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Where a witness stated that he had said to one of the prisoners, “ You had better split, and not suffer for all of them,” Patteson J. rejected the evidence of what was aftewards said by that prisoner to this witness. Rex v. Thomas, 6 C. & P. 353.
On the trial of an indictment against a servant, before Parke B. for a misdemeanor in attempting to set fire to her master's house, it appeared that the prisoner was a girl of thirteen, and domestic servant to the prosecutor, who kept a beer-house. His wife lived with him, and took her share in the management of the house. After the attempt to set the house on fire was discovered, the prisoner came into the room where her mistress was, in the absence of the prosecutor, and her mistress said to her, “ Mary, my girl, if you are guilty, do confess; it will perhaps save your neck; you will have to go to prison if William H. (another person suspected, and whom the prisoner had charged) is found clear; the guilt will fall on you." She made no answer. The mistress then said, “ Pray tell me if you did it?” The prisoner then confessed. It was contended, on the part of the prosecution, that the prosecutor's wife had no authority, real or apparent, over the prosecution, so as to hold out any hope which could influence the prisoner, so as to make a false statement, in order that her life might be spared, and therefore that her confession was admissible; and Rev. Hardwick, 1 Phil. Ev., and Rex v. Row, C. C. R. 153. (see post, 1083.) were cited. The confession was received in evidence, and the prisoner having been convicted, the question as to its admissibility was reserved for the consideration of the judges. At a meeting of ten judges, Jan. 16. 1836, it was held that the conviction was wrong. H. T. 1836. MS. Rex v. Maria Anne Upchurch, Huntingdon Summer assizes, 1835.
In Rex v. Dunn, 4 C. & P. 543., Bosanquet J. said, “ Any person telling a prisoner that it will be better for him to confess, will always exclude any confession made to that person. Whether a prisoner's having been told by one person that it will be better for him to confess will exclude a confession subsequently made to another person is very often a nice question; but it will always
exclude a statement made to the same person." Confessions In a case where hopes of favour had been given, and the primade to persons soner refused before the magistrates to confess, except upon conafter promises ditions, Mr. Justice Buller observed, that there must be very strong of favour by other parties.
evidence of an explicit warning by the magistrate not to rely on any expected favour on that account, and it ought most clearly to appear, that the prisoner thoroughly understood such warning before his subsequent confession could be given in evidence: 2 East, P.C: 658. So where the committing magistrate told the prisoner that, if he would make a confession, he would do all he could for him; after his committal the prisoner made a statement to the turnkey
, who held out no inducement, and gave no caution ; J. Parke J. said
, he thought the evidence ought not to be received, after what the committing magistrate had said to the prisoner, more especially as the turnkey had not given any caution: Rex v. Cooper, 5 C. & P.
535. But in a case tried before Mr. Justice Bayley (Rex v. LirWhen such are gate, 1 Phil. Ev. 105.), where it appeared that the prisoner, on admissible.
being taken into custody, had been told by a person who came to assist the constable, that it would be better for him to confess, but
that, on his being examined before the committing magistrate on the following day, he was frequently cautioned by the magistrate to say nothing against himself, a confession under these circumstances before the magistrates, was held to be clearly admissible. In a still later case, it appeared that a constable told the prisoner he might do himself some good by confessing; the prisoner afterwards asked the magistrate if it would benefit him to confess; on which the magistrate said he could not say it would, and the prisoner declined confessing; but afterwards in his way to prison, he made a confession to another constable ; the judges were unanimous in holding, that the confessions were admissible in evidence, on the ground that the magistrate's answer was sufficient to efface any expectation which the constable might have raised: Rex v. Rosier, 1 Phil. Ev. 105. And where persons having nothing to do with the apprehension, prosecution, or examination of the prisoner, advised him in the presence of the constable who had him in custody, to tell the truth, and consider his family; it was held that such admonition was no ground for excluding a confession made an hour afterwards to the constable in prison: Rex v. Row, Russ. & Ry. C. C. R. 153. Nor is it any objection to a confession made before a magistrate, that the prosecutor, who was present, first desired the prisoner to speak the truth, and suggested that he had better speak out, provided the magistrate or his clerk immediately checked the prosecutor, desiring the prisoner not to regard him, but to say what he thought proper : Rex v. Edwards, i Phil. Ev. 104. So where the counsel for the prisoner objected to a confession before a committing magistrate, and offered to prove that the wife of the constable had told the prisoner, some days before the commitment, that it would be better for him to confess, Mr. Baron Wood over-ruled the objection, and admitted the confession: Rex v. Hardwick, Phil. Ev. 105.
In the case of Rex v. Eliz. Gibbons (1 Carr & P. 97.), who was indicted for the murder of her bastard child, a surgeon was called to prove certain confessions made by the prisoner to him. He stated that he had held out no threat or promise to induce her to confess; but a woman who was present, said that she had told the prisoner she had better tell all; and then the witness made certain confessions to the surgeon. It was thereupon objected by the counsel for the prisoner, that as the confession was made after an inducement held out, it could not be received in evidence : but Mr. Justice Park, before whom the trial took place, after consulting with Mr. Baron Hullock, held that as no inducement had been held out by the surgeon, to whom the confession was made, and the only inducement had been held out by a person having no authority, it must be presumed that the confession to the surgeon was a free and voluntary one. If the promise had been held out by a person having any office or authority, as the prosecutor, constable, &c., the case would be different: but here some person, having no authority of any sort, officiously says, you had better confess. No confession follows, but sometime afterwards, to another person, the prisoner, without any inducement held out, confesses. The learned judge added, that he and Mr. Baron Hullock had not the least doubt that the evidence was admissible. The same law was afterwards laid down by Mr. Baron Hullock, in the case of Rex v. Tyler and Finch (1 Čarr. & P. 129.), where the counsel on the part of the prosecution was about to prove a confession of the prisoner Finch made to a constable, and the counsel for the prisoners proposed to shew that the prisoner Finch, being locked up alone in a room at a public house, was told by a man that the other prisoner had told all, and he had better do the same to save his neck; and that on this, he confessed. But the learned Baron held, that as the promise (if any) was by a person wholly without authority, the subsequent confession to the constable, who had held out no inducement, must be considered as voluntary, and was therefore evidence.
The result of these cases seems to be, that a confession is not inadmissible, although made after an exhortation, or admonition, or other similar influence, proceeding at a prior time from some one who has nothing to do with the apprehension, prosecution, or examination of the prisoner : for a promise made by a person
wbo interferes without any authority of this kind, is not to be presumed to have such an effect on the mind of the prisoner as to induce
him to confess. Subsequent con- The above cited cases of Rex v. Lingate and Rex v. Rosier furfession receiv. ther appear to establish the proposition, that if the impression that able if the im: a confession is likely to benefit him has been removed from the pression that it mind of a prisoner, what he says will be evidence against him, fit has been re- although he has been advised to confess. Accordingly, in Rex v. moved. Clewes, 4 C. & P.221., a prisoner charged with murder was visited
by a magistrate, who told him that if he was not the man who struck the fatal blow, he would use all his endeavours and influence to prevent any ill consequence from falling on him, if he would disclose what he knew of the murder. The magistrate wrote to the secretary of state, who returned an answer that mercy could not be extended to the prisoner; which answer was communicated to the prisoner, who afterwards sent for the coroner, and desired to make a statement to him. The coroner cautioned him, and added, that no hopes or promise of pardon could be held out to him. - Littledale J. ruled that a confession subsequently made by the prisoner to the coroner, was admissible ; for that the conversation with the magistrate after he received the secretary of state's letter, and the caution given by the coroner, must be taken to have completely put an end to all the hopes that had been held out. (See also Rex v. Richards, post, p. 1087. Rex v.
Howes, ibid.) Instances of ad- It is no objection that the confession was made under a mismissible con. taken supposition that some of the prisoner's accomplices were in fessions.
custody: not even though some artifice has been used to draw him
into that supposition; Rex v. Burley, 1 Phil. Ev. 104. Cases not
In a case reserved for the opinion of the twelve judges, a amounting to person of the name of Miller, the chief officer of the police at threats or sup
Liverpool, stated, that on the 18th of November, the prisoner, a posed induce- boy of fourteen years of age, was apprehended by his directions
without any warrant, between twelve and one o'clock, and that he Thornton's case. was carried to the police office about one o'clock. The magistrates
were then sitting at a very short distance, and continued sitting till between two and three, and till the business
presented to them was finished; but the prisoner was not carried before them, because the police officer was engaged elsewhere. The officer opdered the prisoner to bridewell on his own authority, between four
and five o'clock; and between five and six o'clock, he told the prisoner, that in consequence of the falsehoods the prisoner had told, and the prevarications he had made, there was no doubt but he had set the premises on fire; and he therefore asked him if any person had been concerned with him, or induced him to do it? The prisoner said he had not done it. The police officer replied, that he would not have told so many falsehoods as he had, if he had not been concerned in it, and he again asked him if any body had induced him to do it? The prisoner then began to cry, and made a full confession. In speaking of the falsehoods the police officer referred to an examination of the prisoner he had himself made. The prisoner was taken before he had dined, and had had no food from the time he was apprehended till after his confession. The learned judge thought it deserved consideration, whether a confession so obtained, when the detention of the prisoner was perhaps illegal, and when the conduct of the officer was calculated to intimidate, was admissible in evidence, and reserved the point for the opinion of the judges. In Trinity term 1824, the judges met and considered this case, and the majority of the judges present, viz. Abbott Ld. C. J., Alexander C. B., Graham B., Park J., Burrough J., Garrow B., Hullock B., held the confession rightly received, on the ground that no threat or promise had been used. Best C. J., Bayley J., Holroyd J., were of the contrary opinion. Rer v. Sylvester Thornton, Ry & Mood. C.C.R. 27.
In another case (Rex v. Derrington, 2 C. & P. 418.), where the prisoner, while in gaol, asked the turnkey if he would put a letter into the post for him, and after his promising to do so, the prisoner gave him a letter addressed to his father, and the turnkey, instead of putting it into the post, gave it to the visiting magistrates of the gaol, who gave it to the prosecutor; it was held by Mr. Baron Garrow, that the letter so obtained, was admissible in evidence; and the learned Baron said, he remembered making an objection, when at the bar, to evidence under the same circumstances before Mr. Justice Gould, who overruled it.
Where, on a prisoner being brought up for examination, the magistrates told him that his wife had already confessed the whole, and that there was enough against him to send a bill before the grand jury, upon which the prisoner immediately made a confession; the reception of the confession was objected to, on the ground of its having been made upon a threat ; but Parke J. overruled the objection, saying, that he rather considered it as a caution. Rex v. Wright, Lewin C. C. 48.
Where a prisoner, charged with arson, was told “ that there was a very serious oath laid against her by B. B., who had sworn that she had set fire to O.'s rick, a confession afterwards made by the prisoner was received by Gurney B. in evidence. Rex v. Long, 6 C. & P. 179.
In the case of Rex v. Gilham, reserved for the opinion of the Rex v. Gilham. twelve judges, and argued before them in Easter term 1828 Confession ob(1 Mood. C. C. 186.), the prisoner had been tried and convicted tained by the for murder, principally upon the evidence of his own confessions influence of reto the gaoler and the mayor. These confessions the prisoner had ligious per
. been induced to make by the previous exertion of religious persuasion on the part of the chaplain of the gaol, and under the influence of his representations of the Christian necessity and
benefit of confessing. The judges were of opinion that the confessions had been properly received, and that the conviction was right; upon the ground, it is understood, that there were no temporal hopes of benefit or forgiveness held out; and that such hopes
, if referrible merely to a future state of existence, are not within the principle on which the rule for excluding confessions obtained by improper influence is founded. And the prisoner was executed.
(See also Rex v. Nute, infrà.) Confessions If a confession has been obtained from the prisoner by undue made after a former one un- of that confession cannot be admitted as evidence: 2 East, P.C.
means, any statement afterwards made by him under the influence duly obtained.
c. 16. § 94. p. 658. Rex v. White, 1 Phil. Er. 104.
In the case of Rer v. Sarah Nute (MS. C. C. R.), the prisoner was suspected of setting fire to an outhouse; her mistress pressed her to confess, and told her among other things, if she would repent and confess, God would forgive her, but she concealed from her that she would not forgive her herself: she confessed
. The next day another person in her mistress's sight, though out of her hearing, told her, her mistress said she bad confessed, and drew from her a second confession. Ld. Eldon C.J. (C.P.) allowed the confessions in evidence, and the prisoner was convicted. The jury, on having the confessions put to them, said they thought the first confession made under a hope of favour here
, and the second under the influence of having made the first
. On a case reserved
, the judges held these points were not for the jury, but if Ld. Eldon agreed with the jury, which he did, the confessions were not receivable; but many of them thought the expressions not calculated to raise hope of favour here, and if not, the confessions were evidence.
The King v. Sexton, MS. The prisoner, with two others, was tried before Mr. Justice Best, at the Summer assizes for the city of Ner: wich 1822, for burglary. Whilst the prisoner was in custody be said to the officer
who had the charge of him, “ If you will give me a glass of gin, I will tell you all about it." Two glasses of gin were given to him, and he made a confession of his guilt. The officer left the prisoner, and afterwards wrote down from recollection what the prisoner said to him. What the officer wrote was read over to the pris soner before the committing magistrate, who told the prisoner that the offence imputed to him affected his life, and that a confession might do him harm. The prisoner said, that what had been read to him was the truth, and signed the paper. - Best J. There are two objections to the admissibility of this evidence. The confession was very improperly obtained by the officer. (See ant., p. 1091, and note (a).) Police officers must not be permitted to tamper with prisoners to induce them to make confessions; no kind of tampering is so dangerous as the giving them spirituous liquors
. Had the magistrate known that the officer had given the prisoner gin, he would, no doubt, have told the prisoner that what he had already said could not be given in evidence against him, and that it was for him to consider whether he would make a second confession. If the prisoner had been told this, what he afterwards said would be evidence against him ; but for want of this information, he might think that he could not make his case worse than he had already made it, and under this impression might sign the confes. sion before the magistrate. If a confession so obtained were als