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Kellett is threatening to bring slander proceedings against Mr. You must be satisfied, as I say, so that you are sure that that is the purpose and motive of this letter before you can convict.” The second statement put the two points in this way: “I will say it once more, you cannot convict him unless you are satisfied so as to be sure (1) that the defendant really did not mean to sue for slander and was making an empty threat only, and (2) that he did that in order to persuade Keys and his daughter to withdraw their statements and not give evidence against him. They do not deal with the limits of the offence or indicate whether it can be committed where the evidence of the potential witness is false or may be false, or whether it can be committed where the means used are not bribery or reward but threats, or where the threats used are threats to exercise a legal right, or where the intention, or one of the intentions, of him who approaches the potential witness is to exercise such a right or to see that justice, or what he believes to be justice, is done to himself or another. What may be proper for a friend or relation or a legal adviser may be oppressive and improper coming from a person in a position of influence or authority. We are content to assume that he had a right to sue in respect of their slander of him to Mrs.
For the proposition that pressure can be put on a litigant or witness to drop an action: see Webster v. The jury heard counsel’s speeches and the summing up of Lord Widgery C. Keys not to give the evidence which he had mentioned in his statement to Mr. Are you satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt and so that you are sure that in writing this letter Mr. But they were all concerned with the manufacture of false evidence or the withdrawal of a true complaint. or who advise a prisoner to stand mute upon his arraignment etc….” Blackstone’s Commentaries, 15th ed. To dissuade or prevent witnesses from giving evidence, or to prevent a witness from attending the trial, or to prepare witnesses to suppress truth…” Compare Archbold Criminal Pleading Evidence & Practice, 38th ed. Pressure which may be permissible at one stage of the particular proceedings may be improper at another. 480 is authority for the proposition that preliminary statements to a solicitor and to a party are equally privileged and that therefore the defendant may have had no legal right to sue the two witnesses in this case for defamatory remarks either in their statements to Mr. But no such point was taken at the trial and we find it unnecessary to decide it now.
I think you follow that, because the point being made was that the only threat here one can find is a threat to sue for slander and Mr. He was also correct in directing them that a threat to do an otherwise lawful act in order to induce a potential witness not to give evidence was unlawful and an attempt to pervert the course of justice. We have not found anything in its interesting pages which makes us wish to alter our judgment.
The judge directed the jury that the defendant was guilty if he was threatening to bring a slander action against his neighbours with the intention of causing them not to give evidence in the divorce proceedings.
The defendant had no intention of interfering with the course of justice, neither was the letter “calculated” to interfere: see Shaw v. (4) That the learned Lord Chief Justice erred in directing the jury that a threat to do an otherwise lawful act (viz: to sue for defamation) made to a potential witness was unlawful and/or an attempt to pervert the course of justice. What he did was to write the letter, and since he gave and called no evidence, there was nothing but the letter, except the surrounding circumstances and the police officers’ evidence of what he told them, from which the jury could infer his state of mind when he wrote and sent it, his intentions, his motives, or his beliefs in the truth or falsity of what Mr. It was, in our judgment, for the jury to say what the letter meant and what the defendant intended it to mean, what Mr.
477, a “contempt” case which was a “perversion” because of the use of threatening language. (3) That the learned Lord Chief Justice erred in directing that the defendant’s belief as to whether the intended evidence was true or false was not a material issue. (2) That the learned Lord Chief Justice erred in that he failed adequately to direct the jury that questions of fact were solely a matter for them.” The certificate of Lord Widgery C. and the conflicting submissions made to us compel us to consider the nature of the offence which the defendant was charged with committing, both the act and the intention necessary to constitute an attempt to pervert the course of justice of the character with which he was charged, and also what he was proved to have done and intended.
made it clear that, whether the evidence had been given or not, a despicable threat was still contempt, and that the contemnor need not know whether the evidence had been given. The charge against the defendant concerns a person trying to exercise a legal remedy: see Rex v. Where there is persuasion to give different evidence, the nature of the evidence is not the factor. Sir Peter Rawlinson for the prosecution submits that they were correct or, if wrong, wrong only in being too favourable to the defendant.
] It may constitute contempt, but it is not perverting the course of justice. The accused sincerely believed that the evidence was incorrect and attempted to obtain proper evidence. J.’s directions were wrong and should have been more favourable to the defendant.