R v King

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt for Crown Cases Reserved

Criminal Law - False Pretences - Evidence - Letter written by Defendant - Opinion of Witness as to Meaning.

Upon the trial of an indictment for obtaining goods by false pretences, a letter written by the defendant to the prosecutor respecting the goods was put into the hands of the prosecutor, who was asked what opinion he formed as to the position or occupation of the defendant upon the receipt of the letter:—

Held, that, although the question of the proper inference to be drawn from the letter was for the jury, the question was admissible to shew the inference in fact drawn from it by the prosecutor.

A defendant who has been convicted upon an indictment charging him with obtaining credit for goods by false pretences cannot be afterwards convicted upon a further indictment charging him with larceny of the same goods.

CASE stated by the chairman of quarter sessions for the county of Huntingdon.

The defendant was tried upon an indictment containing forty counts, charging him with obtaining goods by false pretences, with attempting to obtain goods by false pretences, and with obtaining credit by false pretences. The substance of the charge in the first count was that the defendant unlawfully, knowingly, and designedly did falsely pretend to Robert William Shackleton and others, trading as the Dairy Supply Company, Limited, that he was then carrying on business as a farmer or dairyman, and that he then required two Bessemer steel milk churns for use in the said business, by means of which false pretences he obtained from them two Bessemer steel milk churns with intent to defraud, whereas he was not then carrying on business as a farmer or dairyman, and did not require the churns for use in the said business or in any business, &c. It is unnecessary for the purpose of this report to refer to any of the other counts.

In support of the charge upon the first and other counts, Robert William Shackleton was called as a witness, and was asked by the counsel for the prosecution “what opinion he formed as to the position and occupation of the defendant on the receipt by him of a certain letter.” The following is a copy of the letter, which was received by the witness in reply to a communication from him to the defendant: “Earith, Hunts, Sept. 5, ‘95. The two 6-gallon milk churns on order do not require name on them, as they are only required for home use. Yours truly, John King.” Counsel for the defendant objected to the question on the ground that the meaning and construction of the letter was a question for the jury, and quoted as his authority the dictum in Reg. v. CooperF1; the objection was overruled. The reply of the witness was, “I thought the defendant was either a farmer or dairyman.” The jury found the defendant guilty of obtaining goods by false pretences, of attempting to obtain goods by false pretences, and of obtaining credit by false pretences or fraud; and he was sentenced to three years’ penal servitude on the first, and also on the second charge, the sentences to run concurrently, and to twelve months' hard labour, also to run...

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18 cases
  • R v Barron
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal
    • Invalid date
  • R v Ludlow
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 11 February 1970
    ...requiring them to select one of the charges and proceed only on that. Young v. R. (1789) 3 T.R. 98 per Buller J. at pages 105-6; R. v. Kingston and others (1806) 8 East 41; R. v. Jones (1809) 2 Camp. 131, 132 per Lord Ellenborough; Reg. v. Hinley and another (1843) 2 M. and Rob. 525; Castro......
  • Connelly v DPP
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 21 April 1964
    ...would be wrong to disregard or overrule them even if I desired to do so. 4The difficulty in this case arises from the practice, based on R. v. Jones [1918] 1 K.B. 416, that a second charge is never combined in one indictment with a charge of murder. I would think that the Indictments Act, ......
  • Rogers v R
    • Australia
    • High Court
    • Invalid date
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