Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

How treating proved.

General bribery.

Bribery by agents.

At Common

Law by 17 & 18 Vict. c.

102, s. 36, and

by Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, s. 43.

done if their palates had not been tickled by eating and drinking supplied by the candidates; and it is certain that by the 36th section of that Act, any candidate who by himself or his agents resorted to treating as a means of being elected, not only spends his money at the time, but does so with a certainty that if he be detected, or if any of his agents even without his knowledge or authority should have treated electors, the seat gained under such circumstances is forfeited, even although the majority might not be composed of persons so treated."

As to the proof of treating, he said:" In order to prove treating it must be shown, not merely that eating and drinking went on during the election, and went on under the eyes of the candidate (eating and drinking must always go on), but it must be shown that the eating and drinking was supplied at the expense or upon the credit of the candidate, either by his authority or by the authority of one or more of his agents in order to influence voters."

As to bribery, he said:-"With respect to bribery, the law is perfectly clear. Bribery at common law, equally as by Act of Parliament, avoided any election at which it occurred. If there were general bribery, no matter from what fund or by what person, and although the sitting member and his agents had nothing to do with it, it would defeat an election, on the ground that it was not a proceeding pure and free, as an election ought to be, but that it was corrupted and vitiated by an influence which, coming from no matter what quarter, had defeated it and shown it to be abortive."

As to bribery by agents, he said:"If it were shown that the agent of the member bribed even without the authority, and contrary to the express orders, of the member, his seat was forfeited not by way of punishment to the member, but in order to avoid the danger that would exist if persons subordinate to the candidate during an election were led away, by their desire to benefit their superior, into illegal acts, the precise extent of which it was difficult to prove, but a single one of which, if proved, it was the policy of the law to hold, would have the effect of avoiding the proceeding. That a Member was thus answerable for his agent at common law-his agent in the sense of conducting the election,

not merely in the sense of being authorised to bribe--is perfectly clear. It was so laid down as clear by Lord Tenterden, before the Act of the 17th & 18th Vict. c. 102, s. 36. That section where it speaks of agents must be construed by the light of the common law, and must be read as including agents authorised in the conduct of the election or to canvass, and not merely agents authorised to bribe. If there could be any doubt that such was the law, that doubt is set at rest by the 43rd and following sections of the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, by the former of which, the 43rd, bribery committed with the knowledge and consent of a Member subjected him for seven years to the disability of being returned to Parliament, of voting at an election, or of holding any judicial office. That 43rd section leaves the case of bribery by agents to be dealt with by those which follow, and the result is clear. I have been thus elaborate in stating the result of the law on the subject, in consequence of doubts which have been thrown out of late as to whether a single act of bribery proved either against a Member or against his agent engaged in the conduct of an election will have the effect of defeating the election."

Measure of

All influence

corrupt.

Passing on to specific instances of alleged bribery, he said, as to Corrupt the case of one Barlow, whom the Petitioners alleged to have been promise. bribed by a promise of a place in a hospital,-"Barlow was an evidence old man in years and failing, and was very desirous of getting necessary. into St. John's hospital. Barlow knew that the Respondent's not necessarily agent, Greene, had some interest at the hospital. In the conversation in which Barlow was canvassed by Greene, he expressed a desire to be taken into the hospital; Greene gave him an answer which rather put him off than promised him. Barlow knew well beforehand that Greene had an interest at the hospital, and Greene knew well beforehand that Barlow would like to be taken into the hospital. That being so, the conversation amounted to nothing more than putting into words what each knew before, and did not amount to a promise that he should be taken into the hospital if he voted, as he afterwards did, for the Respondent. To prove a corrupt promise, as good evidence is required of that promise illegally made, as would be required if the promise were a legal one, to sustain an action by Barlow against the Respondent

[blocks in formation]

upon Barlow voting for him, for not procuring or trying to procure him a place in the hospital.

"The law cannot strike at the existence of influence. The law
can no more take away from a man who has property or who can
give employment the insensible but powerful influence he has
over those whom, if he has a heart, he can benefit by the proper
use of his wealth, than the law could take away his honesty, his
good feeling, his courage, his good looks, or any other qualities
which give a man influence over his fellows.
influence with which alone the law can deal.
said to be abused because it exists and operates. It is only
abused in cases of this kind where an inducement is held out by a
promise in the terms of 17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, s. 2, a promise to
induce voters to vote or not to vote at an election."

As to the case of Baxter he said:-
:-

It is the abuse of Influence cannot be

"Baxter had been in the employment of Symonds an agent of the Respondent; he left the employment in 1867, in consequence of some dispute which had arisen between the master and the man; but Baxter was anxious to get back into Symonds' employment, and an insensible influence existed in consequence of this upon the mind of Baxter at the time when Baxter voted for the Respondent. Baxter was taken back into Symonds' employment very soon after the election, and it was proved that Symonds would not or probably might not have taken Baxter back unless he had so voted. That does not prejudice the decision of the question. But it was not proved that Symonds made any express promise to Baxter to do so; it was left to inference amounting to suspicion only, and upon such inference and suspicion I must decline to act for the purpose of defeating the election."

As to the case of one White, a case in which it was alleged that bribery had been committed on behalf of the Respondent by a gift of travelling expenses, he said :-It was proved that one White, a voter who had ceased to reside in the borough, received 98. 6d. in postage stamps for travelling expenses in a letter anonymous, but containing the slip "Vote for Dyott." White eventually did not vote for the Respondent but for the other candidate. In deciding whether the money was sent with the intention of influencing the mind of the voter, it was impossible to exclude

the fact that White did not vote for the Respondent but for the other candidate, for as a matter of result if the case was to be judged of by the result, White was not influenced. That, however, he said, would not prevent a bribe from being a bribe, since a man who votes for one candidate after having received money for promising to vote for the other is guilty of bribery equally as if he voted according to his promise, even if at the time he promised he had no intention of fulfilling it. Neither is the bribe the less complete because the voter was one who never ought to have voted, because he had ceased to be resident, and had by the 6 Vict. c. 18, s. 79, ceased to have a right to vote at the election. The law upon the subject of payment of expenses to electors is to be found in the case of Cooper v. Slade, 6 House of Lords Cases, 746, and in the 21 & 22 Vict. c. 87, s. 1, an Act which was passed soon after the decision in that case which says, "It shall not be lawful to pay any money or give any valuable consideration to a voter for or in respect of his travelling expenses." The remaining enactment on the subject is the Representation of the People Act, 1867, s. 36, by which leaving the question of giving a lift to the poll to a person in the borough untouched, it is made unlawful to pay either to the voter or to any person for whom conveyances are hired any money on account of conveyances to the poll.

At the conclusion of the case, and before judgment was given, Mr. Justice WILLES asked whether either side proposed to apply for costs in the event of a decision in his favour.

Mr. Powell, for the Petitioner, said:-I will make a fair arrangement with my learned friend if he likes. If he will not, I will

not.

Mr. Dowdeswell, for the Respondent, said :-I leave it entirely in your Lordship's hands.

Mr. Justice WILLES:-I understand that neither party intends to apply for costs in any event.

Eventually each party paid their own costs.

Costs.

CASE VI.

BOROUGH OF BRADFORD.

BEFORE MR. BARON MARTIN, JANUARY 26, 1869.

Petitioners: John Haley, Charles Hastings, Angus Holden, Titus Salt, jun.
Respondent: Henry William Ripley.

Counsel for Petitioners: Mr. Giffard, Q.C., Mr. Metcalfe, Mr. Mellor.
Agents: Mr. Charles Mills, Mr. James Hargreaves.

Counsel for Respondents: Mr. Overend, Q.C., Mr. Price, Q.C., Mr. Littler.
Agent: Mr. David Little.

THE petition contained the usual allegations of bribery, &c., but did not pray the seat.

The following special report was made as to the facts in this case. "It was proved that the said Henry William Ripley had opened an unlimited credit at his bankers in favour of his agent, who availed himself of it to the extent of upwards of 7,200l., and who sent to the returning officer a mere abstract of totals of outlay unaccompanied by vouchers; and that this was knowingly done, contrary to the statute 26 & 27 Vict. c. 29, s. 4. That in one ward of the said borough, inhabited principally by Irishmen of the working class, large numbers were influenced by corrupt practices, committed by the agents of the said Henry William Ripley, and that upwards of one hundred public-houses and beer-houses were opened as committee-rooms or pretended committee-rooms, in the interest of the said Henry William Ripley, where drink without payment was supplied to voters, which was afterwards paid for by the agents of the said Henry William Ripley."

« AnteriorContinuar »