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Provided there be a publication of the libel; but not otherwise.—Ibid.
It has been decided that a justice of the peace has authority to grant a warrant to arrest a person charged with the publication of a libel, and upon the person neglecting to find sureties, may commit him to prison, there to continue till delivered by due course of law.—1 Brod. & Bing. 548.
The Court of King's Bench will not grant an information for a libel unless the prosecutor who applies for it makes an affidavit asserting directly and pointedly that he is innocent of the charge.—4 Bl. C. 151, n. by Chr.
But this rule may be dispensed with if the person libelled resides abroad, or if the charges are general and indefinite, or if it is a charge against the prosecutor for language he has held in parliament.—Ibid.
By 32 Geo. III. c. 60, entitled "An Act to remove doubts respecting the functions of Juries in cases of Libels," it is declared and provided, that on every trial of an indictment or information for a libel, upon the plea of not guilty, the jury may give a general verdict of guilty or not guilty upon the whole matter in issue, and shall not be required or directed by the judge to find the defendant guilty merely on the proof of the publication of the paper charged to be a libel, and of the sense ascribed to it on the record. But the statute provides that the judge may give his opinion to the jury respecting the matter in issue, and the jury may at their discretion (as in other cases) find a special verdict; and the defendant, if convicted, may move the court (as before the statute) in arrest of judgment.
The truth of the libellous matter is no defence, but it is in many instances considered as an extenuation.—4 Bl. C. 151, n. by Chr.
When the defendant, after conviction for libel, is brought up for judgment, he cannot in mitigation of punishment read affidavits alleging that the prosecutor was guilty of the crimes imputed.—9 Barn. & Cres. 65.
He may, however, in mitigation, read his own affidavit,
stating that at the time of publishing he believed the charges to be true, and setting forth reasonable grounds for that belief.— Ibid.
And affidavits may be read for him in mitigation, or against him in aggravation, grounded on the course of conduct he has pursued subsequently to conviction.3 T. R. 432.
By 60 Geo. III. and 1 Geo. IV. c. 9, s. 16, if a person charged with printing or publishing any blasphemous, seditious, or malicious libel, be brought up to give bail, the court, judge, or justice of the peace, inay make it part of the condition of the recognizance, that he shall be of good behaviour during the continuance of the recognizance.
OF OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC TRADE.
1. Smuggling This offence consists in importing or exporting goods without paying the duties imposed thereon by the laws of the customs and excise, or of which the importation or exportation is prohibited.—1 Russ. 117.
By 3 & 4 W. IV. c. 53, (intituled an act for the prevention of smuggling,) sect. 8, vessels liable to seizure or examination not bringing to on being required during chase, may be fired into, after first firing a gun as a signal.
By sects. 32 and 34, vessels and goods liable to forfeiture may be seized, and full-pay officers of the army, &c. or officers of customs, may search any vessels within the limits of the British port and persons on board or landing from the same; and every person obstructing them shall forfeit £100.
By sect. 38, officers of customs, with writs of assistance and with a constable, &c. may in the day-time enter any house, &c. and, in case of resistance, break open doors, &c. to search for and seize uncustomed and prohibited goods, and secure the same, &c.
By sect. 53, persons after sunset and before sunrise, between 21st September and 1st April, or after eight in the evening or before six in the morning, at any other time of the year, making signals to any smuggling vessels, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to a fine of £100, or imprisonment, not exceeding one year, and hard labour in the common gaol or house of correction.
By sect. 54, the onus of proving that the signal was not made with such intent, is laid upon the defendant.
By sect. 56, any person who shall obstruct any full-pay officer of the army, navy or marines, employed for prevention of smuggling, or any officer of customs or excise in the execution of his duty, or his assistant, or shall rescue or attempt to rescue any goods seized, or shall destroy any goods to prevent seizure thereof, shall forfeit £100.
By sect. 58, if any persons to the number of three or more, armed with fire-arms or other offensive weapons, shall within the United Kingdom or any British port be assembled in order to be aiding, or shall aid in the illegal landing, running, or carrying away of prohibited or uncustomed goods, &c. or in rescuing or taking away any such goods after seizure, or in rescuing any person apprehended for any offence made felony by any law of the customs, or in preventing the apprehension of any person guilty of such offence, every person so offending, and every person aiding therein, shall, being convicted thereof, be adjudged guilty of felony, and suffer death as a felon.
By sect. 59, persons maliciously shooting at any vessel or boat belonging to the navy or in the service of the revenue, within 100 leagues of any part of the coast of the United Kingdom, or maliciously shooting at, maiming or dangerously wounding any full-pay officer of the army, navy or marines, duly employed for prevention of smuggling, or any officer of customs or excise in the execution of his duty, or persons aiding them, shall be adjudged guilty of felony, and suffer death as a felon.
By sect. 60, any person being in company with more than four others, with any goods liable to forfeiture by law of the customs or excise, or in company with one other person, within five miles of the sea-coast, or any navigable river leading therefrom, with such goods, &c. carrying offensive weapons or disguised, shall be guilty of felony, and transported for seven years.
By sect. 61, persons assaulting or obstructing such officers as aforesaid in the performance of their, duty, or their assistants, by force or violence, are punishable with transportation for seven years, or imprisonment, with hard labour, for any term not exceeding three years, in any gaol or house of correction.
The act also contains some provisions as to evidence in prosecutions for such offences.
By sect. 90, no writs of certiorari to remove proceedings, under any act relating to the customs, from before the justices of peace, nor writs of habeas corpus in such cases, shall be granted, unless the ground of objection to the same be stated upon affidavit in writing; and the justices are empowered and required to amend informations, convictions, and warrants of commitment under any such act.
By 9 Geo. IV. c. 31, s. 25, if any person be convicted, as of a misdemeanor, of any assault upon any peace officer or revenue officer, in the due execution of his duty, or upon any person acting in aid of such officer, the court may sentence such offender to be imprisoned, with or without hard labour, in the common gaol or house of correction, for any term not exceeding two years, and may also (if it shall so think fit) fine the offender and require him to find sureties for keeping the peace.
2. Fraudulent Bankruptcy.
This offence consists in certain species of fraud provided against in the statute law with respect to bankruptcy.
By 6 Geo. IV. c. 16, s. 99, the bankrupt or other person swearing falsely before the commissioners, shall be guilty of perjury.
By sect. 112, any bankrupt who shall not surrender and submit himself to be examined, or upon examination shall not discover all his estate, or not deliver up his estate, books and writings, or shall conceal or embezzle any part