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"legal warrant, and under colour of law, by instituting OPPRESSION.

(c

or threatening prosecutions for alleged offences, to "the oppression of the lieges and in defraud of public

"justice" (1).

The punishment is penal servitude or imprison- PUNISHMENT,

ment.

BREACH OF CONTRACT OF SERVICE TO THE
DANGER OF THE LIEGES.

OFFENCE.

ping water or

Any person employed by those who have charge STATUTORY of supplying a place with gas or water, wilfully and maliciously breaks his contract of service, knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that his doing so, Desertion, stopeither alone or in combination with others, will deprive gas supply. the inhabitants wholly or to a great extent of supply of gas or water, commits an offence (2). any person who wilfully and maliciously breaks a tract of service, knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that the probable consequences of his doing so, either alone or in combination with others, will be to endanger human life, or cause serious bodily injury, or to expose valuable property, whether real or personal, to destruction or serious injury, commits an offence (3).

The punishment is a fine not exceeding £20, or PUNISHMENT. imprisonment not exceeding three months, with or without hard labour.

1 Geo. Jeffrey, H.C., Jan. 22d 1840; 2 Swin. 479 and Bell's Notes 92. See also Geo. Kippen, H.C.,

their

Also Desertion caus

ing danger to

con- persons or valu

able property.

THREATS.

Threats to murder, or do serious injury to person or THREATS. property, or to accuse of crimes or immoral offences, are criminal. Usually there is an additional element of in- Generally tention, namely, a purpose to extort money, or to

accompanied by intent.

Nov. 6th 1849; J. Shaw 276.

2 Act 38 and 39 Vict., c. 86, § 4.
3 Act 38 and 39 Vict., c. 86, § 5.

THREATS.

compel the person to do, or abstain from doing, something. If the threat be of a very serious character, it matters not whether it be verbal or written, Verbal threats to burn a man's house, or to put him to death, or to accuse him of a crime, if so done, and for such a purpose as reasonably to alarm, are punishable (1). But the most common case of this sort is that of sending threatening letters, whether signed or unsigned (2). The crime is complete when the letter Despatch of letter is despatched, although it do not reach the addressee (3),

enough.

No defence that demand just.

It is no defence that the demand made was for something justly due, no one being entitled to concuss Or that accusa- another (4). Further, where the threat is to accuse

tion of crime

true.

of crime, it is not a defence to maintain that the person was truly guilty, the question whether the accusation was true or false not being pertinent, as the crime consists in attempting to enforce a demand by illegal means. Therefore the prosecutor need not disprove accusations made by the offender (5) nor is it compeQuestion where tent for him to prove their truth (6). Whether it would be criminal to write to a person who is living in an incorrect manner, threatening him with exposure, for the purpose of extortion, or whether in such a case

threat to expose immorality.

1 Hume i. 135 and cases of
Somerville: Grant: Buchanan : and
Hepburn there.-Alison i. 443, 444.
-More ii. 404.-Jas. Miller, H.C.,
Nov. 24th 1862: 4 Irv. 238 (Lord
Justice Clerk Inglis' opinion).

2 Hume i. 439 and case of Fraser there.-i. 441 cases of Gray: Gilchrist Edwards: and Gemmell there. Alison i. 576.-More ii. 403. John Ledingham, Aberdeen, April 14th 1842; 1 Broun 254 (Indictment).-Chas. Ross, H.C., July 27th 1844; 2 Broun 271 (Indictment.-Geo. Smith, H.C., Jan. 26th 1846; Ark. 4.

3 Thos. Hunter and others, H.C., Jan. 3d to 11th 1838; Bell's Notes

111 and Swinton's Special Report. -See also Hume i. 441, case of Jaffray in Note 2, where it was held sufficient that the accused had dropped the letter near the house of the person to whom it was addressed, and although the threats contained in it were not directed against the person to whom it was addressed.

4 Alex. F. Crawford, H.C., Jan. 6th and Feb. 11th 1850; J. Shaw 309.

5 Alex. F. Crawford, supra. 6 M'Ewan V. Duncan and M'Lean, H.C., July 12th 1854; 1 Irv. 520 and 26 S. J. 572. (In the Jurist the case is named M'Ewan v. Barty.)

proof of veritas might be competent, has not been THREATS.
decided (1). In principle there seems no distinction
between such an offence, and those above mentioned.
The difference between an accusation of crime, and an
accusation of immorality, seems unimportant, as it is
the extortion which the law seeks to suppress. Society
has no interest to screen criminals or immoral persons,
but it has a duty to prevent knaves from practising
upon the fears of others, for gain to themselves.

Threats may be aggravated by various circumstances, AGGRAVATIONS. such being for the purpose of preventing the giving of evidence, or in revenge for evidence or information. given to the authorities (2), or to intimidate electors (3), or masters, or workmen (4). Threatening judges or magistrates in reference to their official conduct is also a high crime (5).

The punishment is penal servitude or imprison- PUNISHMENT.

ment.

INTIMIDATION OR ANNOYANCE TO
PREVENT LAWFUL ACTS.

ANNOYANCE.

"Every person who, with a view to compel any INTIMIDATION OR "other person to abstain from doing or to do any act "which such other person has a legal right to do or "abstain from doing, wrongfully and without legal "authority,

"1. Uses violence to or intimidates such other per- Intimication "son or his wife or children, or injures his

"property; or,

1 Alex. F. Crawford, H.C., Jan. 6th and Feb. 11th 1850; J. Shaw 309 (Lord Justice Clerk Hope's opinion).

2 Chas. Ross, H.C., July 27th 1844; 2 Broun 271.

3 The Act 17 and 18 Vict. c. 102, § 5, makes special provisions on this subject, but the common law is amply sufficient to meet such cases,

M

and is more convenient.

.

4 The Acts 6 Geo. IV., c. 129, 22 Vict. c. 34, and 38 and 39 Vict., c. 86, refer to offences of this sort chiefly.

5 Act 1540, c. 104.-Peter Porteous, Mar. 12th 1832; Bell's Notes 106 and 4 S. J. 384 and 5 Deas and Anderson 53.-Alex. Carr, Aberdeen, April 27th 1854; 1 Irv. 464.

INTIMIDATION OR
ANNOYANCE

Following.
Hiding tools, &c.

“ 2. Persistently follows such other person about

“ from place to place ; or, “3. Hides any tools, clothes, or other property

“owned or used by such other person, or deprives him of or hinders him in the use ;

"or,

Watching house.

Disorderly following:

“4. Watches or besets the house or other place

“ where such other person resides, or works,

or carries on business, or happens to be, or

“ the approach to such house or place; or, 5. Follows such other person with two or more

“other persons in a disorderly manner in or

tlırough any street or road, “ is liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding “ three months, with or without hard labour.” But it is provided that “Attending at or near the

" "house or place where a person resides, or works, or “ carries on business, or happens to be, or the approach " to such house or place, in order merely to obtain or “communicate information, shall not be deemed a

watching or besetting.” (1).

Exception.

FALSE ACCUSATION. False accusation is criminal if there be such malice as plainly indicates an intention to injure. Indiscreet talking, though injurious, cannot be made the ground of a criminal charge. It is criminal to defame or insult judges in reference to their office, as by charging them, either verbally or in writing, with corruption, or oppression, or breach of duty (2). But in the case of private persons a very serious slander is requisite, unless the slander be so committed, and with such

FALSE ACCUSA-
TION
Malicious intent
requisite

Slandering
Judges.

1 Act 38 and 39 Vict., c. 86, § 7. 1854 ; 1 Irv. 464, Alex. Robertson,

2 Hume i. 341..-Alison i. 575, H.C., March 14th 1870; 1 Couper 404 and case of M‘Millan there.- Peter and 42 S. J. 356 and 7 S. L. R. 434 Porteous, H.C., Mar. 12th 1832 ; - See also Act c. 104, which, Bell's Notes 106 and 4 S. J. 384 in the case of Porteous, was held and 5 Deas and Anderson 53. — not to be in desuetude. Alex. Carr, Aberdeen, April 27th

TION.

accompaniments as to constitute a breach of the False accusapeace (1). But it is undoubtedly criminal to raise and

Charge of crime circulate against another a charge of having committed a against another. crime, the accused knowing the falsehood of the charge, and acting from motives of malice(2). Where the charge is made for purposes of extortion, it falls under the head of “threats.” The most malignant form of this offence is Making false the making a false criminal charge to the authorities, authorities. where the act not only affects feelings and reputation, but tends to deprive the sufferer of his liberty and to pervert public justice. Two such cases have occurred in recent practice. In one the charge was "wickedly

and feloniously making a false accusation of a “criminal offence to any officer of police, or other “i officer of the law, against any of the lieges, knowing “ it to be false,” the purpose to extort being stated as an aggravation (3). In the other the charge was,

The wilfully, wickedly, and feloniously accusing an “ innocent person to the public prosecutor or other “ officer of the law, as being guilty of a heinous crime, “ for the purpose of perverting public justice, and “ injuring the person accused in feelings and reputa“tion or liberty, the accuser well knowing the false“ hood of the accusation." And it was charged as aggravating the crime, first, that the person was in consequence committed to prison and charged with the offence by the public prosecutor ; and second, that the person was the wife of the accuser (4). In both of these cases objections to relevancy were unsuccessfully taken.

The punishment is penal servitude or imprison- Pos1911mENT. ment.

1 Hume i. 343, 344, and cases of prosecution.-i. 342, and case of Gordon and M'Caul there.

Kennedy there. 2 Hume i, 341, and cases of Gor- 3 Margaret Gallocher or Boyle don: Brown : Johnstone: and Bris- and others, Glasgow, Oct. 6th 1859; bane there, which where the charge was for malicious 4 Elliot Millar, Jedburgh, Sept.

17th 1847 ; Ark. 355.

were

cases

3 Irv. 440.

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