Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Plus Ca Change

From the fascinating Old Bailey History

Joseph Ellis was indicted for wilful and corrupt Perjury, in a Cause between Thomas Skip and Ralph Harwood . on a feigned Issued directed out of Chancery into the Court of Common-Pleas, to try; two Points: first, Whether Ralph Harwood was a Bankrupt: secondly, Whether he was a Bankrupt, prior to some Judgments to his Sisters Mary and Elizabeth, which came on to be tried at Guildhall before the Lord Chief Justice Willes, on the 17th of December, in the Sixteenth Year of his present Majesty.

The Perjury assigned, was, that Ellis swore Mr Harwood was denied to Mrs Paterson (a Creditor who came to enquire for him, and said, he owed her a great deal of Money) when he was at Home.

There were several Council for the Prosecution, but none for the Prisoner. It was therefore incumbent on the Court (who are of Council for the Prisoner) to examine the Record, and there was a material Variance found between that and the Indictment; it
being set forth in the latter, that the Defendants appeared by Powell, their Attorney; whereas, in the Record, it was said, they appeared by Greenhil, their Attorney; whereupon the Jury were directed to acquit the Prisoner.

Well, well, getting off on a technicality at the Old Bailey in the 18th Century. What wimps those old-timers were!

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