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of the same to be written at least as close as the said acts usually are, and not in any hand commonly called court hand, and in words at length and not abbreviated, any law, custom, or usage heretofore to the contrary thereof notwithstanding: and all and every person or persons offending against this act, shall, for every such offence, forfeit Penalty, and pay the sum of fifty pounds to any person who shall 50%. sue for the same by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information in any of his majesty's courts of record in Westminster Hall, or Court of Exchequer in Scotland, respectively, wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law, or more than one imparlance, shall be allowed.
7 Geo. 4, c. 64.
committed on the boun
in either county.
XII. For the more effectual prosecution of offences Offences committed near the boundaries of counties, or partly in one county and partly in another, be it enacted, that where any daries of felony or misdemeanor shall be committed on the boundary counties, or boundaries of two or more counties, or within the dis. may be tried tance of five hundred yards of any such boundary or boundaries, or shall be begun in one county and completed in another, every such felony or misdemeanor may be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in any of the said counties, in the same manner as if it had been actually and wholly committed therein.
XIII. And, for the more effectual prosecution of offences Offences committed committed during journeys from place to place, be it enacted, during a that where any felony or misdemeanor shall be committed journey or on any person, or on or in respect of any property in or voyage,may upon any coach, waggon, cart, or other carriage whatever be tried in employed in any journey, or shall be committed on any through person, or on or in respect of any property on board any which the vessel whatever, employed on any voyage or journey upon coach, & any navigable river, canal, or inland navigation, such passed. felony or misdemeanor may be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in any county through any part whereof such coach, waggon, cart, carriage, or vessel shall have passed in the course of the journey or voyage during which such felony or misdemeanor shall have been committed, in the same manner as if it had been actually committed in such county; and in all cases where the side, centre, or other part of any highway, or the side, bank, centre, or other part of any such river, canal, or navigation, shall constitute the boundary of any two counties, such felony or misdemeanor may be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in either of the said counties through or adjoining to, or by the boundary of any part whereof, such coach, waggon, cart, carriage, or vessel shall have passed in the course of the journey or voyage during which such felony or misdemeanor shall have been
committed, in the same manner as if it had been actually committed in such county.
XIV. And in order to remove the difficulty of stating ment for of the names of all the owners of property in the case of partfences com- ners and other joint-owners, be it enacted, that in any inthe property dictment or information for any felony or misdemeanor, of partners, wherein it shall be requisite to state the ownership of any it may be property whatsoever, whether real or personal, which shall laid in any belong to, or be in the possession of more than one person, by name whether such persons be partners in trade, joint-tenants, and others. parceners, or tenants in common, it shall be sufficient to
Property be longing to counties,&c.
may be laid
in the in
habitants of the county.
the poor of
name one of such persons, and to state such property to belong to the person so named, and another or others, as the case may be; and whenever, in any indictment or information for any felony or misdemeanor, it shall be necessary to mention, for any purpose whatsoever, any partners, joint-tenants, parceners, or tenants in common, it shall be sufficient to describe them in the manner aforesaid; and this provision shall be construed to extend to all joint-stock companies and trustees.
XV. And, with respect to the property of counties, ridings, and divisions, be it enacted, that in any indictment or information for a felony or misdemeanor committed in, upon, or with respect to any bridge, court, gaol, house of correction, infirmary, asylum, or other building, erected or maintained in the whole, or in part, at the expense of any county, riding, or division, or on or with respect to any goods or chattels whatsoever, provided for, or at the expense of any county, riding, or division, to be used for making, altering, or repairing any bridge, or any highway at the ends thereof, or any court or other such building as aforesaid, or to be used in or with any such court or other building, it shall be sufficient to state any such property, real or personal, to belong to the inhabitants of such county, riding, or division; and it shall not be necessary to specify the names of any of such inhabitants.
XVI. And, with respect to the property of parishes, ordered for townships, and hamlets, be it enacted, that in any indictthe use of ment or information for any felony or misdemeanor comparishes,&c. mitted in, upon, or with respect to any workhouse or may be laid poorhouse, or on, or with respect to any goods or chattels in the over whatsoever, provided for the use of the poor of any parish
or parishes, township or townships, hamlet or hamlets, place or places, or to be used in any workhouse or poorhouse, in or belonging to the same, or by the master or mistress of such workhouse or poorhouse, or by any workmen or servants employed therein, it shall be sufficient to state any such property to belong to the overseers of the poor for the time being of such parish or parishes, township or townships, hamlet or hamlets, place or places, and it shall not be necessary to specify the names of all or any of such overseers; and in any indictment or information for any felony
&c. for re
or misdemeanor committed on or with respect to any mate- Materiale, rials, tools, or implements, provided for making, altering, pairing highor repairing any highway within any parish, township, ways may hamlet, or place, otherwise than by the trustees or com- be laid to missioners of any turnpike road, it shall be sufficient to be the proaver that any such things are the property of the surveyor surveyor of perty of the or surveyors of the highways for the time being of such highways. parish, township, hamlet, or place, and it shall not be necessary to specify the name or names of any such surveyor or surveyors.
XVII. And, with respect to property under turnpike Property of trusts, be it enacted, that in any indictment or information turnpike for any felony or misdemeanor committed on, or with re- be laid in spect to any house, building, gate, machine, lamp-board, the trustees. stone, post, fence, or other thing, erected or provided in pursuance of any act of parliament for making any turnpike-road, or any of the conveniences or appurtenances thereunto respectively belonging, or any materials, tools, or implements provided for making, altering, or repairing any such road, it shall be sufficient to state any such property to belong to the trustees or commissioners of such road, and it shall not be necessary to specify the names of any of such trustees or commissioners.
In indictments for
on weavers, the property
XVIII. And, with respect to property under commissioners of sewers, be it enacted, that in any indictment or offences information for any felony or misdemeanor committed on committed or with respect to any sewer or other matter within or under the view, cognizance, or management of any commismay be laid sioners of sewers, it shall be sufficient to state any such in the comproperty to belong to the commissioners of sewers, within missioners. or under whose view, cognizance, or management any such things shall be; and it shall not be necessary to specify the names of any of such commissioners.
XIX. And for preventing abuse from dilatory pleas, be Indictment it enacted, that no indictment or information shall be not to abate by dilatory abated by reason of any dilatory plea of misnomer, or of plea of want of addition, or of wrong addition, of the party offer- misnomer, ing such plea, if the court shall be satisfied, by affidavit &c. or otherwise, of the truth of such plea ; but, in such case the court shall forthwith cause the indictment or information to be amended according to the truth, and shall call upon such party to plead thereunto, and shall proceed as if no such dilatory plea had been pleaded.
XX. And that the punishment of offenders may be less frequently intercepted in consequence of technical niceties, fects shall be it enacted, that no judgment upon any indictment or in- not vitiate formation for any felony or misdemeanor, whether after an indictverdict or outlawry, or by confession, default, or other- ment after wise, shall be stayed or reversed for want of the averment otherwise. of any matter unnecessary to be proved, nor for the omission of the words "as appears by the record," or of the words," with force and arms," or of the words," against
What shall not be sufficient to
the peace," nor for the insertion of the words, "against the form of the statute," instead of the words, against the form of the statutes" or vice versa, nor for that any person or persons mentioned in the indictment or information is or are designated by a name of office, or other descriptive appellation, instead of his, her, or their proper name or names, nor for omitting to state the time at which the offence was committed, in any case where time is not of the essence of the offence, nor for stating the time imperfectly, nor for stating the offence to have been committed on a day subsequent to the finding of the indictment or exhibiting the information, or on an impossible day, or on a day that never happened, nor for want of a proper or perfect venue, where the court shall appear by the indictment or information to have had jurisdiction over the offence.
XXI. And be it further enacted, that no judgment after verdict upon any indictment or information for any felony stay or re- or misdemeanor shall be stayed or reversed for want of a verse judg- similiter, nor by reason that the jury process has been awarded to a wrong officer upon an insufficient suggestion, nor for any misnomer or misdescription of the officer returning such process, or of any of the jurors, nor because any person has served upon the jury who has not been returned as a juror by the sheriff or other officer; and, that where the offence charged has been created by any statute, or subjected to a greater degree of punishment, or excluded from the benefit of clergy by any statute, the indictment or information shall, after verdict, be held sufficient to warrant the punishment prescribed by the statute, if it describe the offence in the words of the statute.
Note. It is said in a modern treatise, with reference to the words
felony begun in one county and completed in another," (see sec. 12) that "if the case of a murder, where the stroke is in one county and the death in another, is not included in those terms, there seems to be the same difficulty about the trial as there was at the common law" Car. Cr. L. 19. It seems difficult, however, to conceive how such a case as that suggested should not be included in those terms. It is true, that Hawkins (relying on 6 Hen. 7, 10, pl. 7) says that in this case the offence is not cognizable by a grand jury of either county, the offence not being complete; that is, not committed entirely in either: 2 Haw. P. C. 220. But here the word "completed"
evidently means consummated, and in the case of murder, death consummates the crime: 1 H. P. C. 426. As to venue and to the forms of indictments in general, see notes on the several titles, and see Archb. 2, et seq. For the mode of laying the property stolen, see tit." Larceny. For observations on the plea of misnomer, see ante, p. 248. It seems, that though the defects mentioned in section 20 cannot be taken advantage of either by motion in arrest of judgment or by writ of error, yet they may by demurrer: Car. Cr. L. 47. Upon an indictment under Lord Ellenborough's Act, it was objected in arrest of judgment, that it did not state in which hand the prisoner held the weapon; but Gaselee, J., overruled the objection, the fact
not being necessary to be proved, and therefore, since the 7 Geo. 4, c. 64, s. 20, not necessary to be laid in the indictment: R. v. Howes and others, Norfolk Lent Assizes, 1827. The following are general rules as to indictments on statutes: Where a statute prohibits any act to be done, and by a substantive clause gives recovery by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information, but mentions not indictment, the party may be indicted upon the prohibitory clause, and thereupon fined. But the fine ought not to exceed the penalty: 1 H. P. C. 171. Where a statute prohibits any act to be done which was before lawful, and appoints in the same clause a particular manner of proceeding against the offender, as by commitment, or action of debt, or information, without mentioning an indictment, no indictment can be maintained: R. v. Wright, 1 Burr. 543. Where a statute prohibits an act to be done which was before unlawful, and prescribes a particular remedy or method for the punishment, yet an indictment lies for it. As to the pleading of private statutes, see 1 Stark. Cr. P. C.
An indictment on a penal statute cannot be preferred at the sessions unless the statute gives justices of the peace a power to inquire of the offence: R. v. Buggs, 4 Mod.
The court may, in its discretion, quash any indictment, upon motion, for any such insufficiency, either in the caption or body of it, as will make any judgment whatever, given upon any part of it against the defendant, erroneous. And, generally, an indictment is insufficient whereever all the facts charged may be
true, and yet the party be innocent. But, though judges are bound to arrest judgment after verdict, if they see the charge to be insufficient, yet they are in no case bound to quash an indictment, but may oblige the defendant either to plead or to demur to it; and this they generally do where it is for a crime of an enormous or public nature, as perjury, forgery, sedition, nuisances to the highways, &c.; nor will the court quash an indictment removed by certiorari, if a recognizance for the trial of it has been forfeited: 2 Haw. P. C. 258; Com. Dig. Indictment; H. 3 Burr. 1698; Burr. 1127; Doug. 240; Sulk. 380, pl. 26. It appears, therefore, that the court will seldom quash an indictment on the motion of the defendant. And it seems to have been the uniform practice not to allow the defendant to make this motion after plea pleaded: Holt, 684; but see Comb. 21.
It appears, however, that the prosecutor may make this motion at any time before the trial has actually begun, 3 Burr. 1468; but a motion on behalf of a prosecutor, leave to quash his own indictment," is by no means a motion of course; more especially, after having put the defendant to expense, or having been guilty of delay: R. v. Webb, 3 Burr. 1469.
And after plea pleaded, the court will not quash an indictment on such a motion, before another good indictment be found, R. v. Wymer, 2 East, 226; and then only upon terms, 3 Barn. & Ald. 373. If judgment be given upon an erroneous indictment, it must stand until reversed by writ of error; and, therefore, after judgment, it is too late to move to quash the indictment: 14 Vin. Abr. 399.