The King v Benjamin Lambe

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date01 January 1815
Date01 January 1815
CourtCourt of the King's Bench

English Reports Citation: 168 E.R. 379


The King
Benjamin Lambe

case CGXLIX. the king t bekjamin lambe. (A voluntary confession of felony made- by a prisoner on his examination before a magistrate, and reduced by the magistrate into writing, may be given in evidence on the trial, though the magistrate has neglected and the prisoner has refused to sign it.) At the Summer Assize for the county of Surry, holden at Croydon 18th August 1791, Benjamin Lambe was indicted, for that he on the 10th July 1791, the dwelling-house of Charles Hockstetter burglariously did break and enter, and five silver teaspoons, &e. the goods and chattels of the said Charles Hockstetter, feloniously and bmrglanously did steal, take, and carry away It was clearly proved, that the property in the indictment, which was to a large amount, was taken by the prisoner out of the prosecutor's house It was also pioved, that on the 13th July the prisoner was apprehended, and taken before Sir Sampson Wright, at the Public Ofice in Bow-Street to be examined ; that Lavender, the clerk, took his examination in writing, pursuant to the statute of Philip fe Mary ; that he afterwards read it carefully over to him ; that the prisoner replied, " It is all true enough " ; but that upon the clerk's requesting him to sign it, he said, " No ; I would rather decbne that " , and that in fact this examination, which contained a full and voluntary confession of the larceny, was not signed either by the prisoner or by the magistrate. The Counsel for the prisoner objected, that as the statute 2 & 3 Philip and Mary, c. 10, requires, " That every Justice [553] before whom any person shall be brought for felony, or for suspicion thereof, before he shall commit or send such prisoner to ward, shall take the examination of such prisoner, and information of those that bring him, of the fact and circumstances thereof , and the same shall put m writing within,two days after the said examination, and the same shall certify in such manner and form as if smch prisoner had been bailed " ; and as the statute 1 & 2 Philip and Mary, c. 31, enacts, " That the two Justices who shall bail any person arrested for manslaughter or felony, shall certify the bailment in writing, subscribed or signed with their own hands ; and that they shall take the examination of the prisoner in writing, and certify the same, together with the bailment, at the next general gaol delivery " , it was necessary that the examination should be authenticated by the signatures both oi the prisoner and examining magistrate, and that as these ceremonies were omitted in the present case, the confession thus irregularly returned could not be read in evidence against the prisoner ; and he cited Gilbert's Law of Evidence, 137, where it is id, that " the examination and confession, subscribed by an offender before a Justice of Peace, is good evidence against him."(a) Mr. Justice Wilson, who tried the prisoner, admitted the examination to be read , and the Jury found the prisoner Guilty^ on the statute 12 Ann c 7, of stealing in the dwelling-house to the amount of forty shillings The judgment however was respited, and the case saved for the opinion of the Twelve Judges, whether this examination was admissible evidence ? [554} Mr. Justice Grose, at the ensuing Summer Assizes for the county of Sorry, ieiiYered the opinion of the Judges to the following effect :-The question referred to the pinion of the Twelve Judges was, whether the examination containing a (a) At the Spring Assizes at Worctaber in the year 1793, one Bennet was tried before Mr. Justice Wilson on an indictment for felony : the prisoner had made a free and voluntary confession of his guilt while under examination before the committing magistrate, who took the examination in writing, which he read over to the prisoner and desired him to sign it, but which he refused to do, although he at the same time acknowledged that he was guilty of the offence. The Counsel for the prosecution offered to give this acknowledgment of guilt in evidence ; but the learned Judge refused to receive it, saying that it was competent to a prisoner under...

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10 cases
  • R. v. Oickle (R.F.), 2000 SCC 38
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • 29 September 2000
    ...No. 3488, refd to. [para. 140]. Bigaouette v. R. (1926), 46 C.C.C. 311 (Que. K.B.), refd to. [para. 141]. R. v. Lambe (1791), 2 Leach 552; 168 E.R. 379, refd to. [para. R. v. M.C.H., [1998] 2 S.C.R. 449; 230 N.R. 1; 113 O.A.C. 97, refd to. [para. 141]. R. v. Warickshall (1783), 1 Leach 263;......
  • R. v. Oickle (R.F.), 2000 SCC 38
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • 29 September 2000
    ...No. 3488, refd to. [para. 140]. Bigaouette v. R. (1926), 46 C.C.C. 311 (Que. K.B.), refd to. [para. 141]. R. v. Lambe (1791), 2 Leach 552; 168 E.R. 379, refd to. [para. R. v. M.C.H., [1998] 2 S.C.R. 449; 230 N.R. 1; 113 O.A.C. 97, refd to. [para. 141]. R. v. Warickshall (1783), 1 Leach 263;......
  • Walsh v Sligo County Council
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 20 December 2010
    ...v. Bates [1938] 2 All E.R. 237; (1938) L.G.R. 227. The King (Hewson) v. Wicklow County Council [1908] 2 I.R. 101. The King v. Lambe (1791) 2 Leach 552; 168 E.R. 379. M'Kenna v. Earl of Howth (1893) 27 I.L.T.R. 48. McNamara v. Electricity Supply Board [1975] I.R. 1. M'Queen v. Great Western ......
  • Edward Walsh and Another v County Council for County of Sligo
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 11 November 2013
    ...Public Prosecutions v Jones [1999] 2 AC 240; In re Ward of Court [1996] 2 IR 79; Bord na gCon v Murphy [1970] IR 301; The King v Lambe (1791) 2 Leach 552; Morrissey v Boyle [1942] IR 514; Woolway v Rowe (1834) 1 Ad & El 114; M'Kenna v Earl of Howth (1893) 27 ILTR 48; Evans v Merthyr Tydfil......
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1 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 December 2005
    ...1972) at para 56. 27 [1991] 2 AC 212. 28 [1783] 1 Leach 263; 168 ER 234 (“Warickshall”) at 235. 29 The King v Lambe (1791) 2 Leach 554; 168 ER 379. Confessions were described in Mortimer v Mortimer[1920] 2 Hag Con 310 at 315 as ranking “highest in the scale of evidence”. 30 Supra n 14. 31 W......

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