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In the following pages, I have attempted to supply a want long felt by the Members of the Profession in Canada.
Since the establishment of Courts in the country, the common law of England having been adopted, the decisions of the several Courts are very much in harmony in each of the Provinces which now form the Dominion. In addition to this, the Acts passed since the Confederation of the Provinces have, in a great measure, assimilated the Statute Laws, so that there is now one uniform Code of Criminal Jurisprudence prevailing from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
It is obvious that, under these circumstances, the decisions of each Province are of essential importance in expounding the law now prevailing in all; and the contemplated establishment of a Supreme Court for the Dominion renders it very desirable that the administration and interpretation of the laws should not vary in the different Provinces.
I have, therefore, collected all the cases on Criminal Law which have been decided in the several Provinces, thereby making the Work essentially Canadian in its character. All the cases in “The Law Reports” have also been given. From these limited materials, I need
I do not pretend to call my work a complete Treatise. If it is complete in being an accurate
Digest of all Canadian cases, my aim and ambition will be satisfied. The Chapter on Extradition is altogether confined to Canadian cases; and a very considerable portion of the Work will be found to be made up of original materials, hitherto unappropriated.
In the preparation of the Work, I have searched and examined the following Reports-namely, (Nova Scotia), James, Thomson, Cochran, and Oldright; (New Brunswick), Kerr, Allen, and Hannay; (Quebec), Lower Canada Reports, Vols. One to Seventeen, inclusive, Lower Canada Jurist, Vols. One to Fifteen, inclusive, Stuart's Appeal cases and Vice-Admiralty cases, with the Digests of Robertson and Ramsay; (Ontario), Queen's Bench Reports, O.S., Six Vols., N. S., Vols. One to Thirtyone, inclusive, Common Pleas, Vols. One to Twenty-one, inclusive, Upper Canada Law Journal, O. S., Ten Vols., N. S., Eight Vols., Practice Reports, Five Vols., Chamber Reports, Two Vols., Error and Appeal Reports, Three Vols., and the Reports of Draper and Taylor.
I beg to express my thanks to the many kind friends who have encouraged and assisted me in the Work. To the Hon. J. H. GRAY, D.C.L., M.P., I am particularly indebted. Several manuscript cases, inserted in the Work, have been forwarded by the Hon. J. C. ALLEN, of Frederickton, N. B. Thanks are also due to GEO. A. BOOMER, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, and Mr. W. M. HALL, Student-at-Law, for the care and labour bestowed on the Index and Table of cases.
Considering the great importance of every branch of the law relating to criminal jurisprudence, it is a maiter of surprise that no Treatise on the subjects discussed in the following sheets has been written by any member of the profession of the law during our existence as a Colony.
During a long period the criminal laws of our country have grown up, as it were, with the necessities of our advancement and progress. Many interesting points have been argued by eloquent and able advocates, and decided by learned and enlightened judges; and the recent legislative effort to assimilate the criminal laws of the Confederated Provinces, has made them such as to induce an expression of my earnest hope that the excellent Code of laws which has been extricated from the discursive mass by which they were encumbered, digested by experience, and methodized by reason, forming a lucid and harmonious whole, may long remain as a monument to our Confederated Provinces, paying a homage to reason and to right; and that our Sister Provinces may profit by the example of our own, for whom the codifiers of our Criminal Law may be truly said not to have laboured in vain.
Criminal Jurisprudence has not hitherto fallen within the scope of Canadian legal authors; and, although the practising lawyer may, perhaps, be more disposed to refer to my work than to peruse it, I trust that, at least, his frequent references to it, guided as he is by a copious Index readily to what he may require, will induce a favourable reception of my undertaking, which has been to furnish the Profession with a volume on Criminal Law and Practice, at once compendious and useful.
Relying on the kindness of those who may peruse this book with a friendly disposition to its author, and the candour of those who may refer to it for the sake of information alone, I now offer it to the Public, and to the Profession, of which I am a member, with a sincere desire that it may be useful to both.
S. R. C. OSGOODE HALL, TORONTO,
13th May, 1872.