Page images
PDF
EPUB

No person

himself or any person employed by him, shall, by any gift or reward, or by any promise, agreement, or security for any gift or reward, corrupt or procure, or offer to corrupt or procure, any person to give or forbear to give his vote in any such election, such person so offending in any of the cases aforesaid shall for every such offence forfeit the sum of fifty pounds of lawful money of Great Britain, to be recovered, with full costs of suit, by any one who shall sue for the same, by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information in any of his Majesty's courts of record at Westminster ; and any person offending in any of the cases aforesaid, being lawfully convicted thereof, shall for ever be disabled to vote in any election in such borough, or in any municipal or Parliamentary election whatever in any part of the united kingdom, and also shall for ever be disabled to hold, exercise, or enjoy any office or franchise to which he then shall or at any time afterwards may be entitled as a burgess of such borough,

as if such person was naturally dead.” Persons offend

By sec. 55, “ if any person offending in any of the cases aforesaid ing and disco. shall, within the space of twelve months next after such election as offending dis- aforesaid, discover any other person offending in any of the cases charged from aforesaid, so that such other person be thereon convicted, such perall penalties.

son so discovering, and not having been before that time convicted of any such offence, shall be indemnified and discbarged from all penalties and disabilities which he shall then have incurred by any such offence."

By sec. 56, “ no person shall be made liable to any incapacity, liable to incapacity, &c.,

disability, forfeiture, or penalty by this act imposed, in any of the

cases aforesaid, unless prosecution be commenced within two years cuted within

after such incapacity, disability, forfeiture, or penalty shall be intwo years.

curred, anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.” Construction of The 54th section contemplates three descriptions of offences; first,

that of procuring the party to give his vote for a particular candidate, that is, when he acts in pursuance of the corrupt agreement; secondly, that of corrupting the voter, where the bribe is offered and accepted, an actual agreement is made, and the party promises to act upon it; the third offence is a new one, not found in the old bribery act, where the whole that appears is the mere offer of a bribe, refused

on the other side, or not assented to at the time. (1) An employment

An employment is a reward within the meaning of this section. is a reward The offence of corrupting a voter is complete where the two parties have within sec. 54. agreed, the one to offer, the other to accept, a bribe as the condition of corrupting, and voting for a particular person, whether the person who has agreed to what an offer

vote, votes or not for such person, or whether he intended so to vote or to corrupt, a not. But where a bribe is offered, but not accepted, the offence is that

of offering to corrupt. A declaration in debt for the penalty of 501., under the 5 & 6 Wm. 4, c. 76, s. 54, alleged that the defendant did corrupt one J. W., who had a right to vote at an election of councillors for a borough, by corruptly promising to give the said J. W., if he should vote at the said election for certain candidates, employment in hauling stones at and for certain hire and reward to be paid for the same; and it was held upon demurrer that the declaration was sufficient. The question was, whether any difference was made between the asker and the offerer of a gift or reward, as to the nature

unless prose

the act.

voter,

(1) Per Parke, B., Harding v. Stokes, 2 M. & W. 233.

of the thing asked or offered. To ascertain what is the “ gift or reward” contemplated in the latter branch of the clause, the Court must look at the former part of the section, and there are found in conjunction the words “any money, gift, office, employment, or other reward whatsoever.” An employment, therefore, is there considered as a reward; and by the common sense of mankind it is so, where the party to whom it is offered wants employment. It falls, therefore, equally within the more general words of the latter part of the clause." But whether this employment was in the particular case given as a reward within the object of the act, was a question for the jury; if only the ordinary wages were given they might probably find that the employment was not given for a corrupt reward. (m) The demurrer having been withdrawn by leave of the Court, the defendant pleaded not guilty, and on the trial it appeared that J. W., having promised his vote in favour of certain candidates, the defendant told him that if he would vote for certain other candidates, he would give him employment in hauling stones at certain weekly wages; J. W. answered that it was a good offer, but that the difficulty was how he should get off his promise, that he would consider of it, and would see the defendant again the next Friday. No further communication, however, took place, and J. W. eventually voted for the candidates, to whom he had originally promised his vote. It was objected for the defendant that the evidence did not prove a corrupting of the voter, as charged in the declaration, but a mere offering to corrupt; and the plaintiff was nonsuited; but the Court, upon a rule to show cause why there should not be a new trial, held that if it were proved that there was an agreement to vote in pursuance of the offer, no matter whether the party intended to perform it or not, the offence of corrupting was complete. The evidence given in this case might be construed to prove that the offer was accepted; if the jury should be of that opinion the offence of corrupting was complete; but on the other hand they might well come to the conclusion that the voter had not made up his mind, but took time to consider further whether he would accept the offer; in that case the offence of corrupting was not complete, but it was a mere offer to corrupt within the third clause of the statute. (n)

The 5 & 6 Vict. c. 102, s. 20, reciting that “a practice has pre- 5 & 6 Vict. vailed in certain boroughs and places of making payments by or on C. 102, s. 20. behalf of candidates to the voters in such manner that doubts have Payment of been entertained whether such payments are to be deemed bribery,” declared declares and enacts, “that the payment or gift of any sum of money, bribery. or other valuable consideration whatsoever, to any voter before, during, or after any election, or to any person on his behalf, or to any person related to him by kindred or affinity, and which shall be so paid or given on account of such voter having voted, or having refrained from voting, or being about to vote, or refrain from voting, at the said election, whether the same shall have been paid or given under the name of head money, or any other name whatsoever, and whether such payment shall have been in compliance with any usage or practice or not, shall be deemed bribery."

(m) Harding v. Stokes, 1 M. & W. 354. S. C. T. & Gr. 599.

(11) Harding v. Stokes, 2 M. & W. 233. Sce Henslow v. Faucett, ante, p. 157.

5 & 6 Vict.

Sec. 22, reciting that the provisions of the 7 & 8 Wm. 3, c. 25, c. 102, s. 22.

“ have been found insufficient to prevent corrupt treating at For preventing elections, and it is expedient to extend such provisions,” enacts, treating.

" that every candidate or person elected to serve in Parliament for any county, riding, or division of a county, or for any city, borough, or district of boroughs, who shall, from and after the passing of this act, by himself, or by or with any person, or in any manner directly or indirectly, give or provide, or cause or knowingly allow to be given or provided, wholly or partly at his expense, or pay wholly or in part any expenses incurred for any meat, drink, entertainment, or provision to or for any person, at any time, either before, during, or after any such election, for the purpose of corruptly influencing such person, or any other person to give, or to refrain from giving, his vote in any such election, or for the purpose of corruptly rewarding such person, or any other person, for having given or refrained from giving his vote at any such election, shall be incapable of being elected or sitting in Parliament for that county, riding, or division of a county, or for that city, borough, or district of boroughs, during the Parliament for which such election shall be holden.”

The 4 & 5 Vict. c. 57, enacts, that “ whenever any charge of Evidence of

bribery shall be brought before any select committee of the House of bribery may

Commons appointed to try and determine the merits of any return be given with

or election of a member or members to serve in Parliament, the out frst prove committee shall receive evidence upon the whole matter whereon it ing

is alleged that bribery has been committed ; neither shall it be necessary to prove agency in the first instance, before giving evidence of those facts whereby the charge of bribery is to be sustained; and the committee, in their report to the House of Commons, shall separately and distinctly report upon the fact or facts of bribery, which shall have been proved before them, and also whether or not it shall have been proved that such bribery was committed with the knowledge and consent of any sitting member or candidate at the election."

4 & 5 Vict.

c. 57.

CHAPTER THE SEVENTEENTH.

OF NEGLECTING OR DELAYING TO DELIVER ELECTION WRITS.

directs the course in

The 53 Geo. 3, c. 89, was passed for the purpose of effecting the 53 Geo. 3, more expeditious and regular conveyance of writs for the election of c. 89, s. 1, members to serve in Parliament. It enacts, that the messenger, or pursuivant of the great seal, or his deputy, shall, after the receipt of which election such writs, forthwith carry such of them as shall be directed to the writs shall be sheriffs of London or Middlesex, to the respective officers of such the messenger sheriffs, and the other writs to the general post office in London, of the great and there deliver them to the postmaster general for the time being, seal, and. or to such other person as the postmaster shall depute to receive the through the same (which deputation the postmaster is thereby required to make), who, on receipt thereof, shall give an acknowledgment in writing, expressing therein the time of delivery, and shall keep a duplicate of such acknowledgment signed by the parties respectively to whom and by whom the same shall be so delivered; and that the postmaster or his deputy shall dispatch all such writs free of postage by the first post or mail, after the receipt thereof, under covers directed to the proper officers, to whom the said writs shall be respectively directed, accompanied with proper directions to the postmaster or deputy postmaster of the place, or nearest to the place where such officers shall hold their office, requiring such postmaster or deputy forthwith to carry such writs respectively to such office, and to deliver them there to the officers to whom they shall be respectively directed, or their deputies, who are required to give to such postmaster or deputy a memorandum in writing, acknowledging the receipt of every such writ, and setting forth the day and the hour the same was delivered by such postmaster or deputy, and which memorandum shall also be signed by such postmaster or deputy, who are required to transmit the same by the first or second post afterwards to the postmaster general or his deputy at the general post office in London, who are required to make an entry thereof in a proper book for that purpose, and to file the memorandum along with the duplicate of the said acknowledgment, signed by the messenger, to the intent that the same may be inspected or produced upon all proper occasions by any person interested in such elections. (a)

The statute, after directing that all persons to whom the writs for 53 Geo. 3, c. the election of members to parliament ought to be and are usually 89, s. 2 and 3. directed, shall, within a month, send to the postmaster general an whom such account of the places where they shall hold their offices, and so writs are from time to time, as often as such places shall be changed; and of usually dithe post town nearest to such offices; or in case any such office give an ac

[blocks in formation]

count of the

fiices.

S. 4 & 5.

enher fees abo

01. on a new

shall be in London, Westminster, or Southwark, or within five miles laces of their thereof, shall send such account to the messenger of the great seal; (6)

proceeds to enact, that after the death of the then messenger of the

great seal the allowances of mileage shall cease, except an allowance Vileage and

of two guineas on each writ for the election of a member on any ished, except vacancy, and of fifty pounds on the calling of a new parliament. (c) : wo guineas on And it further enacts, that whereas the messenger

of the

great seal - vacancy, and and his deputy have from time to time received certain other fees jarliament.

for the conveyance and upon the delivery of these writs, such fees shall cease from the passing of the act; and that neither the messenger nor his deputy, nor any other person, shall receive or take any fee, reward, or gratuity whatsoever, for the conveyance or de

livery of any such writ. (d) 53 Geo. 3, c. The sixth section enacts, “ that every person concerned in the $9, s. 6: Per- transmitting or delivery of any such writ as aforesaid who shall wilviolation of the fully neglect or delay to deliver or transmit any such writ, or accept aet guilty of a any fee, or do any other matter or thing in violation of this act, mis lemeanor. shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may upon any conviction

upon any indictment or information in his Majesty's Court of King's Bench be fined and imprisoned at the discretion of the Court for such misdemeanor."

Offences committed in Scotland may be punished by a fine or imprisonment, as the judge before whom the offender shall be tried and convicted may direct. (e)

(6) 53 Geo. 3, c. 89, ss. 2 and 3. (c) Id. s. 4.

(d) Id. s. 5. And the section further proceeds to give to the then messenger an

annual allowance for his life of 5201. in compensation for these fees.

(e) Id. s. 7.

« PreviousContinue »