Imágenes de páginas

17 & 18 Vict.
c. 102, s. 4.

refreshments were provided by the Respondent at a number of public-houses for committee-men and others who were engaged in carrying on the work of the election,

Serjeant Ballantine, for the Respondents, admitted that refreshments had been supplied on the part of the Respondent at sixtytwo public-houses; and he said that the act of so providing them was intentional, but he denied that it was done corruptly to influence voters. He contended that as long as refreshments were not provided for the purpose of influencing a vote, there was no law to forbid their being provided. The word "corruptly," which governed the section (17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, s. 4) relating to this matter, meant more than merely "wilfully," otherwise it would not be introduced, as the section would be perfect without it. But supposing "corruptly" meant merely "wilfully," then the meaning of "wilful" must be governed by the words "influencing a voter."

Mr. Price, for the Petitioners, contended that the meaning of 'corruptly" was merely "wilfully," or "deliberately," simply doing the thing forbidden by the statute, even if in good faith, and he quoted the case of Cooper v. Slade in support of his view.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Baron MARTIN said, as to this, in his judgment, "the 2nd section of 17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, deals with bribery, and bribery is, as ordinarily understood, the giving of money. The enactment is, 'every person who shall give any money to a voter to induce the voter to vote is declared to commit an offence.' There is nothing there said about corruptly.' It is simply the giving of money to induce a voter to vote that is declared to be an offence. The law fixes upon the act of giving money to a man to vote; every man must know that it is an unlawful and wrong thing to give it ; and every man who receives it must know, at least if he be a man in a certain condition of life, that he is doing a dishonest act in being bribed. There the Act stops, and there is nothing about corruptly' in it. It does not apply to the mind of the man who offers, or of him who takes; it turns upon the fact of giving money to a man to vote. That this is the meaning of the Act is shown beyond all doubt by the next two lines, which say, 'or shall corruptly do any such act on account of such voter having voted.' The section draws a distinction between them, and it says that if

you give money to a man to vote before an election, that is ipso facto bribing; but if the money is given after a man has voted, you must show that it was done corruptly. What is the exact meaning of the word 'corruptly?' I am satisfied that it means a thing done with an evil mind and intention, and unless there be an evil mind or an evil intention accompanying the act, it is not 'corruptly' done. Corruptly' means an act done by a man knowing that he is doing what is wrong, and doing it with an evil object. I have called attention to the 2nd section of this Act, in order to explain what is the true meaning of the word 'corruptly.' The words upon which I have here to put a construction are those of the fourth section, Every candidate who shall "corruptly," by himself, or by any person, give or be accessory to the giving, or shall pay wholly or in part, any expense incurred for meat or drink, in order to be elected or for being elected, shall be deemed guilty of treating.' That which is provided against is, that the candidate shall not 'corruptly' give any meat or drink in order to be elected;' and I think the meaning must be given to the word 'corruptly,' which I have indicated, viz., a thing done with an evil mind; there must be some evil motive in it, and it must be done in order to be elected."

rule 7. 158.

A witness, Timothy Allen, whose name was not down in the Object of particulars of treating given under a Judge's order, was asked a question which appeared to be intended to prove that he had been treated; whereupon

Sergeant Ballantine, for the Respondent, objected, on the ground that his name was not in the list of persons treated.

Mr. Baron MARTIN, after reading out the seventh rule said, that this rule was confined to a Petitioner claiming the seat; that at the time when the rules were made, it was thought that inasmuch as there was this particular rule as to the case of a candidate claiming the seat, it was but reasonable to apply it to other cases which were not strictly within the rule. That is how the thing arose at first. It was thought that particulars might be given, almost as a matter of course, to a very considerable extent. It was then suggested that some limitation had better be made.

Order for particulars; effect of in limiting evidence.



upon it, for that it would give an opportunity of tampering with the persons whose names were mentioned in the particulars, and getting them out of the way, and that it might do more harm than good; the consequence was that there was a limitation put upon it, and we all agreed that we would wait and see what was the operation of the rule in the first five cases that we each had set down for hearing, and see whether it would work well or not.

Mr. Baron MARTIN further said, with regard to the Judge's order made in this particular case, that if there was any restriction in the order, of course the Petitioners must be bound by it, but that if not, they were quite free, and that it was his own wish to make the thing as free as possible.

A witness, Sarah Halliday, examined for the Petitioners, being about to give evidence of treating, which had taken place at the Spinkwell Inn,

Serjeant Ballantine, for the Respondent, objected that the name of this house was not mentioned in the Petitioners' particulars given pursuant to the Judge's order, which was as follows:

"I do order that the Petitioner shall, three days before the day appointed for trial, leave with the Master, and also give the Respondent or his agent particulars in writing, of all persons' alleged to have been bribed, of all persons alleged to have been treated, of all persons alleged to have been unduly influenced, and that no evidence shall be given by the Petitioners of any objection not specified in such particulars, except by leave of a Judge, upon such terms, if any, as to amendment, postponement, and payment of costs as may be ordered. And I further order that the Petitioners shall, within four days from this day, leave with the Master, and give the Master particulars in writing of the nature of the corrupt or illegal practices charged."

Mr. Baron MARTIN said that the giving of the names of the houses was not necessary under the order.

Mr. Baron MARTIN in his judgment declared the Respondent duly elected.

After stating that he was not satisfied, from the evidence, that

given to com.

bribery or treating or undue influence previous to the polling-day Refreshments had been proved against the Respondent, he said the next question mittee-men. he had to consider was, whether what was done on the polling-day was treating within the meaning of 17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, s. 4. He said :—“ What was done on the polling-day was this: a number of persons who were supporters of the Respondent had formed themselves into committees to carry his election. In one word, there were about 1400 persons who voted for Ripley, 1300 for Respondent, and 1200 for Miall, and there were sixty refreshments provided and supplied by means of tickets. The Respondent's agent stated that he and Mr. Little, who was engaged on the other side, went to the town clerk and agreed that he should provide refreshments for the check clerks in the polling-booths, and that they would afterwards repay the expenses so incurred. It is agreed that this was a necessary and innocent act. According to the evidence it was doing precisely the same thing in the Respondent's committeerooms as was agreed to be done at the polling-booths by both parties, that refreshments should be given to the men who required them, to enable them to carry on the work of the election. Those refreshments were given to nobody else, and care was taken to give them to no persons except those who were actually engaged in labour. I am of opinion that that does not fall within 17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, s. 4. That which is provided against is, that a candidate shall not corruptly' give any meat or drink in order to be elected; and I think that to put a proper construction upon the Act, the meaning which I have indicated must be given to the word 'corruptly,' viz., a thing done with an evil mind. There must be some evil motive in it, and it must be done in order to be elected.' But those are negatived. It was not given in order to be elected,' because it was known how all these men would vote. They were there because they were voters who had declared their intention to support the Respondent. It is therefore idle to suppose that the meat and drink were given to induce them to vote. I think therefore that there is an absence of anything to satisfy me that it was done 'corruptly,' and in my judgment the doing of what was done, believing it to have been bona fide and honestly done, does not come within the meaning of 17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, s. 4."

General preva


Election void at common law.

and undue.

[ocr errors]

Speaking of the evidence which had been given in support of lence of corrupt the petition, and observing that it did not satisfy him that the election was void at common law, he said:-"The law is that voters should exercise their franchise freely; that is the expression Influences due to be found in the law books; and the meaning of 'freely' is that a man upon whom the Legislature has conferred the elective franchise, should exercise his own judgment, and should arrive at a conclusion which of the candidates he honestly believes is the best person to represent the borough, and give his vote for him. If it could be, it ought to be given from the man's own judgment, and no influence whatever ought to be brought to bear upon him. The policy and the theory of the law is, that a man upon whom the elective franchise is conferred should judge for himself which is the best and preferable candidate, and give his vote accordingly. But influences are brought to bear upon men which cannot be prevented. There are some influences which are called due ⚫ influences, and other influences which are called undue influences, and the law has endeavoured to punish the use of undue influences. Amongst these influences there are what are called bribery, treating, and oppression, that is, an improper and undue pressure put upon a man. But if pressure is put upon a man, or a bribe is administered to him, no matter by whom, or refreshments are given to a man, no matter by whom, for the purpose of affecting his vote, the effect is to annihilate the man's vote, because he gives his vote upon an influence which the law says deprives him of free action; he becomes a man incompetent to give a vote, because he has not that freedom of will and of mind which the law contemplates he ought to have for the purpose of voting. But that affects the man alone, it does not affect the candidate; it has merely the effect of extinguishing the vote, and if there was a scrutiny for the purpose of ascertaining who had the majority of lawful votes, that man's vote ought to be struck off the poll, but that is all. But it has been long held, before these Acts of Parliament passed at all, that by the common law of the land, that is, law not created by the enactments of Acts of Parliament, bribery, undue influence, and undue pressure vitiate an election. So that if it had been proved that there existed in this town generally, bribery to a large extent, and that

« AnteriorContinuar »