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THE PROSECUTION OF THE REV.…

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ACTIONS FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT.

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ACTIONS FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT. At the Croydon Assizes last week, the causes of Walker v. The ^outh-Ba: tern Railway Company, Smith v. The Same," which were actions for aisault and false imprisonment and malici us prosecution, brought bv two persons, but arising out of the same matter, aod therefore, by consent were tried together. The c ses had already been tried and sent for new triil Mr. M. Chambers and Mr. Baker Green were for the plaintiffs: Mr. Serjeant Ballantine, Mr. Boyce, and Mr. E. Clark were for the company On the 30th of June. 1867. the plaintiff Walker went to Gravesend and back to London. He went as first- class passenger, and at Gravesend, when he was coming back, third-class passengers were put into the car- riage with him, upon which he remonstrated. When he reached the London-bridge station he took part in some dispute between the company's ser- vants and another passenger, upon which the in- spector turned upon him and accused him of having caused a disturbance at Gravesend, alld one of the company's men forcibly pushed him beyond the barrier, and soon afterwards thrust him out and kicked him. Another altercation arose with the other plaintiff, Smith, who also was treated with great violence, quite unprovoked, and in the result both of them were charged with assaulting the railway offi- cers, and committed for trial and tried, but acquitted. They then bi ought these actions, one of which— Walker's—had been tried (before Baron Martin), and a verdict found for him for 2170, but it had been set aside on the ground that, aa the learned Baron held that the company were only liable for the first assault, and not for the subsequent acts, the damages were ex- cessive. It appeared, however, that there was an admission by the company that all the acts com- plained of were done on their premises, and also thai; the company's solicitor conducted the prosecutions which had been instituted against the plaintiffs. Mr Chambers opened the case for the plaintiffs in a very powerful and impressive speech, putting it as a case of great and grievous outrage on the part of the company's servants -upheld and defended by them, and calling for exemplary reparation. The case was, in substance, admitted on the part of the company so far as the outrages of their servants went. It was admitted that one of their seryants-a constable- had behwed (as Serjeant Billantine txpresssed it) "like a brute;" but the company contended that they were only liable for the llrst assault, and that for the rest they were not liable, as it was a gross excess and* Mr. Serjeant Ballan- tine submitted that a corporate company could not be hable for malicious prosecution, nor for any act of violence clearly in excels of duty—points which were reserved. S uith's case ha" not yet been tried, and was now for the first time brought forwar-1, and he wai examined as a witness and ac- cording to; he evidence o. fcoth plaintiffs one of the com- pany's servants—a con«ti-ble—had behaved certainly, as'he •orjeant admitted, in the most brutal ma: ner, and the other hart supported him in his misconduct, and had behaved with great !Lnd unprev"ked vi lence In the course of the scuffle they also had received biows, and they gave the plaintiffs iut. custody for assaulting them, !tl:d the plain iffs after heing locked up were brought before the magistrate, and after he had remanded them again and again for further consideration, he committed them for trial. It was admitted by the company that the prosecution was instituted I,y their db-cetion. At the trial at the surrey Sessions the jury stopped the case, and, as already stated, acquitted them. The costs incurred by Walker were, he stated. £88, and his other expenses raised the amount to ZIZO Smith put his costs at Z16 and his actual Ions at je5. In the course of the cae, however, the depositions of the company's servants, taken before the magistrates, were put in, which, of course, gave a very different version of the transaction, and threw the blame upon the plaintiffs, and upon this evidence the learned serjeant. the counsel for the company, contended that there was reasonable and proper cause for the prosecution. Evidence was offered that by the rules of the company their officers were authorised to take into custody persons committing assaults or taking part in affrays on their premises; but they were also directed to exercise this authority with care and caution, and not in cases where the addresses of persons were known. Upon this the Lord Chief Baron asked whether it was the case for the plaintiffs that these rules had been observed or violated, to which the plaintiffs' counsel an- swered that they had been in a certain sense followed,— that is, that it was in the course ot a proper exercise of authority that the alleged outrages had been committed. Mr. Baker Greene replied on the part of the plaintiffs (in the absence of Mr. Chambers), and Mr. Serjeant Ballautine, addressing the jury for the company, said the case for the cempany, in a word, was that the acts alleged had been com- mitted not within the scope of the rules, but wholly in excess of them, and wholly without the authority of the company. In the course of his address Mr. Sergeant Ballantine, however -sul,mi; tiijg the defence thus indicated ou behalf ef the COPHIY, disavowing the acts of outrage alleged, and dis- claiming all responsibility for them- The Lord Chief Baron said he con-idered the case divided itself into three states or portions: The first, the original assault, in pushing the II mtiffs out and kicking them the second, the giving hem Into custody on a charge of assault, the third, the prosecution instituted against them at the sessions..Now, his opinion was that the company were liable for these various acts, nor did he see any distinction | between the previous aut* of their officers and the subsequent I prosecution, because they appeared to have adopted it. The company had distinctly admitted that the subsequent prose- cution was at their instance and direction. This being so, it further appeared that the company had sanctioned the pro- secution without, so far as it appeared, any inquiry into the facts. The depositions put in had been taken before the magistrates after they had adopted the prosecution, and previous to their taking that step it did not appear that they had instituted any inquiry at all. It appeared to him, there- fore, that the company were liable for the whole. Mr. Serjeant Ballantine said this was contrary to the view taken by Mr Baron Martin, who tried the case before. The Lord Chief Baron said he was aware of it, and for that -eason he would reserve leave to move against his direction. But such wai his opinion. .lr. Serjeant Ball iiitine upon this cut short his address and intimated that he should take that course. Upon this The Lord Chief Baron proceeded to sum the case up to the jury, directing them in accordance with what he had already laid down. It was, he said, the duty of a rdlway company to provide themselves, not only with proper efficers and servants, but, as they are intrusted with power to appoint police-constables for the prosecution of order throughout their premises, they are bound to take care that these officers conducted themselves with propriety, and did not commit wanton outrages upon people within the company's premises. For what had been done in this case it was admitted that there was no justification whatever, and the question resolved itself, therefore, into one of damages. There was no evidence of any reasonable cause for the prosecution which had been instituted by the company, nor of any cause or excuse at all, and the jury, therefore, were called upon to give the plaintiffs reasonable damages for the grievances they had suffered. As to this. they would be answertd that after t .e outrages they had suffered on the company's premises, they were dragged through the streets and thrown into prison, and brought up before the magis- trates again and again, and ultimately committed for trial, and brought np for trial, and subjected to trial upon criminal cha-ges This wvs a matter entirely for the consideration of ,he itir-y, but he would a-k them, with a view to the pointa of law which arose, to sever the damages. The jury, after some consideration, returned a ver- dict for the plaintiffs As to Walker—for the assaults, £ 50 for the falpe imprisonment. £.1)0; for the prose- cut ion, 50; and for the expenses, £130. As to Smith- for the assaults, 260 for the false imprisonment, £60 for the prosecution, £50; and for the expenses, £16. Total, in Walker's case, £280; and in Smith's case, £186. The Lord Chief Baron stayed execution in order to allow time to move on the points of law.

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