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'\Vhere persons believe that a man who is under a prosecution on a criminal charge is innocent, the expression of that belief, even in public, by way of an appeal to others to unite in furnishing means for the defence, though not perhaps strictly regular, should not, ordinarily, be made a matter of complaint and punishment.*
But when at a meeting, held for the purpose of providing funds, the merits of the pending prosecution are canvassed and discussed, and the evidence which will be given at the coming trial made a matter of public observation and discussion in the neighbourhood from which the jury will be taken, a gross and aggravated contempt is committed,* and where a person, in another county, makes a speech in public abusing the Court, and expresses his intention to proceed in his contempt despite the Court, he commits a contempt which the Court cannot possibly-pass by.1'
If a statement where first made may be privileged as made by a person having a legitimate interest in the case to persons having a legitimate interest in the case, the privilege will not extend to subsequent publication in the newspapers by the person making the statement and others acting with him.1
the Court said that that was a matter which must form the subject of another application, and was not to be considered incidentally upon a motion against the publisher of the matter complained of; Peters v. Bradlrmg/t, 1888, 4 T.L.R. 414, 418, D.
* Rag. v. Castro (OnsIaw's and WImllc.y’s Case), 1873, L.R. 9 Q.B. 219.
1‘ lb. (Skipwortlfls Case), 1873, L.R. 9 Q.B. 230.
I lVait v. Maxim-Western Electric Ca.—Mnxim-Westrrn Electric Co. v. Watt 1888, 5 T.L.R. I70, North, J. (Speech by a director at company meeting subsequently published by directors in Financial Ncws and Electrician-copies of newspaper purchased by directors and distributed—the respondent (the director making the speech) ordered to pay the costs). See also as to this subsection Birch v. Walsh, 1846, 10 Ir. Eq. Rep. 93, where counsel in the cause having supplied to the Tippsrnry Vinriicator what was alleged to be a garbled report of the proceedings, the Court refused to commit, as it did not appear that there were any more witnesses to be called, or that, if there were, the publication could deter them, or in any way obstruct the free course ofjustice.
(b.) The publication of pleadings, or other papers, with or without comment. _
It is not a contempt for persons having a legitimate interest in a case, as a number of shareholders in awindingup, to distribute amongst other persons with a legitimate interest, as other shareholders, in a private manner, and without any defamatory view, or intention to obstruct the course ofjustice, but only to shew the reason for the course they were taking, a letter stating the facts of their case, as the charges in the petition, and giving extracts from the evidence?“
But the sending about by the petitioner, a shareholder, of circulars containing evidence given formerly, and to be offered again, under section I15 ofthe Companies Act, 1862, would constitute a gross contempt, as tending to defeat the object of the proceeding.'l'
It is a contempt to circulate through the post and distribute amongst strangers to the action copies of the statement of claim, containing allegations imputing bad faith to the defendant, and under circumstances calculated to prejudice the defendant in obtaining evidence in support of his defence,I or for the plaintiff in an action for dissolution of partnership to abstract from the Receiver’s office a rough draft of the Receiver’s interim report, and to print and circulate the draft as though it were the report.§
And to print and circulate amongst strangers to the action, though concerned in becoming acquainted therewith, an interlocutory order with a recital of the most material facts
* In re London Flour C0., 1868, 17 L.T. 636; 16 W.R. 474, Stuart, V.C.
1- Re Sir .'}'0lm Moan’ Gold Mining C0., 1877, 37 L.T. 242, per Bacon, V.C. ; cf. In re American Exchange in Europe, 1889, 58 L.J. Ch. 706; and see In re Western of Canada, e!c., Co., 1877, 6 Ch.D. 1o9.
I Bowdsn v. Russell, 1877, 46 L.J. Ch. 414; 36 L.T. I77; VV.N. 1877, p. 55, Malins, V.C.
§ Mitchell v. Candy, W.N. 1873, p. 232, Bacon, V.C.
in the cause, is a thing to be disapproved, though when innocently done, and without intention to prejudice the hearing, it is not, perhaps, a contempt?“
,(c.) Advertisements in connection with pending case.
In a bill brought touching the real and personal estate of S., deceased, who had issue a daughter by his first wife, married to the plaintiff, P., the question was, whether the defendant, who had been before S.’s maidservant, was married to him. The case set.up was that S. and the defendant had been married in the Fleet prison, he by the name of R. M., and she by the name of A. H., that the marriage took place in I705, and that a child had been born thereof. This marriage had been adjudged good in the Spiritual court,'and the sentence affirmed by the Delegates; but the daughter claiming title to a moiety of the real estate, a trial at bar had been directed in the Common Bench, and the marriage found as a fact. At this stage the plaintiff’s father advertised in a newspaper that whosoever should furnish proof that R. M. and A. H. were really those persons, and not S. and his maidservant, would receive a reward of £Ioo, and his expenses: Lord Parker, L.C., holding the advertisement very dangerous and a contempt of court tending to the suborning of witnesses, committed him, though believing in the innocence of his intentiond' This case was distinguished in Plating Co. v. Farqu/iarson,I on the ground that the advertisement there was for documentary evidence, while here it was for oral, and was further disapproved generally.* But where a co-respondent offered, through the local papers where he resided, a reward of one hundred guineas for such information as would lead to the discovery and conviction of the instigators of the charges against him, Sir james Hannen regarded this as a contempt in that it tended to deter witnesses from coming forward to give evidenced‘ And Butt, ]., though doubting very much whether a bomi fide attempt to procure evidence in a suit, even by an advertisement offering a reward, was a contempt, granted an attachment where he believed that to procure evidence was not the sole motive, and where the document published as the offer of the reward was calculated to prejudice the petitioner in the eyes of the public, and to discredit her in the assertion of her right in the Court.I
* Baker v. Hart, 1742, 2 Atk. 488, Lord Hardwicke, L.C. See cases cited in second part of next sub-section ; and further as to this sub-section, Williams v. Prince of Wales Assurance Co., 1857, 23 Beav. 338; Kitcat v. Sharp, 1883, 52 L.J. Ch. 134; 48 L.T. 64; 31 W R. 227; Helmore v. Smith, 1886, 35 Ch. D. 449.
1‘ Pool v. Sncltetlerel, I720, 1 P.W. 675. See Reg. v. Most, 1881, 7 Q.B.D. 244, 258, 259, per Huddleston, B.
I § i. (c.), supra.
It would seem, therefore, that an advertisement may legitimately be published offering a reward for documentary, and, perhaps, even for oral, evidence; but that the advertisement should be carefully confined to this purpose, and should not either by the manner of its publication, or through the matter of its contents, be of a character to prejudice, or interfere with, the case of another party.*
' Jessel, M.R., would not have come to the same conclusion on the same facts, and the distinction ought to be whether or no the person advertising, advertises for what he believes to be true, or for what he knows to be false. James, L.J., was unable to reconcile Paul v. Sachcwrel with the well established practice of the Government in offering rewards for evidence in criminal cases. But this practice was abandoned in 1884, it being found to lead to undesirable results, to the production of false evidence, and even to the concoction of conspiracies to accuse of' atrocious crimes. Answer of Secretary of State to questions in the House of Commons, Hansard, 3rd series, Vol. 330, p. 902. And, any way, the practice of the Home Office cannot affect the law. It is submitted that the facts of the case—the marriage in the Fleet, and the time—should not be overlooked. It is not so long ago that five shillings was the price of an affidavit outside the Guildhall.
1- Brudribb v. Brodribb, 1886, II P.D. 66 (attachment ordered, but delayed
for apology). Butler v. Butler, 1888, 13 ib. 73 (attachment ordered, but delayed f0
removal of obnoxious placards).
\/Ve have seen that high authority has expressed disapproval of the publication by a party of an interlocutory order,t and a plaintiff inserting an advertisement in The Times, incorrectly stating the effect of an interim injunction, was ordered to insert another advertisement correcting his error.I But the printing and circulating by the plaintiff, in places of mercantile resort, of handbills reciting an ex parte order restraining H. from parting with the bills of lading of certain goods which had come to H.’s hands by way of consignment, and cautioning persons against dealing with H. without inquiry as to ownership, has been held by Lord Brougham, L.C., no contempt at all,§ nor is it a contempt in a party to publish an advertisement in a technical Review correcting a daily newspaper report of an interlocutory application. ||
It would seem, therefore, that, although the practice is not to be commended, a party, or his solicitor, or any other interested person, will not incur the penalties of contempt by advertising an interlocutory order and correctly making its effect and purport known to some of those having a particular and legitimate interest in being made aware of it, but that the thing should be done with singleness of purpose and with some sufficient excuse.
A creditor’s winding-up petition having been presented