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ions, such offender shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of piracy, felody, and robbery, and shall suffer death. See stat. 22 Geo. 3, c. 25, and 2 East, P. C. 801.
Stat. 5 Geo. 4, c. 113_dealing in slaves.] By the 5 Geo. 4, c. 113, s. 9, the carrying away, conveying, or removing, of any person upon the high seas for the purpose of his being imported or brought into any place as a slave, or being sold or dealt with as such, or the embarking or receis. ing on board any person for such purpose, is made piracy, selony, and robbery, punishable with death. By sec. 10, the dealing in slaves, and other offences connected therewith, are made felony.
Now by the 7 Wm. 4 and 1 Vict. c. 91, the punishment of death imposed by the ninth section of the above statute is abolished, and transportation for life, &c. substituted.
Proof of the piracy. ] The prosecutor must give evidence of facts, which, had the transaction occurred within the body of a county, would [ *780) have rendered the offender guilty of larceny or robbery at *common law. He must, therefore, show a taking animo furandi and lucri
It is said that if a ship is attacked by a pirate, and the master, for her redemption, gives his oath to pay a sum certain, though there is no taking; yet it is piracy by the law marine, but by the common law there must be a actual taking, though but to the value of a penný, as in robbery. Beawes, Lex Merc. 25, citing 44 Ed. 3, 14, 4 Hen. 4. If a ship is riding at anchor, with part of the inariners in her boat, and the rest on shore, so that none remain in the ship, if she be attacked and robbed, it is piracy. Beawes, Lex Merc. 253, citing 14 Edw. 3, 115.
Proof with regard to the persons guilty of piracy.) The subject of a foreign power in amity with this country may be punished for piracy committed upon English property.
1 Beawes, Lex Merc. 251. A person having a special trust of goods will not be guilty of piracy by converting them to his own use; as where the master of a vessel with goods on board, ran the goods on shore in England, and burnt the ship with intent to defraud the owners and insurers, on an indictment for piracy and stealing the goods, it was held to be only a breach of trust, and no felony, and that it could not be piracy to convert the goods in a fraudulent manner, until the special trust was determined. Mason's case, 2 East, P. C. 796 ; 8 Mod. 74. But it is otherwise with regard to the mariners. Thus where several seamen on board a ship seized the captain, he not agreeing with them, and after putting him ashore, carried away the ship, and subsequently committed several piracies, it was held that this force upon the captain, and carrying away the ship, was piracy. May's case, 2 East, P. C. 796. The prisoners were convicted upon a count charging them with feloniously and piratically stealing sixty-five fathoms of cable, &c., upon the high seas, within the jurisdiction of the admiralty. It appeared that they were Deal pilots, who having been applied to by the master to take the vessel into Ramsgate, had in collusion with him, cut away the cable and part of the anchor, which had before been broken, for the purpose of causing an average loss to the underwriters. It was objected that the offence of the prisoners was not larceny, having been committed by them jointly with the master of the vessel, not for the purpose of defrauding
the owners, but for the purpose of defrauding the underwriters for the benefit of the owners. A majority of the judges, however, held the conviction right. Curling's case, Russ. and Ry. 123 (a).
Proof with regard to accessaries.] Accessaries to piracy were triable only by the civil law, and if their offence was committed on land, they were not punishable at all before the 11 & 12 Wm. 3, c. 7, s. 10. And now by the 8 Geo. 1, c. 24, s. 3, all persons whatsoever, who, by the 11 & 12 Wm. 3, c. 7, are declared to be accessary or accessaries to any piracy or robbery therein mentioned, are declared to be principal pirates, felons, and robbers, and shall be inquired of, heard, determined, and adjudged, in the same manner as persons guilty of piracy and robbery may, according to that statute, and shall suffer death in like manner as pirates, &c.
*The knowingly abetting a pirate, within the body of a county, [ *781 ] is not triable at common law. Admiralty case, 13 Rep. 53.
Venue and trial.] The decisions with respect to the venue for offences committed on the high seas have been stated, ante, p. 233.
By the 46 Geo. 3, c. 54, all treasons, piracies, felonies, robberies, murders, conspiracies, and other offences, of what nature or kind soever, committed upon the sea, or in any haven, river, creek, or place, where the admiral or admirals have power, authority, or jurisdiction, may be inquired of, tried, &c., according to the common course of the laws of this realm ; and for offences committed upon the land within this realm, and not otherwise, in any of bis Majesty's islands, plantations, colonies, dominions, forts or factories, under and by virtue of the King's commission or commissions, under the Great Seal of Great Britain, to be directed to any such four or more discreet persons as the Lord Chancellor, &c., shall from time to time think fit to appoint. The cominissioners are to have the same powers as commissioners under the 28 Hen. 8.
Punishment under the 7 Wm. 4 and 1 Vict. c. 88.] By the 7 Wm. 4 and i Vict. c. 88, so much of the 28 H. 8, c. 15, the 11 and 12 Wm. 3, c. 7; the 4 Geo. 1, c. 11, s. 7; the 8 Geo. 1, c. 24 ; and the 18 Geo. 2, c. 30, as relate “to the punishment of the crime of piracy, or of any offence, by any of the said acts, declared to be piracy, or of accessaries thereto respectively,” are repealed.
By s. 2, "whosoever with intent to commit, or at the time of or immediately before, or immediately after committing the crime of piracy in respect of any ship or vessel, shall assault with intent to murder, any person being on board of, or belonging to such ship or vessel, or shall stab, cut, or wound any such person, or unlawfully do any act by which the life of such person may be endangered, shall be guilty of felony and being convicted thereof, shall suffer death as a felon."
By s. 3, “whosoever shall be convicted of any offence, which by any the acts hereinbefore referred to, amounts to the crime of piracy, and is thereby made punishable with death, shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be transported beyond the seas for the term of the natural life of such offender, or for any term not less than fifteen years, or to be imprisoned for any terın not exceeding three years.” By s. 4, “ in the case of every felony punishable under this act, every
(a) 1 Eng. C. C. 123.
principal in the second degree, and every accessary before the fact, shall be punishable with death or otherwise, in the same manner as the principal in the first degree, is by this act punishable, and every accessary after the fact to any felony punishable under this act shall, on conviction, be liable to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years.”
By s. 5, in cases of imprisonment the court may award hard labor, and solitary confinement not exceeding one month at any one time, and three months in any one year:
Statute 7 Wm. 4 and 1 Vict. c. 36.] The law with regard to the embezzlement of letters by persons employed in the post-office was formerly contained in the 5 Geo. 3, c. 25, s. 17, 7 Geo. 3, c. 50, s. 1, and 42 Geo. 3, c. 81, s. 1. The provisions of those acts were afterwards consolidated in the 52 Geo. 3, c. 143.
By the 7 Win. 4 and 1 Vict. c. 32, the last-mentioned statute and all other enactments relative to offences committed against the post-office (excepting so much of the 5 Geo. 3, c. 25 and the 7 Geo. 3, c. 50, as respectively relate to any felony or other offence committed within the British dominions in America and the West Indies have been repealed, and the law has been consolidated and further provisions made, by the 7 Wm. 4 and 1 Vict. c. 36, which came into operation on the same day as the 7 Wm. 4 and 1 Vict. c. 32.
Offences by officers employed under the post-office-opening or detaining letters.] By the 7 Wm. 4 and 1 Vict. c. 36, s. 25, “every person employed by or under the post-office who shall contrary to his duty open [ *783 ] or procure or suffer to be opened a post letter, or shall wilfully *detain or delay, or procure or suffer to be detained or delayed, a post letter, shall in England and Ireland be guilty of a misdemeanor, and in Scotland of a crime and offence, and being convicted thereof shall suffer such punishment by fine or imprisonment, or by both, as to the court shall seem meet: Provided always that nothing herein contained shall extend to the opening or detaining or delaying of a post letter returned for want of a true direction, or of a post letter returned by reason that the person to whom the same shall be directed, is dead or cannot be found, or shall have refused the same, or shall have refused or neglected to pay the postage thereof; nor to the opening or detaining or delaying of a post letter in obedience to an express warrant in writing under the hand (in Great Britain) of one of the principal secretaries of state, and in Ireland under the hand and seal of the lord lieutenant of Ireland.”
Offences by officers employed in the post-office-stealing, embezzling, secreting, or destroying letters.] By sect. 26, “every person employed under the post-office who shall steal, or shall for any purpose whatever, embezzle, secrete, or destroy, a post letter, shall in England and Ireland be guilty of felony, and in Scotland of a high crime and offence, and sball, at the discretion of the court, either be transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years, or be imprisoned for any term not exceeding three years; and if any such post letter so stolen or embezzled, secreted, or destroyed, shall contain therein any chattel or moncy whatsoever, or any valuable security, cvery such offender shall be transported beyond the seas for life.”
Offences by officers employed in the post-office-sleuling or embezzling printed votes, newspapers, &c.] By sect. 32, " for the protection of printed votes and proceedings in parliament and printed newspapers,” it is enacted, that "every person employed in the post-office who shall steal, or shall for any purpose embezzle, secrete, or destroy, or shall wilfully detain or delay in course of conveyance or delivery thereof by the post, any printed votes or proceedings in parliament, or any printed newspaper, or any other printed paper whatever sent by the post without covers, or in covers open at the sides, shall in England and Ireland be guilty of a misdemeanor, and in Scotland of a crime and offence, and being convicted thereof shall suffer such punishment by fine or imprisonment, or by both, as to the court shall seem meet.”
Proof of being employed by or under the post-office.] The employment of the offender “by or under the post-office” must be proved. It is not necessary in these cases to produce the actual appointment of the prisoner, it is sufficient to show that he acted in the capacity imputed to him. Borrett's case, 6 C. and P. 124 (a); Rees' case, Id. 606 (6). The prisoner was indicted on the 7 Geo. 3, c. 50, (which stated the special capacities of the parties employed in the post-office), in the first and third counts, as “a person en ployed in sorting and charging letters in the post-office,” and in the second Hand fourth counts, as i *784 ] “a person employed in the business relating to the general post-office;" it appeared that he was only a sorter and not a charger, and he was convicted on the second and fourth counts only. It was objected that as he was acquitted on the counts charging him as a sorter and charger, and it was not proved that he was employed in any other capacity than that of
sorter, he ought not have been convicted on the second and fourth counts. The judges thought the objection valid, but were inclined to be of opinion that the prisoner might have been properly convicted upon the first and third counts by a special finding, that be was a sorter only. Shaw's case, 2 East, P. C. 530; 2 W. Bl. 789; 1 Leach, 79. In a subsequent case where the prisoner was described as a post-boy and rider, and was proved to be only a post-boy, being convicted, the judges held the the conviction rigtit, saying that a post-boy, riding on horseback was a rider as well as a post-boy. Ellins's case, Russ. and Ry. 188 (a). A person employed at the receiving-house of the general post-office to clean boots, &c., and who occasionally assisted in tying up the letter-bags, was held not to be a person employed by the post-office within the 52 Geo. 3, c. 143, s. 2. Pearson's case, 4 C. and P. 572 (b).
Where the prisoner was employed by a post-mistress to carry letters from D. to B., at a weekly salary paid him by the post-mistress, which was repaid to her by the post-office, it was held that he was a person employed by the post-office within the 52 Geo. 3, c. 143, s. 2. Salisbury's case, 5 C. and P. 155 (c). In the above case, Patteson, J., was inclined to think that the words “ whilst employed,” in the second section, merely meant that the party should be then in the employ of the post-office, and not that the letter stolen should be in the party's hands in the course of his duty. Ibid.
Proof of opening or detaining letters.] It must be proved that the defendant opened or detained a letter according to the allegation in the indictment. In answer to the charge, the defendant may show any of the circuinstances mentioned in the proviso to the 25th section, which authorize him to open or detain the letter.
Proof of stealing, embezzling, secreting, or destroying letters. Prove a larceny of a letter, or of a letter containing money, &c., as the case may be. The ownership of the property need not be proved, but may be laid in the postmaster-general; neither need it be shown to be of any value. To bring the case within the statute, the letter must be a “post-letter.” As to what is to be considered a “post-letter" and what a delivery to the post-office, see the interpretation clause, post, p. 790.
Where the charge is for embezzling, &c., the prosecutor must prove that the prisoner either embezzled, secreted, or destroyed the letter described. Where the prisoner secreted half a bank-uote on one day, and the other half on another day, it was held to be a secreting of the note ( *785 ) within the 7 Geo. 3, c. 50. The doubt was, *whether secreting in the statute did not mean the original secreting, as taking does; but the judges distinguished between taking and secreting, for after the prisoner had got possession of the second letter, he secreted both. Moor's case, 2 East, P. C. 582. The statute 52 Geo. 3, mentioned, “ any part of any bill," &c. The secreting will be proved in general by circumstantial evidence. See as to concealment of effects by Bankrupts, ante, p. 272.
Where such is the charge, it must appear that the letter contained some chattel, money, or valuable security. Where the letter embezzled was described as containing several notes, it was held sufficient to prove that it
(a) 1 Eng. C. C. 188. (6) Eng. Com. L. Rep. xix. 533. (c) ld. xxiv. 253.