Page images

shew, that this was a case not subject to forfeiture. But Lee C. J. said, " The judgment of forfeiture is a judgment on the thing itself. How the tea came to R.'s house was a matter proper for the consideration of the commissioners; and, if the plaintiff was willing to have defended the suit, he might have come in pro interesse suo, which as he has not done, his property is bound. There is no more in this than the common case, namely, that courts of law pay such deference to the judgment of each other in matters within their jurisdiction, that the first determination by a proper authority ought to prevail: so that, the tea being forfeited, the property could not be in the plaintiff." And upon this thtr plaintiff was nonsuited.

An acquittal in the Exchequer was considered by Lord Kenyan, in the case of Cooke v. Sholl (1), to be conclusive evidence of the illegality of the seizure. That was an action of trover for several pipes of wine seized by the defendant for want of a permit. At the trial of the cause, the plaintiff gave in evidence a record of acquittal in the court of Exchequer. The defendant then insisted, that, under the circumstances of this case, the permit had expired, before the seizure was made; and Mr. Just. Heath, who tried the cause, was of that opinion; but, on its being suggested, that there had been a different determination in the court of Exchequer, he reserved the point for the opinion of the court of King's Bench, with liberty to enter a verdict for the defendant, if it should be adjudged for him. When the case came before the Court, Lord Kenyon thought the record of acquittal precluded all reasoning on the construction of the permit: but as the question respecting the judgment of acquittal was not upon the record, and the only question was on tlie construction of the permit, a verdict was entered for the defendant. This case, therefore, has not determined, that an acquittal in the

(0 5T. R. a;Si see a case in 11 Vin. Ab. (A. b. it.) vl I. cor. Price B.acc. * r

Exchequer would be conclusive evidence of the illegality of a seizure, although certainly that appears to have been the opinion of Lord Kenyon. It may be observed, that an acquittal does not, like a conviction, ascertain any precise fact. The sentence might have proceeded on the ground, that sufficient evidence was not produced, on the part of the crown, to warrant the seizure; and, though the sentence may be conclusive as against the crown, it seems reasonable, that it should not have such a conclusive operation, irr an action for seizing the property, against a third person, who was not a party with the crown in the original proceedings, and had no notice or opportunity for supporting the condemnation.

Sect. IV.

Of Sentences by Members of a College, Convictions be/ore
Magistrates, fyc.

The principle, which has been before laid down as applicable to the sentences of courts of justice, seems to apply equally to the judicial proceedings of other tribunals, which are invested with an exclusive or peculiar jurisdiction.

A sentence of deprivation or expulsion of one of the Sentence of members of a college, by the master and fellows, or by the "coillf!!' visitor on an appeal, upon a subject within their jurisdiction, is conclusive in courts of law. And the justice of their decision cannot be questioned even in the King's Bench, though it belongs to that court to controul them, if they exceed the bounds of their jurisdiction. On this principle, a mandamus, to restore the fellow of a college, has been frequently refused (r). In the case of Philips v. Bury, it was decided, on an appeal to the House of Lords, that a sentence of deprivation, by the visitor of a college,

(1) Dr. Widriugton's case, I Lev. 13. Dr. Patrick's cue, 1 Lev. 65. Case of New College, 1 Lev. 14.

- S a was

was conclusive evidence in an action of ejectment for one of the college estates; and the judgment of the court of King's Bench, which had been given on the opinions of three judges against the opinion of Lord Holt, was reversed (1). And in the last case 011 this subject, which was a prosecution for an assault in turning out of a college one who had been expelled, the court of King's Bench determined, that evidence, to impeach the sentence of expulsion, had been properly rejected at the trial. (2)

Convictions A conviction by a justice of the peace, who has comwates!8"" Patent jurisdiction, is, till reversed or quashed, conclusive evidence in favour of the justice, in an action against him for false imprisonment. Thus in the case of Strickland against Ward (3), tried before Mr. Just. Yates, (which was an action of trespass and false imprisonment against the defendant, a justice of the peace,) the defendant produced in evidence, under the general issue (4), a warrant signed by him, reciting a conviction of the plaintiff for unlawfully returning to a parish, whence he had been removed, and requiring the keeper of a house of correction to keep the plaintiff to hard labour; he also produced the conviction, referred to in the warrant, regularly drawn up: Mr. Just. Aston, upon this, gave his opinion, "that the conviction could not be controverted in evidence, but that, as the justice had a competent jurisdiction of the matter, his judgment was conclusive, till reversed or quashed; and that it could not be set aside at nisi prius." The plaintiff was accordingly nonsuited. But where the magistrate has committed to prison, not having any jurisdiction, he will be liable to an action for false imprisonment, though the conviction has not been reversed or quashed (5); as, where the plaintiff was convicted and

(1) Philips v. Bury, Skin. 447. I Ld. (4) St. 7 Jac. r. c. 5.

Raym.5. S.G. (5) Hill v. Bateman, a Str. 710.

H) R. v. Grimdon, Coup. 315. Crepps v. Durden, C»:vp. 640. Mot

(3) At Winchester sum. ass. 1*67, gau v. Hughes, a T. R. 225.

from a MS. note in 7 T. R. 633.

i2E«st,75. l6 East, 21.


committed to prison for destroying game, though, as it was proved, he had effects which might have been distrained, sufficient to answer the penalty, (the statute of 5 & 6 Ann. c. 14. enacting that the penalty is to be levied by distress and sale of the offender's goods, and, for Kant of distress, the offender to be committed to the house of correction) (1); or, where the justice has committed to prison, on mere suspicion, without any information laid before him. (2)

It is reported to have been held (3), that, where actions for false imprisonment are brought against justices of peace, they are obliged to shew the regularity of their convictions; and that the informations laid before them, upon which their convictions are founded, must be produced and proved in court. But it appears from later authorities (4), that, in such collateral proceedings, the informality of the warrant of commitment, or of the conviction, cannot be taken advantage of by the plaintiff; and that, if the magistrate was warranted in taking cognizance of the charge, and did in fact convict, this will be sufficient to protect him, however irregularly the conviction may have been drawn up (5). It may also be collected from the late case of Gray v. Cookson (6), that, if the magistrate had a general jurisdiction over the subject-matter, evidence of facts not stated in the conviction is not admissible, to prove that the conclusion drawn by the magistrate was erroneous.

It is a general rule, with respect to special and limited jurisdictions, that where a person acts as judge, (that is, where he has over the subject-matter a general jurisdiction, which he has not exceeded,) he will not be liable to have his judgment examined in an action brought against

• (1) iStr. 71c. (5) Where a conviction has been

(2) lT. R. la5. quashed, the magistrate is protected in

(3) Hill v. Baceman, cor. Raymond certain cases, by st. 43 G. 3. c. 141.

C. J., iStr. 710. (6) 16East.21.13. See also 7T.R.

(4) Massey v. Johnson, 11 East, 67. 633.1k And see Gray v. Cooltson and Clayton,

16 East, 13.

S 3 nim. him (1). When therefore in pursuance of such judicial authority he has convicted a party, the facts, upon which the conviction is grounded, cannot be traversed (2). So where a statute provides, that the judgment of commissioners, appointed by the act, shall be final, their decision is conclusive, and cannot be questioned in any collateral proceeding. It has therefore been held, that a certificate from commissioners for settling the debts of the army, stating that so much was due from the defendant (an armyagent) to the plaintiff (an officer), was conclusive in an action brought to recover the money; and that no evidence could be received to shew, that the commissioners had formed a wrong judgment. (3)

(1) Marslulsea case, 10 Rep. 76. (3) Moody v. Thurston, I Str. 481.

Dr. Groenvelt v. Dr. Burwell, 1 Ld. ruled by Pratt C. J.; and a new trial

Ray. 454.467; 1 Salk. 396. S.C. Mil- afterwards refused by the whole court,

ler v. Scare, 2 Black. Rep. 1145. See See also Lane v. Hegberg, Bull. N. P.

also Ackerley v. Dr. Parkinson and 19; Earl of Radnor v. Reeve, 1 Bos. fc

Mawdesley, Hil. term 1815. Pull 391.

f» iIxi.Ray.467.

Of certain other judicial Proceedings.

Wf E proceed now to treat of the admissibility of certain
other judicial proceedings; and in the present chap-
ter it is proposed to consider the admissibility of proceed-
ings in Chancery, of depositions, inquisitions, examinations
taken under acts of parliament, judgments of inferior
courts, and, lastly, of awards.

Sect. I.
Of Proceedings in Chancery.

D«m*. A Decree in the Court of Chancery may be given in evidence on the same footing, and under the same limita11 tions,

« PreviousContinue »