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tions absent

for disobeying orders, and it was stated that those orders were made and communicated to him, but their continuance in force was not averred, such an averment was insisted upon as essential : but the Court said that the orders must be taken to continue in force until they were revoked ; and the objection was overruled. (9) Other charges in the same case against the defendant were for not acting upon particular events, within the settlement, as those events made it his duty to act: but it was not averred that he had notice of those events. The Court, however, held that an allegation of notice was not necessary; for as the events happened within a foreign settlement, whilst the defendant was one of the council in such settle

ment, he was bound to take notice of them. (r) Justices at

By the 33 Geo. 3, c. 55, two justices at a petty or special sessions petty sessions may fine con

of the peace, upon complaint on oath of any neglect of duty or disstables, &c., obedience of any warrant or order of any justice of the peace, by for neglect of any constable, overseer of the poor, or other peace or parish officer, duty.

such constable, overseer, or other officer, having been duly summoned, may impose, upon conviction, any reasonable fine or fines not exceeding the sum of forty shillings, as a punishment for such

neglect of duty or disobedience. Chief officers

The absence or misconduct of the chief officers of corporations at of corpora

the time of elections, whereby the completion of the election of other ing themselves chief officers may be prevented, is punishable by the provisions of from, or hin

11 Geo. 1, c. 4, s. 6, which enacts, “ that if any mayor, bailiff or dering the elections of

bailiffs, or other chief officer or officers of any city, borough, or town other officers, corporate, shall voluntarily absent himself or themselves from, or may be impri- knowingly and designedly prevent or hinder the election of any .

other mayor, bailiff, or other chief officer in the same city, borough, or town corporate, upon the day, or within the time appointed by charter or ancient usage for such election;" such offender being convicted shall, for every offence, be imprisoned for six months, and be for ever disabled from exercising any office belonging to the same city, borough, or corporation. This voluntary absence from the election of a chief officer must be such an absence whereby the mischief complained of in the preamble of the statute, namely, the preventing the completion of the election of a chief officer, may possibly be occasioned. It has been decided, therefore, that chief officer voluntarily absenting himself upon the charter day of election of his successor is not indictable, unless his presence as such chief officer be necessary by the constitution of the corporation to con

stitute a legal corporate assembly for such purpose. (s). Officers and

By the 3 & 4 Wm. 4, c. 94, s. 41, “ if any master in ordinary of cery liable to

the high court of Chancery, or any person holding any office, situapenalties for tion, or employment in any office of the said Court, or under any taking gratui- of the judges or officers thereof, shall, for anything done or pretended

to be done relating to his office, situation, or employment, or under colour of doing anything relating to his office, situation, or employment, wilfully take, demand, receive, or accept, or appoint, or allow any person whatsoever to take for him or on his account, or for or on account of any person by him named, or in trust for him, or for any other person by him named, any fee, gift, gratuity, or emolu

clerks in chan


(9) Rex v. Holland, 5 T. R. 60°
(v) Id. ibid.

(8) Rex v. Corry, 5 East, 372.

ment, or anything of value, other than what is allowed or directed to be taken by him as aforesaid, the person so offending, when duly convicted, shall forfeit and pay the sum of 5001., and shall be removed from any office, situation, or employment he may hold in the said Court, and shall be rendered, and is hereby rendered, incapable for ever thereafter of holding any office, situation, or employment in the said Court, or otherwise serving his Majesty, his heirs, or successors.”

By s. 42, “any such offender may be prosecuted either by infor- How offenders mation at the suit of his Majesty's attorney general, or by criminal may be proseinformation before his Majesty's Court of King's Bench, or by indict- cuted. ment."

Public officers may also be indicted for frauds committed in their Frauds by pubofficial capacities. Thus where two persons were indicted for en- lic officers. abling others to pass their accounts with the pay office in such a way as to enable them to defraud the government, though it was objected that it was only a private matter of account and not indictable, the Court held otherwise, as it related to the public revenue. (t) And if an overseer of the poor receive from the putative father of a bastard child born within the parish a sum of money as a composition with the parish for the maintenance of the child, he is liable to an indictment for fraudulently omitting to give credit for this sum in his accounts with the parish. (u) It was objected in this case, that the defendant was not bound to bring this sum to account, the contract being illegal ; (v) that the whole might have been recovered back, and that the defendant himself would have been personally answerable for it to the putative father; that the money, therefore, was not the money of the parish, and that the parish was neither defrauded nor damnified by its being omitted in the overseer's accounts. But Lord Ellenborough was of opinion, that though the defendant would have been liable to the putative father for su much of the money as was not expended upon the maintenance of the child and the lying-in of the mother, yet having taken the money as overseer for the benefit of the parish, he was bound to bring it to account, and that he was guilty of an indictable offence by attempting to put it into his own pocket.

By the 56 Geo. 3, c. 63, which was passed to regulate the general By officers, penitentiary for convicts at Millbank, provision is made for the &c., of the gepunishment of the governor and the other officers and servants of tiary at Millthat establishment, in case of any fraudulent or improper charges in bank. their accounts. The twelfth section enacts, (after stating the mode of examination to be adopted,) that in case there shall appear in any such accounts any false entry knowingly or wilfully made, or any fraudulent omission, or any other fraud whatsoever, or any collusion between the officers and servants, or between the officers and servants and any other persons in any matter relative thereto, the committee may dismiss such officers or servants, and, if they see fit, cause indictments to be preferred against the officers, servants, or other persons so offending at the next quarter or other general session of the peace for the county wherein the penitentiary, is situated, or for any adjoining county; and in case the persons indicted are found guilty, they are to be punished by fine and impri

(t) Rex r. Bembridge and another, cited (v) See Townson v. Wilson, 1 Campb. 6 East, 136.

(-) Rexo Martin, 2 Campb. 268.


sonment, or either of them, at the discretion of the Court. The 59 Geo. 3, c. 136, which was passed for the better regulation of this penitentiary, contains further provisions for the punishment of officers and servants guilty of misconduct.

It may be observed, that where a duty is thrown on a body consisting of several persons, each is individually liable for a breach of duty, as well for acts of commission as for omission ; and where a public officer is charged with a breach of duty, which duty arises from certain acts within the limits of his office, it is not necessary to state that he had notice of those acts, for he is presumed from his

situation to know them. (W) Extortion by

Extortion in a large sense signifies any oppression under colour public officers. of right: but in a more strict sense signifies the unlawful taking by

any officer, by colour of his office, of any money or thing of value
that is not due to him, or more than is due, or before it is due. (x)
By the statute of Westm. 1, (3 Edw. 1,) c. 26, which is only in
affirmance of the common law, it is declared and enacted to be ex-
tortion for any sheriff or other minister of the King, whose office
any way concerns the administration or execution of justice, or the
common good of the subject, to take any reward whatsoever, except
what he received from the King. This statute extends to escheators,
coroners, bailiffs, gaolers, and other inferior officers of the King,
whose offices were instituted before the making of the act. (y)
Justices of the peace, whose office was instituted after the act, are
bound by their oath of office to take nothing for their office of jus-
tice of the peace to be done, but of the King, and fees accustomed,
and costs limited by statute. And generally no public officer
take any other fees or rewards for doing anything relating to his
office than some statute in force gives him, or such as have been
anciently and accustomably taken; and if he do otherwise, he is
guilty of extortion. (z) And it should be observed, that all pre-
scriptions which have been contrary to the statute and to the com-
mon law, in affirmance of which it was made, have been always
holden to be void; as where the clerk of the market claimed certain
fees as due time out of mind for the examination of weights and

measures : this was adjudged to be void. (a) The stated fees But the stated and known fees allowed by the courts of justice to of courts of jus- their respective officers, for their labour and trouble, are not retice may be

strained by the common law, or by the statute of Westm. 1, c. 26, and therefore such fees may be legally demanded and insisted upon without any danger of extortion. (). And it seems that an officer who takes a reward, which is voluntarily given to him, and which has been usual in certain cases, for the more diligent or expeditious performance of his duty, cannot be said to be guilty of extortion; for without such a premium it would be impossible in many cases to have the laws executed with vigour and success. (c) But it has been always holden, that a promise to pay an officer money for the

may doing of a thing which the law will not suffer him to take anything for, is merely void, however freely and voluntarily it may appear to have been made. (d)

insisted upon.

(w) Rex v. Holland, 5 T. R. 607.

(t) 4 Blac. Com. 141. 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 68, s. 1.

(y) Inst. 209. Burn's Just. tit. Extortion.

(2) Dalt. c. 41. Burn's Just. tit. Extortion

(a) 1 Hawk. P. C, c. 68, s. 2. Bac. Abr. tit. Extortion.

(6) 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 68, s. 3. 2 Inst. 210. Co. Lit. 368. Bac. Abr, tit. Eatortion.

(c) Bac. Abr. tit. Extortion. 2 Inst. 210. 3 Inst. 149. Co. Lit. 368.

It has been held to be extortion to oblige the executor of a will Cases of exto prove it in the bishop's court, and to take fees thereon, when the tortion. defendants knew that it had been proved before in the prerogative court. (e) And it is extortion in a churchwarden to obtain a silver cup or other valuable thing, by colour of his office. () And a coroner is guilty of this offence, who refuses to take the view of a dead body until his fees are paid. (g) So if an under-sheriff obtain his fees by refusing to execute process till they are paid, (h) or take a bond for his fee before execution is sued out, (i) it will be extortion. And it will be the same offence in a sheriff's officer to bargain for money to be paid him by A. to accept A. and B. as bail for C., whom he has arrested; (j) or to arrest a man in order to obtain a release from him; (k) and also in a gaoler to obtain money from his prisoner by colour of his office. (1) In the case of a miller, where the custom has ascertained the toll, if the miller takes more than the custom warrants, it is extortion: (m) and the same if a ferryman take more than is due by custom for the use of his ferry. (n) And it was held that if the farmer of a market erects so many stalls, as not to leave sufficient room for the market people to stand and sell their wares, so that for want of room they are forced to hire the stalls of the farmer, the taking money for the use of the stalls in such a case is extortion. (6) Where a collector of post-horse duty demanded a sum of money of a person, charging him with having let out post-horses without paying the duty, and threatened him with an exchequer process, and he thereon gave him a promissory note for five pounds, which was afterwards paid and the proceeds handed over to the farmer of the post-horse duties, it was held to be extortion. (p)

The question of exemption from toll cannot be tried on an indictment against a turnpike-keeper for extortion in taking the toll ; the general right to demand toll not having been denied, nor the ground of exemption notified, at the time when the toll was taken. (9) The 33 Geo. 3, c. 52, s. 62, enacts, that the demanding or receiv- 33 Geo. 3, c.

52, East ing any sum of money, or other valuable thing, as a gift or present,

Indies. or under colour thereof, whether it be for the use of the party receiving the same, or for or pretended to be for the use of the East India Company, or of any other person whatsoever, by any British subject holding or exercising any office or employment under his Majesty, or the company in the East Indies, shall be deemed to be extortion and a misdemeanor at law, and punished as such. The (d) Bac. Abr. tit. Ertortion.

due until execution. (e) Rex v. Loggen and another, 1 Str. (j) Stotesbury v. Smith, 2 Burr. 924. 73.

(k) Williams v. Lyons, 8 Mod. 189. Roy o. Eyres, 1 Sid. 307.

(1) Rex v. Broughton, Trem. P. C. (9) 3 Inst. 149.

(h) Hestcott's case, 1 Salk. 330. The (m) Rex v. Burdett, 1 Lord Raym. Court said that the plaintiff might bring an action against him for not doing his (n) Rex. v. Roberts, 4 Mod. 101. duty, or might pay him his fees, and then (0) Rex v. Burdett, 1 Lord Raym. indict him for extortion.

149. (i) Empson v. Bathurst, Hutt. 52, (p) Rex v. Higgins. 4 C. & P. 247, wbere it is said that an obligation made Vanghan, B. by extortion is against common law, for it is () Rex. v. Hamlyn, 4 Campb. 379. as robbery; and that the sheriff's fee is not

111. Stark. 588.


Two persons

offender is also to forfeit to the King the present so received, or its full value; but the Court may order such present to be restored to the party who gave it, or may order it, or any part of it, or of any fine which they shall set upon the offender, to be paid to the prosecutor or informer.

Two persons may be indicted jointly for extortion where no fee may be indicted jointly

was due; and there are no accessories in this offence. Upon an for extortion, indictment against the chancellor and the registrar of a bishop, it and there are was objected that the offices of the defendants were distinct, that no accesories

what might be extortion in one might not be so in the other, and in extortion.

that therefore the indictment ought not to be joint. But by Parker, C. J., this would be an exception if they were indicted for taking more than they ought; but it is only against them for contriving to get money where none is due : and this is an entire charge. For there are no accessories in extortion: but he that is assisting is as guilty as the extortioner, as he that is party to a riot is answerable for the act of others. (v) And an indictment against three averring that they, colore officiorum suorum, took so much, is good, for they might take so much in gross, and afterwards divide it amongst them,

of which the party grieved could have no notice. (s) Trial.

It is said, that an indictment for extortion may be laid in any county by the 31 Eliz. c. 5, s. 4; ($s) but this position has been questioned. (1) It may be tried and determined by justices of the

peace at their sessions by virtue of the term “ extortions in their Not material to commission. (u) The indictment must state a sum which the deprove the ex.

fendant received: but it is not material to prove the exact sum as act sum laid.

laid in the indictment; so that if a man be indicted for taking extorsively twenty shillings, and there be proof but of one shilling, it will be sufficient. (v) An indictment for extortion, where nothing was due, ought to state that nothing was due; (w) and if it be for taking more than was due, it ought to show how much was due. () And the extorsive agreement is not the offence, but the taking; for a pardon after the agreement, and before the taking, does not par

don the extortion. (y) Punishment. The offence of extortion is punishable at common law by fine

and imprisonment; and also by a removal from the office in the execution of which it was committed ; (2) and there is a further additional punishment by the statute of West

. 1, c. 26, by which it is enacted “ that no sheriff nor other King's officer shall take any reward to do his office, but shall be paid of that which they take of the King; and that he who so doth shall yield twice as much, and shall be punished at the King's pleasure.” (a) And an action lies to recover this double value. (6)

(1) Rex v. Loggen and another. 1 (v) Rex v. Burdett, 1 Lord Raym. Str. 76 Qu. Whether this was not an 149; and see Rex o. Gillham, 6 T. R. indictment for a conspiracy to defraud, and not for extortion. But as to the rule that (w) Lake's Case, 3 Leon 268. Com. scveral persons may be jointly indicted for Dig. tit. Extortion. extortion, see Rex. v. Atkinson and another, Lord Raym. 1248. Salk. 382. (y) By Holt, C. J. in Rex v. Burdett,

(8) Lake's Case, 3 Leon. 268. Com. 1 Lord Raym. 149. Dig. tit. Extortion.

(z) 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 68, s 5. Bac, (88) 1 Hawk. P. C., c. 68, s. 6, note A br. tit. Extortion. (3); Burn's Just. tit. Extortion, Stark. (a) By the king's pleasure” is meant Crim. Plead. 585, note (k).

by the king's justices before whom the cause (1) 2 Hawk. P. C. c. 26, s. 50, 2 Chit. depends, and at their discretion, 2 Inst. Crim. Law, 294, in the note.

(u) Rex v. Loggen and another, 1 (6) Com. Dig. 323, tit. Extortion (C). Stra. 73.


(z) Ibid.


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