at Maidstone. Two of stone.) the defendants were found guilty, (k) Staundf. P. C. 38; 3 Inst. generally. The three first counts 140, 141; Hawk. b. 1, c. 21, s. 3. charged (inter alia,) that the de- So it is laid down that a rescue of a fendants did riotously make an as- prisoner from any of the said courts, sault on one J. R., and did then and is punishable with perpetual imprithere beat, bruise, round and ill- sonment and forfeiture of goods, treat the said J. R., in the presence and of the profits of lands during of the commissioners. When the life; but if no actual blow be given, defendants were brought up for amputation of the hand is excused. judgment, Lord Kenyon expressed (4 Bl. Com. p. 125.) See as to rescue doubts, whether, upon this infor- in other cases, post, p. 230. mation, the court was not bound to (1) Harrison's case, Cro. Car. 503. pronounce the judgment of ampu- The court itself, also, against which tation of the right hand, &c. as re- the contempt is committed, has quired in a prosecution expressly power to punish it in a summary for striking in a court of justice. way by fine or imprisonment. In consequence of these doubts, the (n) Hawk. P. C. b. 1, c. 21, s. 11. VOL. IV.