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letter-bag, or from a post office or officer of the post, or a mail: or shall stop a mail with intent to rob or search the same; shall be guilty of felony; and he may be sentenced to the same punishments as last before specified (e). And every person who shall steal or unlawfully take away a post letter-bag sent by a Post office packet, or a letter out of any such bag: or shall unlawfully open any such bag ;-shall be guilty of felony: and he may be sentenced to the same punishments, except that, if by way of penal servitude, the term must not exceed fourteen years (f). And every person who shall fraudulently retain, or wilfully secrete, or keep, or detain, or, being required by an officer of the Post office, neglect or refuse to deliver up a post letter, which ought to have been delivered to any other person; or who shall neglect or refuse to deliver up a post letter-bag, or post letter which shall have been sent and lost ;-shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be punishable with fine and imprisonment (9).
Having now considered the several kinds of larcenies, whether simple or with aggravation, we must refer, under the same head, to that offence so closely connected with larceny itself, of receiving stolen property knowing the same to have been stolen (h). This offence was, at common law, a misdemeanor only ; but was afterwards made
(e) 7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict. c. 36, ss. 27, 28, 41, 42; 9 & 10 Vict. c. 24, s. 1; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 99; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3. As to this offence, see R. v. Harley, 1 Car. & Kir. 89.
(f) 7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict. c. 36, ss. 29, 41, 42; 9 & 10 Vict. c. 24, s. 1; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 99; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3. See R. v. Jones, 2 Car. & K. 236.
(9) 7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict. c. 36, s. 31. By 11 & 12 Vict. c. 88, s. 4, every officer of the Post office who shall grant or issue any money order with a fraudulent intent, shall be
guilty of felony: and he is liable, at the discretion of the court, to penal servitude for not more than seven nor less than five years, or imprisonment for any term not exceeding three years. (11 & 12 Vict. c. 88, s. 4; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 99; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3; 27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.)
(h) As to the indictment for this offence, see 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 92, making it lawful, in an indictment for stealing, to add a count for receiving the same property, knowing it to have been stolen.
felony by several statutes not in force at the present day (i). It is, however, now provided by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 91, that whosoever shall receive any chattel, money, or valuable security, or other property whatever (knowing the same to have been feloniously stolen, taken, extorted, obtained, embezzled, or disposed of), the stealing, taking, extorting, obtaining, embezzling or otherwise disposing whereof shall amount to felony, either by common law or by virtue of that Act, shall be guilty of felony (k); and may be indicted and convicted either as an accessory after the fact, or for a substantive felony, and whether the principal felon shall or shall not have been previously convicted, or shall or shall not be amenable to justice; and, however convicted, such receiver is liable at the discretion of the court to penal servitude for a term not exceeding fourteen years nor less than five years, or to imprisonment, (with or without hard labour and solitary confinement,) for a term not exceeding two years; and, if a male under the age of sixteen, he may also be whipped, if the court think fit, in addition to any imprisonment awarded (?). If, however, the thing received was such that its stealing, taking, obtaining, converting or disposal is made a misdemeanor by that Act, then its reception is also a misdemeanor and punishable with penal servitude to the extent of seven years, or by imprisonment, as in the case of the felonious offence (m). And where the stealing or taking of any property whatever is punishable by the same Act, by way of summary conviction, either
(i) In the time of Blackstone receivers of stolen property might be indicted as accessories after the fact and transported for fourteen years. lle remarks (vol. iv. p. 38), that in France such receivers were punished with death; and that, according to the Gothic constitution, there were three sorts of thieves, “unum qui consilium daret, alterum qui contrectaret, tertium qui receptaret
et occuleret; pari pæna singulus obnoxios.”—And he cites Stiern. de Jure Goth. 1. 3, c. 5.
(k) It is immaterial that the intention with which he receives them, is for concealment and not for profit. (R. v. Richardson, 6 Car. & P. 335; R. r. Davis, ibid. 177.)
(1) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 91. See 27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.
(m) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 95.
for every offence, or for the first and second offences only, or for the first offence only,—the guilty receiver may also be summarily convicted; and is liable for every first, second, or subsequent offence of receiving, to the same forfeiture and punishment to which a person guilty of a first, second, or subsequent offence of stealing or taking such property is by the Act made liable (n).
Moreover, with the intention of removing, so far as possible, the temptation to this species of crime, it has been provided by the Prevention of Crimes Act, 1871 (34 & 35 Vict. c. 112), ss. 10, 11, that every person who occupies or keeps any lodging, beer or public-house or place of public entertainment or resort, or any brothel, who knowingly lodges or harbours therein thieves or reputed thieves, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 101., and in default be imprisoned for four months, with or without hard labour (o).
II. [Malicious mischief is the next species of injury to private property, which the law considers as a public crime. This is such as is done, not animo furandi, or with an intent of gaining by another's loss; which is some, though a weak excuse; but either out of a spirit of wanton cruelty, or of black and diabolical revenge; in which it bears a near relation to the crime of arson: for as that affects the habitation, so this does the other property of individuals.] And therefore any damage arising from this mischievous disposition, though only a trespass at com
(n) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 98. tations, dealers in marine stores are As to guilty receivers in the case of placed under regulations by 17 & anchors, &c., see 1 & 2 Geo. 4, c. 76, 18 Vict. c. 104, s. 480, and in old s. 10; 9 & 10 Vict.c. 99, s. 29. In the metals by 34 & 35 Vict. c. 112, s. 13. case of post letters, &c., see 7 Will. 4 See also 27 & 28 Vict. c. 91, ss. 3, & 1 Vict. c. 36, ss. 30, 41, 42; 9 & 10
10, 11. Vict. c. 24, s. 1; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 99; (0) See Marshall v. Fox, Law 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3; 27 & 28 Vict. Rep., 6 Q. B. 370. As to searching c. 47. In order, as far as possible, for stolen property, see 34 & 35 Vict. to prevent this crime in reference c. 112, s. 16. As to the evidence to articles affording peculiar temp- to prove guilty knowledge, ib. s. 19.
mon law, is now, by a multitude of enactments (recently consolidated into a single statute) made highly penal.
The statute here referred to is in substitution of a prior Act with a similar object (the 7 & 8 Geo. IV. c. 30); and it is the 24 & 25 Vict. c. 97, passed in the year 1861," to consolidate and amend the statute law relating to malicious injuries to property” (P). And as to such injuries we may premise in general that though malice is the usual motive for this class of crimes, yet the statute contains an express enactment that its provisions shall equally apply and be enforced, whether the offence shall be committed from malice conceived against the owner of the property in respect of which it shall be committed or otherwise (9). Some of the provisions of this Act are noticed in other parts of the work, and they are too numerous for complete enumeration. It may be mentioned, however, that it makes provision against malicious injuries to silk, woollen, linen, cotton, hair, mohair, or alpaca goods in the process of manufacture, or to the machines employed therein (r); to machines used in other manufactures ($); to hopbinds (t); to dwelling-houses and other buildings (u); to trees and shrubs adjoining dwelling-houses (.x); or else
(p) The numerous statutes cited (t) Sect. 19, felony, fourteen by Blackstone in reference to ma- years. licious injuries to property, are all (1) Sects. 9, 10. If by explosion repealed by 7 & 8 Geo. 4, c. 27. of gunpowder or other explosive
(9) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 97, s. 58. substance in a dwelling-house, and
(r) Sect. 14; felony, extreme of the life of any person be endanpenal servitude, life. Where the gered, felony, life; if by placing prisoner is convicted on indictment such explosive substance in any for either a felony or a misdemeanor building, with intent to destroy it, under this Act, and the punishment felony, fourteen years. By sect. 13, inflicted is by way of imprisonment, any tenant of a building unlawit may be to the extent of two fully and maliciously pulling it or years, with or without liard labour any part of it down in severing fixand solitary confinement, and, if a tures, is guilty of a misdemeanor. male under sixteen, whipping.
(x) Sect. 20, (if injury done ex(s) Sect. 15, felony, seren ycars.
ceed 11.,) felony, fire years. (See (See The Queen v. Fisher, Law Rep., 27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.) 1 C. C. 7.)
where (y); to garden produce (z); to vegetable productions growing elsewhere (a); to fences (6); to mines (c), and mining engines (d); to sea banks and walls (e); to navigable rivers and canals (f); to ponds (9); to bridges and viaducts (h); to turnpike gates (i); to railway and railway carriages or engines (k); to electric or magnetic telegraphs (I); to works of art in public places (m); to cattle (n); to other animals (o); to ships and vessels (p); to buoys and sea marks (9); and to wrecks (r). And all of these injuries are made,-according to their several degrees of mischief or malignity,—either felonies or misdemeanors, or else offences such as may be disposed of, by way of summary conviction, before a justice of the peace (s). The Act also contains a general provision, that whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously commit any damage, injury, or spoil to or upon any real or personal property whatsoever, either of a public or private nature, for which
(y) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 97, s. 21, (if law. injury done exceed 51.,) felony, fire (k) Sect. 35, felony, life. And years. (See 27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.) see sect. 36, as to misdemeanor, by If, however, the injury to the tree, obstructing engines, &c., by any &c., whererer growing, do not unlawful act, or wilful omission or amount to 18., then a first offence is neglect. only punishable by way of summary (1) Sects. 37, 38, misdemeanor, conviction.-Sect. 22.
imprisonment. () Sect. 23, first offence, sum- (m) Sect. 39 (re-enacting 8 & 9 mary conviction ; second offence, Vict. c. 44, repealed by 24 & 25 felony, extreme of penal servitude, Vict. c. 95), misdemeanor, imprifire years. (27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.) sonment.
(a) Sect. 24, summary convic- (n) Sect. 40, felony, fourteen tion.
years. (6) Sect. 25, summary convic- (o) Sect. 41, summary conviction.
tion. (C) Sect. 28, felony, seren years. (P) Sects. 42–47, felony, life, (d) Sect. 29, felony, seven years. fourteen or seven years, according (c) Sect. 30, felony, life.
to the nature of the injury. (f) Sect. 31, felony, seven years.
(9) Sect. 48, felony, seven years. (9) Sect. 32, felony, seven years. (ro) Sect. 49, felony, fourteen (1) Sect. 33, felony, life.
years. (i) Sect. 31, misdemeanor, fine (8) Vide post, chapter on Sumand imprisonment as at common