페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

REG.

in which the wife took part, may be evidence against the MALORY. prisoner.). No doubt, but here the statement had been written

by the wife, and does not appear to have been read by the 1884.

prisoner. Receiving

No counsel appeared for the prosecution. stolen goods

Lord COLERIDGE, C.J.-If the case had been one in which the Evidence of wife had made a statement to the police in the absence of the guilty knowledge.

prisoner, even although he had referred them to her, I should have desired very considerable time to reflect before I should have allowed such evidence to be given. But that is not this case; and it is not necessary in this case to determine whether that would have been good evidence or not, and whether, if a prisoner refers a witness to anyone, that makes everything the other says evidence against him. That is not the case. And it appears to me that in this case the conviction ought to be upheld upon the ground that the prisoner, being asked as to certain matters, said, “I have not the means of answering, but my wife has, and she shall make out a list which will be an answer to the question;" and next day a policeman went to the house, and the wife handed the list over to him in the presence of the husband as the statement of the husband. The husband was present, and he allowed the paper to be handed to the police as containing the information he had been asked for. The question is, whether it was receivable as evidence against him quantum valeat; and it appears to me that it was so, as a statement authorised by the prisoner to be made, and handed over, in his presence, to the police. According to the rules of evidence the statement was receivable in evidence against the prisoner, and therefore I am of opinion that the conviction ought to be upheld.

GROVE, J.-I am of the same opinion. The prisoner being asked as to the things he had bought, said his wife should make out a list, and next day she in his presence handed to the police a list as that which he had directed her to furnish. She said, in his presence and hearing, “This is the list," and he did not say he had seen it, or desire to look at it; he had already said that she should make out a list, and he allowed the list produced to be treated and taken as the list he had directed to be made out. I think that would be evidence either in a civil or criminal case, and I never heard that there was any difference in the rules of evidence as to the admissibility of evidence, though there may be a difference in their application; and it may be that a piece of evidence admissible in either class of cases may not be sufficient in a criminal case, that is, without further evidence. But the evidence is not the less admissible, and here I think the list produced and handed over in the prisoner's presence as that which he had directed to be made out was evidence, and evidence on which the jury were entitled to convict. FIELD, STEPHEN, and SMITH, JJ., concurred.

Conviction affirmed.

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION.

Saturday, Feb, 23, 1884.

(Before Cave and SMITH, JJ.)

POINTON AND ANOTHER v. HILL. (a)

Vagrancy Act (5 Geo. 4, c. 83)-Idle and disorderly persons

Men on strike collecting alms for their fellow-workmen-Begging

in the streets.

The appellants were colliers, who lived at Silverdale, near Burslem,

in Staffordshire, and were, at the time in question, on strike. They had homes and families in Silverdale, and were, at the time referred to, in a street at Burslem, some of them drawing a waggon, on which was inscribed The children's bread waggon.One of them went into a shop and asked the shopkeeper for assistance for the miners, and then went into a private house and asked for bread for the children, and got a cabbage. The men were not disorderly, and their demeanour was not improper, but it was stated that this mode of going about was of constant occurrence, and caused annoyance to householders. Úpon these facts the appellants were summoned before the stipendiary magistrate at Burslem, and charged under the 5 Geo. 4, c. 83 (an Act for the punishment of idle and disorderly persons, rogues, and vagabonds). The 3rd section of the Act provides, amongst other things, thatevery person wandering abroad or placing himself or herself in any public place, street, highway, court, or passage, to beg or gather alms, or, 8c., shall be deemed an idle and disorderly person within the true intent and meaning of this Act ; and it shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to commit such offender (on conviction of any such offence) to the House of Correction to be kept to hard labour for any term not exceeding one calendar month." The learned magistrate held that the appellants had committed an

offence under the above statute, and convicted them, fining them

58. each. The appellants now appealed, and upon a case stated for the

opinion of the court, the court held that the conviction vught to be quashed, as the statute only applied to those who made it a regular habit and mode of life to wander about and put themselves in the public streets for the purpose of asking alms, and not to those who (as in this case) asked for alms, not as a habit

(a) Reported by HENRY LEIGH, Esq., Barrister-at-Law.

POINTON AND
ANOTHER.

V.
HILL

1884.

[ocr errors]

and mode of life, nor as seeking any advantage for themselves,

but for the specific purpose of assisting their fellow-workmen. CAS ASE stated under 20 & 21 Vict. c. 43, by the stipendiary

magistrate of Stoke-on-Trent as follows :Vagrancy

1. By 5 Geo. 4, c. 83, intituled “ An Act for the punishment Men on strike of idle and disorderly persons, and rogues and vagabonds, in collecting, alms that part of Great Britain called England,” sect. 3, it is enacted for fellowworkmen,

that "every person wandering abroad, or placing himself or herself in any public place, street, highway, court, or passage, to beg or gather alms, or causing, or procuring, or encouraging any child or children so to do, shall be deemed an idle and disorderly person within the true intent and meaning of this Act, and it shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to commit such offender (being thereof convicted before him by his own view, or by the confession of such offender, or by the evidence on oath of one or more credible witness or witnesses) to the House of Correction, there to be kept to hard labour for any time not exceeding one calendar month."

2. On the 6th day of October, 1883, informations were laid and complaints made by the respondent, who is the chief superintendent of police stationed at Burslem, against the appellants, for that the appellants did, on the 5th day of October, 1883, at the parish of Burslem, in the said county, unlawfully wander abroad in a public thoroughfare at Burslem, begging and gathering alms contrary to the provisions of the statute in that case made and provided, whereupon a summons was issued commanding the appellants to be and appear on the 9th day of October, 1883, before the court of summary jurisdiction sitting at the police court, Burslem, in the said county, to answer the said information and complaint, and to be further dealt with according to law.

3. The appellants in obedience thereto appeared before the stipendiary magistrate aforesaid, and complaints were heard, and the following facts were proved on oath or admitted :

4. On the 5th day of October, 1883, a number of men, who reside at Silverdale, a colliery district in the parish of Wolstanton, and distant four miles from the town of Burslem, which is a district parish, were at Burslem, in a public street called Newcastle-street. The appellants were two men of the number. The men were colliers on strike, and had wives and mothers and families, and fixed places of abode at Silverdale, and were householders. Some of the men were drawing a waggon, on which was inscribed “Children's Bread Waggon," whilst others called from house to house with the collecting-books, and begged for assistance in money or kind.

5. The appellant Boot went into a shop and asked the shopkeeper therein to assist the miners. He had a collecting-book with him.

6. The appellant Pointon went into a private house and asked

ANOTHER.

HILL

the woman there for bread for the children. She gave him a POINTON AND cabbage, which he took from her and put into the waggon. He had a similar book with him.

7. It was admitted that the appellants were not disorderly, and that their demeanour was not improper.

1884. 8. It was stated by the respondent that the going about the Vagrancy streets by men in the manner described was of constant occur. Men on strike rence, and complaints had frequently been made to the police of collecting alme

for fellowthe annoyance caused to householders by their actions.

workmen. 9. The solicitor who appeared for the appellants contended that they had not been guilty of the offences charged, inasmuch as (1) the request for contributions was not made by the appellants in any public place, street, highway, court, or passage, but on private premises, namely, a shop and a private house ; (2) the object of the request was lawful, and truly stated by the appellants, and that persons collecting or gathering alms in the manner aforesaid were not liable to be convicted under sect. 3; (3) the statute 5 Geo. 4, c. 83, was not meant to apply, and did not apply to this case, which he contended was analogous to the case of a hospital, orphanage, and other charitable institutions for which contributions of money, clothing, food, books, &c., are asked of the public, but that the Act was designed for the discouragement of a class of people who wandered about the country with no fixed place of abode, no desire to enter upon honest labour, and no legitimate means of protracting their idle and apparently useless existence.

10. I was of opinion that the appellants by their actions were to be deemed porsons wandering about to beg or gather alms, within the meaning of the statute 5 Geo. 4, c. 83, s. 3. That the contention of the solicitor for the appellants that their status, and whether or not they had a fixed place of abode, was the true criterion by which to judge whether they had committed an act of vagrancy or not, was erroneous, because, as it seemed to me, the offence may be committed by any person, irrespective of his status, and whether or not he had a fixed place of abode, the act committed bringing him within the purview of the statute. The words used in the section being "every person, who," &c.

I therefore convicted the appellants of the offences charged against them and imposed a fine of 58. each and costs upon them.

The question for the consideration of the court is, whether my decision is or not correct in point of law. If it be correct, then the conviction is to stand ; and if not, then the conviction is to be quashed.

Jelf, Q.C. (with him John Rose) for the appellants.—There has been a long series of decisions leading up to the statute 5 Geo. 4, c. 83, under which the appellants have been convicted; but, as the respondent is not now represented, I do not think it necessary to refer to them. This Act is clearly aimed against disorderly persons, and persons who gain their living by begging or asking

POISTOS AND alms in the streets, but persons who have acted as the appellants AKOTHEE have done here are wholly outside the purview of the Act. The HILL.

words of the Act are “every person wandering abroad or placing

himself or herself in any public place, street, highway, court, or 1884.

passage, to beg or gather alms, &c., shall be deemed an idle and Vagrancy – disorderly person within the meaning of the Act.These words Men on strike are much more applicable to ladies who stand at the corners of collecting alms streets on Hospital Saturday, collecting subscriptions for hospitals, workomen. than to the present appellants. If a master can go round in his

brougham to his fellow-masters for subscriptions for masters" associations, it would be very hard that these men, where they do the same thing in a cart, should be placed in the same category as prostitutes. Here the mere bare fact of the appellants having acted as they have done is against them, but there is nothing otherwise objectionable in their conduct.

No one appeared for the respondent.

CAVE, J.--I have come to the conclusion that this conviction ought to be quashed. When we come to look at the statute itself, we find it headed, “ An Act for the punishment of idle and disorderly persons, and rogues and vagabonds." The 3rd section, the others being merely repealing sections, deals with classes who are variously described, and then we come to the clause in question, providing that “every person wandering abroad, or placing himself or herself in a public place, street, highway, court, or passage, to beg or gather alms, &c., shall be deemed an idle and disorderly person within the meaning of this Act,” &c. This means persons of a certain character and course of life, and it seems to me that the proper conclusion to be drawn from these words is, that the Act was directed against a certain class of persons of a peculiar habit and mode of life, namely, those persons who make it their habit and mode of life to wander about and put themselves in streets and highways, there to beg and gather alms, and such persons come within the statute. But if any particular person, for any specific purpose, and not as a regular mode of gaining a living, or for the general object of maintaining himself, but for some particular object, not in itself unlawful, went from house to house to solicit subscriptions, that would not be within the meaning of the statute. Persons, on what is called Hospital Saturday, placed themselves at the corners of public streets, to solicit subscriptions for hospitals, and it had never occurred to anyone that the persons who did so, not seeking anything for their own advantage, and not doing so as a regular habit and mode of life, but for a specific and charitable object, were within the purview of the Act. In the case before us the case finds that the appellants were working men, having their homes and families, but who, in consequence of some disagreements with their masters, were, as it is said, out on strike. There was nothing unlawful in that, and we know that, unfortunately, there are many such disputes between employers

« 이전계속 »