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to fraudulently “cut, tear, or get off, or cause or procure to be cut, torn, or got off the impression of any stamp or die which shall have been provided, made, or used in pursuance of this or any former act, for expressing or denoting any duty or duties under the care and management of the commissioners of stamps, or any part of such duty or duties, from any vellum, parchment, or paper whatsoever, with intent to use the same for or upon any other vellum, parchment, or paper, or any instrument or writing charged or chargeable with any of the duties hereby granted.” Now, supposing, for the sake of argument, that these 251. stamps are the stamps cut off by the prisoner, at the office for the allowance of spoilt stamps, still he did not fraudulently cut them off, because it was his duty; and the bad intention of converting them might have occurred after they were cut off. The offence contemplated by the act, was the fraudulently cutting off stamps from one parchment and affixing them to another. The other objection is this, that the first four counts state that these were the impressions of a die made and used in pursuance of the stat. 55 Geo. 3, c. 184; now, the witnesses cannot say whether these very impressions did not exist before that time. It is said, that the fifth and sixth counts merely state the die to have been used under the statute in such case made and provided. Now, we have no proof of its use under any previous statute.
Manning, on the same side.—This was not a case in the contemplation of the Legislature. The words relate to a case of fraudulently cutting off the stamp from one deed and putting it on another, and not to cases where the person does it in the discharge of his duty; and if such a case as this had been meant, there would have been a provision for the carrying away and dealing with stamps properly cut off in the first instance.
C. Phillips, on the same side. The first objection is
perhaps rather a question for the Jury, as it will be for them to consider, whether the prisoner had any bad intention at the time he cut off the stamps, or whether he did it in the discharge of his duty. The second objection does not appear to be met by the commissioners' order; and the prosecutors are bound to prove distinctly that these pieces of blue paper did not exist till after the passing of some statute "in such case made and provided." This section of the act of Parliament, 55 Geo. 3, requires, as I submit, that the stamps should be transferred to some vellum or parchment chargeable with duty. Now, if these parchments had been complete indentures, they would have been such; but the blank parchments are not liable to duty; and it is no fraud on the revenue, unless the stamp was transferred to some complete instrument.
Denmun, A. G., for the prosecution.-As to the objection that these impressions may have been in existence before the 55 Geo. 3, I would say, that these stamps either existed before that act or they did not. If they did, they were the impressions of stamps used under the act of Parliament then in existence. With respect to the objection, that the stamps were not affixed to complete instruments, I submit that the words “ vellum, parchment, and paper," are three descriptions, distinct from that of " instrument chargeable with duty.” It is said, that putting the stamps upon blank parchment was no fraud on the revenue. I admit that it was not immediate, but it would be a fraud as soon as the indenture was filled up. It is also objected, that the prisoner had no bad intent when he cut off the corner of the skin of parchment on which it originally was; but it appears, that he afterwards got off the blue paper stamp from the small piece of parchment on which it was glued, which was no part of his duty, as he ought to have burnt the whole together; and this I submit clearly shews what his intention was,
Gurney.-Whether the prisoner, when he cut off the corner of the skin of parchment at the Stamp Office, had any bad intent, is immaterial, because he must have had it when he separated the blue paper from the bit of parchment to which it was glued. With respect to the last objection, it is not necessary that the stamp should be actually transferred to any instrument: it must be cut or taken off with intent to use, and we produce the parchment to which it was transferred, to shew the intent. With respect to the other objection, that the impression was not made from a die used under the stat. 55 Geo. 3, chap. 184, if the other side get rid of the first four counts, they bring themselves within the 5th and 6th counts.
R. Scarlett cited the case of Rex v. Holland Palmer (a), and contended, that the words “ vellum, parchment, or paper, or any instrument chargeable,” must be taken in the disjunctive.
Adolphus in reply. It is essential that the party shall feloniously cut off the stamp. Now, I submit, that here he did not fraudulently cut it off, as he did it in the discharge of his duty. The Attorney-General puts the case upon a very nice point, for he contends, that the separating the blue paper from the bit of parchment to which it is glued constitutes the offence. But I submit, that, if the party had not a guilty intent at the time of the original removing of the stamp, it is not a capital felony; and, with respect to the other point, I submit that there is no evidence that the die from which this stamp was struck was
(a) 2 East's P. C. 893, That was an indictment on the stat. 23 Geo. 3, c. 49, s. 20, which makes it a felony to expose to sale “any paper liable to a stamp duty, with any counterfeit impression thereon, knowing," &c. The prisoner sold
blank papers with forged receipt
used by the commissioners of stamps at the time when this impression was taken.
Mr. Justice BOSANQUET.-It does not appear to me that any of the points are sufficient to induce the Court to withdraw the case from the consideration of the Jury. The first objection is, that this act of Parliament applies only to cases where the party wrongfully cuts off the stamp from some instrument. However, that is got rid of by the observation of one of the learned counsel, that it is a question for the Jury, whether the prisoner cut off this stamp for any unlawful purpose; but there is another view of the case in which I am disposed to concur; which is this: admitting that the prisoner originally cut off the corner of the skin of parchment which bore the stamp, without any bad intent, still, if he separated the blue paper stamp from the small piece of parchment, having then a fraudulent intent, I think his offence would be within the act of Parliament. The offence in the act is the cutting a stamp from any parchment with intent to transfer it to any other parchment, &c. It has been contended, that the words “ charged or chargeable" apply to the words " vellum, parchment,” &c. It is true, that in this case there was no complete instrument written on the parchment to which these stamps were transferred. But still the question is, whether the same construction ought not to apply as in Palmer's case: and it also appears, that each of these skins have the words "This Indenture" written upon them. If the impression was fraudulently detached from one parchment, in order to be annexed to some other parchment intended to be used as an indenture, the offence is complete. The only other objection is, that it is not shewn that this was an impression of a stamp used under the stat. 55 Geo. 3, c. 184. Now, if these impressions were made before the 55th Geo. 3, they cannot be taken as impressions from a die under that act of Parliament. If they were
made after that period, I think that the earlier counts are sustained; but, if they were made before, the latter counts of the indictment apply.
Mr. Justice LITTLEDALE.—There are several questions to be left to the Jury, and there are important points which may be considered hereafter.
The prisoner was called on for his defence.
Mr. Justice BosanQUET (in summing up). In this case several questions arise. The first question is, whether these are the impressions of a die used under the authority of the commissioners of stamps; for, if so, they must have been used under the stat. 55 Geo. 3, c. 184, or some former act of Parliament. You must also find whether these impressions were made before the 55th Geo. 3; because, if they were, the Judges will consider the case upon the latter counts only. The next question is, whether the prisoner took off these impressions with a fraudulent intent, to annex them to some other piece of parchment; and whether he intended to annex them to some piece of parchment, which, when used, would be liable to the payment of duty ? You will also consider, whether he intended to misapply them at the time he cut them from the corners of the skins at the Stamp Office, where he was acting in discharge of his duty. If you think that he fraudulently removed the stamp from a parchment, with intent to place it on some other parchment, I think you ought to find him guilty. But I wish you also to give me your opinion—1st, whether these impressions were made before or since the year 1815; 2nd, whether, at the time he cut off the stamp in the discharge of his duty, he intended to apply it to some other piece of parchment; 3rd, whether, at the time he detached the blue paper from the small piece of parchment to which it was glued, he intended to apply it to any other parchment; and 4th, whether he intended to apply the stamp to