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REMARKABLE TRIALS AND LAW CASES.

LIBELS.

the country into contempt, and to

stir up the people to disorder and Court of King's Bench, June 5. sedition. He afterwards noticed The Kingv. Thomas JonathanWooler. the libel upon Lord Castlereagh -This was an information filed and Mr. Canning, arguing that against the defendant by the At- the purpose of it was the same, torney-general for printing and though its malignity was restrictpublishing a libel. His plea was, ed to two individual members of Not guilty.

the government. The Attorney-general said, that Benjamin Steill was next called the libel charged in the informá- to prove the publication, but it tion was contained in a periodical was admitted by the defendant as paper called The Black Dwarf, of his own act, which the defendant was the au- Mr. Law then read all the parts thor and printer. The number charged in the accusation as libels. comprised in the libel was dated The defendant then commenced April 3d, and the information his address to the jury; and it contained two counts: the first cannot be denied that the spirit of was for a libel on the ministers it obtained the applauses of a great employed by the king in the ad- part of the audience, which the ministration of the government; sheriffs found it difficult to reand the second was for a libel press. on two distinguished individuals, Mr. Justice Abbot, the judge, members of that administration. whose office it was to charge the

The Attorney-general, after jury, began with stating the genesome remarks by way of prelimi- ral nature of the crime of libel. nary, proceeded to read the libel It is open (said his lordship) to in question. He particularly dwelt every subject of the kingdom to upon the charge, that the admi- discuss the measures of governnistration “ talked of patriotism ment, provided it is done reasonwhen they meant plunder;" and ably, fairly, and impartially; but that their object in embarking in if he chooses to issue forth to the a war against France was not to world slander and calumny, he is conquer that country, but our a libeller, and becomes amenable selves. And he appealed to the to the law. He then noticed good sense of the jury, if the various observations made by the whole were not a gross, scanda- defendant which were not correct lous, and seditious libel, calcu- in point of fact; and he concluded lated to bring the government of with expressing his opinion very

M 2

decidedly

decidedly that the productions in three of the jurymen stated that question were libels.

they had not brought in their verAfter the jury had consulted a dict, Guilty. short time, one of them asked his Mr. Justice Abbot. When 1 lordship, supposing they consider- put the question, the foreman ed the facts stated to be true, were answered in the affirmative, that they still by law bound to find the it was the verdict of the whole publication a libel.

jury. Mr. Justice Abbot answered Mr. Chitty. Three of the jury (but not quite audibly), that the understood that they were to go truth of the fact did not justify back and reconsider, as your lord. the libel-and he read to them ship could only receive a general Lord Raymond's opinion upon the verdict. question.

Mr. Justice Abbot. I take it for The jury retired for two hours granted that the crown only wishes and a half, and then returned to to obtain a verdict by legal means. the court, the foreman standing No gentleman objected to the verwith three of his fellows at the dict at the time; and an answer door of the judge's room: the other was given that they all concurred. jurymen were behind them. It may be extremely dangerous,

Mr. Law (clerk of Nisi Prius) if, after a jury has retired after then put the question in the usual giving in their verdict, any attenform, whether they found the de- tion could be paid to the statement fendant guilty of the misdemeanor of some of the individuals. I cercharged in the information, or not tainly do not wish to infringe guilty ?

upon the privileges of the jury: The Foreman answered, We find but after a verdict has been rehim guilty; but three of the jury ceived and recorded, I cannot allow wish to state special grounds. a part of the jury, after they have

Mr. Justice Abbot said, your withdrawn, having delivered in verdict niust be a general verdict the verdict as the verdict of the of guilty or not guilty. Do I un. . whole, to say that they did not derstand you to say that you find agree. the defendant guilty ?

Mr. Wooler said, that the jury The Foreman bowed, and ap- offered a paper to his lordship, peared to answer “ Yes."

who declared that he would not Mr. Justice Abbot. Is the ver. receive their objections. dict of guilty the verdict of all the Mr. Justice Abbot affirmed that gentlemen of the jury?

he said, he would receive any thing The Foreman again bowed, but that proceeded from the whole of if he said any thing, it was in the jury, but nothing that proaudible beyond the bench.

ceeded from a part of it. He askAfter the jury impannelled for ed, in a tone of voice quite audible, the trial of the second information if the verdict of guilty were the had retired, Mr. Chitty said, that verdict of all, and he was told that he hoped it would not be consider it was. ed as an impertinent intrusion, if Mr. Wooler. The whole of the he mentioned to his lordship, that jury is here ; they have never se

parated;

parated; and the verdict at pre- found the defendant guilty, but sent is only the verdict of nine, three of them were desirous, or not of twelve.

had desired him, on their part, to Mr. Justice Abbot. I have de. add something. I then interposed, livered my judgment upon it: if and observed, that I thought I it be incorrect, you will have an could not receive any thing coming opportunity of correcting it here- from a part only of the gentlemen after.

of the jury; that the verdict must Mr. Wooler. I have no means be the verdict of all; and I then of appealing against your lord- asked (speaking, as I thought, in ship's judgment hereafter. This a very distinct and audible voice) cannot be justice, my lord! The whether all the jury agreed in the three jurymen are ready to depose verdict? I was answered that they on affidavit that they did not con- did, and at that time I heard no sent to the verdict.

dissent expressed by any person.

The situation, however, was such, June 6.The King v. Thomas Jo

the jury not having all of them nathan Wooler.

come into my view, that it is not Mr. Justice Abbot, at the sitting altogether impossible that some of the Court, addressed the rest of mistake or misapprehension might the Bench as follows:

have taken place; it is not imposI wish to take the earliest op- sible that some might not hear portunity of reporting some cir- distinctly what had been said. cumstances which occurred yester. The jury having then retired, day at Guildhall, in the course of and the door being shut again, I a trial which took place before me. proceeded to sum up the cause in The case to which I allude was progress ; and when I had conan information by the Attorney- cluded, (it not being decorous to General against a person of the interrupt me), and after the sename of Thomas Jonathan Wooler, cond jury had retired to consider for a libel. After the case had of their verdict, a gentleman at been gone through, the Jury re- the bar suggested, that some of tired to consider of their verdict, the gentlemen of the first Jury had and while they were absent another not concurred, nor intended to case was called on, the trial of it concur, in the general verdict dewas proceeded in, and just before livered ; or had been desirous that the reply in the second case was the verdict should be received with concluded, the door on my left some degree of qualification. I hand was opened, in order to ad- have not the words very distinctly mit the gentlemen of the jury, who now in my mind, but the circumhad returned after considering of stances I have stated. I farther their verdict; and as soon as the understood, that some of the jury reply was finished, in one or two were present, in or near the court. sentences, the names were called I then said, that the verdict of the over by the officer in the usual way, jury had been recorded, and that and answers were given in the or- it seemed to me, that sitting in dinary manner.' The foreman of that place, I could not do any thing the jury then said, that the jury in the matter. I do not know

whether whether I made use of the senti- This fact supplies a distinction from ment; but it certainly impressed all the cases that have usually come my mind, that it would be ex- before the Court. A verdict is tremely dangerous if, after the generally given, the jurors standjury had retired from the bar, a ing together in the presence of the judge then in Court could receive judge; and they have full opporand act upon any communication tunity of hearing what is profrom them. I therefore was of pounded by the foreman, and of opinion that the verdict must expressing their dissent if they stand as the verdict of the jury. thought fit so to do. If it could I wished to take the earliest op- be satisfactorily made out, from portunity of stating this occur the position and nearness of the rence to my Lord and my brothers. jury, or from the situation of the

Lord Ellenborough (after con- judge, that all the jury did hear, sulting with the other judges).- and that none of them dissented,

The Court cannot, according to it would perhaps be too much to the authorities and precedents of disturb the verdict, and the Court law, receive an affidavit from a could not receive any affidavit juryman upon the subject of his against it. But the perfect evi. verdict; and the reason why he is . dence of their hearing, and their precluded from making the affi- means of assenting or dissenting, davit is, because, from the circum- seem to be wanted here; and, stances, it must have been intended therefore, I suggest, for the conthat that verdict was given with sideration of my brothers, whether his assent. In order to imply this in this case, under the uncertainty, assent, it must unquestionably ap- (for any uncertainty is to be pear that he heard what was pro- avoided, especially in a criminal pounded by the foreman on behalf proceeding,) it should not be allowof himself and his fellows; and the ed to the defendant to have the addifficulty that occurs to my mind vantage of a new trial, if he should is, whether in this case there is be disposed to desire it. sufficient evidence for the Court The Attorney - General. It safely to act upon, that the jury would ill become me to gainsay did all hear what was propounded any thing that has fallen from for them, and on their behalf, by the Court; but I apprehend, the the foreman. Thejurymen were not utrnost extent to which your Lord. all within the view of the judge, ship has said the defendant shall for it seems that a part of the jury be indulged, would be, that he were in the room behind. I say, might be permitted toshow grounds therefore, that we have not in this for a new trial. I should apprecase the ordinary means existing hend, with great deference, that it in others, for presuming that every cannot be granted in this case. The one of the jury heard what was jury were certainly all called over, propounded by their foreman. If, and they answered to their names. indeed, they did not hear it, they Lord Ellenborough. We aswere not furni-hed with any sume that. means of contradiction, or of sig- The Attorney - General. - All nifying any dissent or qualification. were within hearing at the time.

Lord

Lord Ellenborough. -At that The Attorney-General. I was time certainly.

only about to add a single word. TheAttorney-General.–And the If the Court thinks that, under verdict was pronounced in such a the circumstances, the party should tone of voice that it must have have a new trial, I am sure, standbeen heard by all present. ing here for the Crown, I shall

Mr. Justice Bayley.- The judge not resist it for a moment. himself has a doubt in his own Mr. Justice Holroyd.--Othermind whether the verdict, as ul. wise the Court does not see how timately pronounced by the fore- it can proceed to pass, sentence. man of the jury, was distinctly The Attorney-General. - After heard by each and every of the the opinion the Court has exjurors.

pressed, I shall not hesitate to pray Lord Ellenborough.—If he had that a new trial may be granted. seen them there would have been Lord Ellenborough. I think, incontrovertible presumption that Mr. Attorney-General, you do as they must have heard, unless other- becomes you. (To Mr. Chitty.) wise disabled.

Are you instructed, on the part of The Attorney-General.-I was your client, to the extent of auonly about to state that the Court thorising you to desire a new trial? would expect it to be made out sa- Mr. Chitty są:d, that yesterday tisfactorily that the jurors did not he had appeared on behalf of the hear.

dissenting jurymen. Lord Ellenborough.—The Court Lord Ellenborough. Then you thinks it is precluded from the have appeared, and we will hear means of acquiring that knowledge no more at least upon that matter. through affidavits. That is the Mr. Chitty added, that he now difficulty the Court feels. If it appeared, and was instructed on were not for the possibility that behalf of the defendant. some of the jury did not hear, the Lord Ellenborough.-Do you danger would be infinite; and this desire a new trial ? danger has, in former times, no Mr. Chitty.--I am instructed to doubt, deterred such applications. apply to your Lordship for an acI do not know that an application quittal. of this kind has ever been made. Lord Ellenborough. When it

Mr. Justice Bayley.—The Court, comes to your turn you will move sensible of the difficulty, felt that for what you think proper. it was due to my brother Abbot, and

Nov. 25.- The King 4. James this communication. I entirely Williams.-The defendant had adconcur with my Lord in the obser- initted judgınent to go by default vations he has made upon this case: on an information charging him, it is peculiarly circumstanced, for a bookseller and stationer at Portthe jury were not all withio view. gey, with printing and publishing of the judge: he could not see a segudalouş, infamous, and imthem, nor they him; and 49 soon pious libel, tending to bring into as decorum would allow, the coa- contempt that part of the service munication of dissent was made of the church of England called

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