Page images
PDF

III.—CONTEMPT OF COURT.

III. DIRECT INTERFERENCE.
i. Violent or unseemly behaviour before the Court.

Riot—Disturbance—Rudeness—Prevaricati0n—Expressions of sentiments—Insult to ]udge—To jur0rs—To witnesses—Cheering verdictThrowing missile at Judge—Transgressi0n of rules laid down by ]udge— Assault in vicinity of C0urt—Not essential that act should be done in immediate presence of Judge—Test, interference with one acting as a Judicial officer or with a Judicial proceeding—Chambers—Registrar’s office—Master's office—Pers0n appealing for protection should do so at 0nce—Disturbance arising out of business relations between solicitors, but not an interference.

[ocr errors]

Perverse verdict not a contempt—Non-attendance—Refusal to serveMisconduct—C0mbinati0n to deceive Court.

iii. Witnesses.

Non-attendance—Refusal to be sworn, or to give evidence—Prevarication.

iv. Attempts to influence the Court.

Private communication to Judge—Attempt to bribe Judge—Flattery of Judge—Dcdication to, of pamphlet on pending proceedings—Insulting or threatening letter to judge, or to Judicial officer.

v. Abuse ofthe process of the Court.

Contempt to pervert writ or process to malicious purposes—F0rce— Fraud—Feigned issue— Fictitious action to raise ill fame of third partyAbsurd dilatory plea—Collusi0n—Petitioning creditor lending himself to solicitor- Solicitor using c0unsel's name without authority—False address

by plaintifl'—Counsel party to fraud—Breach of an undertaking—Not to communicate with ward.

vi. Interference with parties, witnesses, and athers. Right of such persons to protcction. (a.) Menace. Threatening publication of statement of facts unless petition withdrawn —Sending postcards threatening exposure by postcards—Terrifying witness—Prevailing upon witness by menace to make false answer— Threatening probable witness with indictment for perjury—Threatening plaintiff with indictment—Threatening prosecutor with danger of his life—

Indictment for perjury pending a prosecution—If purpose to intimidate,I

immaterial that threat had not the effect desired.

(b.) Other ways.

Attempt to bribe witness to conceal herself—By agent of party, position of party—Suggestion not to attend trial—And to regain possession of letter—Monetary advantage given as inducement-Inspection of briefInterference with the conduct ofa sale.

(a.) Service of process and arrest.

Arrest or service on civil process rodent: c1m'zi—Ser\'ice on civil process of person attending, or going to or from the Court.

vii. Infants and ll/arris.

Infant plaintitI—Suit relative to infant—Jurisdiction—Encouraging infant to leave custody of guardian—Abduction of ward—Taking ward in execution—Marrying without le8ve—Removal out of jurisdictionEnlistment.—Ignorance of acting or contriving party—Marriage celebrated abroad—Marriage after majority.

viii. I nt:rference with process and execution.

(a.) Generally.

Process-servers and so forth not to be molested—Contumelious, indecent, or disrespectful language—Violent and threatening language—Forciblc detainer—Assaulting process-server or bailifi‘—Captain of ship threatening bailifl'—Governor of gaol refusing to allow service on prisoner—Impeding service ot subpoena—Illtreating person serving subpcena—Concealing infant—Incumbent preventing publication of citation in church—Aiding in breach of injunction—Obstructing bailiff under honest mistake—Snatching at writ—Collaring and shaking process-server.

(b.) Interferenca with receivers and sequestrators.

i. Generally.

Order to be obeyed, and, though erroneous, constitutes receiver officer of Court—Possession not to be interfered with even by action without leave—Or on the part of one receiver against another—Subsequent incumbraneer —Interference by circular with receiver and manager—-Official receiver and trustee in bankruptcy—Inducing receiver not to interfere with business—Order for receiver should disclose over what receiver appointed —May reserve rights of prior incumbrancers—Motion should not be made merely to make costs.

[ocr errors]

Seizing property in possession of receiver—As against strangers, receiver becomes such on giving security in pursuance of order appointing. (e.) Interference with sherifl.

By honest claimant without force—By ofiicer of inferior Court— Claimant using violence, proceeding with sale, and removing goods, after service of an interpleader summons—-Sherifi' acting in bad faith, seizing goods not included infi.fa.

Note I.—Can a party be hindered in seeking legislation in order to avoid the obligation of an undertaking? i

Note I[.—Contempt by arrest.

§ i. Violent or unseemly behaviour before the Court.

A-NY riot or disturbance in a Court of justice, any

rude and contumelious behaviour, any obstinacy, perverseness, or prevarication, any breach of the peace, any interference of persons attending the Court by expressions of their sentiments, improper in themselves, or intended to overawe or interrupt the proceedings, is a contempt which may be summarily visited with punishment by the Court in whose vicinity the offence has been committed.*

So it is a contempt to insult the judge by word of moutht, to insult, or interfere with jurymen,I or wit

' Bl. 4, Com. ii., xx.; Puwis v. Hunter, 1832, 2 L.J. Ch. (N.S.), 31,32, per Lord Brougham, L.C.; Watt v. Ligertwood, 1874, L.R. 2 Sc. & D. 361, citing case of Henry, Prince of Wales, committed by Gascoigne, C.J.; as to this precedent the reader may consult a Note 6 L.Q.R., and the writer there referred to. It is asserted by Wilmot, C.J., in Rex v. Almon (I765, Wil. Op. 243), that cases of committal for contempt are to be found in the Year Books.

1' Reg. v. Langley, 1704, 2 Salk. 697, per Holt, C.J. ; Reg. v. jfordan, I888, 36 W.R. 589; 57 L.J. Q.B. 483 (“that is a most unjust remark”); Hind’: Case, Times, 5th Feb., 1890; Shedden v. Patrick, 1869, L.R. 1 Sc. & D. 470, 481, et seq.

t In re Pater, 1864, 33 L.J. M.C. 142. (The Court will rightly protect those discharging an onerous and unpaid oflice, and unable to protect themselves.)

nesses,* to distribute in Court defamatory circulars in comment on a judgment,1“ to jump up, wave a hat, and shout, on a jury returning a verdict,I to throw a missile at the judge in Court,§ to transgress a rule properly laid down by the judge for the decent and orderly conduct of the cause, as by persisting in introducing matter ruled to be irrelevant,|| upon the conclusion of the case, to strike a party in the lobby of the Court,1l or in defiance of an express order of a judge, to carry away a document in custodici curiae, and forming part of the process depending in the Court.“

It is not essential to a contempt of this character that the act should be done in the immediate presence of a judge sitting in Court. The offence is constituted by interference with judicial proceedings in which a judge, or some other person, is acting as ajudicial officer. Distance in point of time or space is a matter to be taken into consideration in determining whether there has been an interference with the course of justice, but if the intention is clear to cast contumely and insult on a judicial proceeding, then there is a contempt.t1‘

So the Court has power to commit for contempt in relation to proceedings before a judge at Chambers.II And

[ocr errors]

it is a contempt to attempt to break open a desk in a Registrar's office,* to abuse, threaten, and insult persons in the master’s office,'l' or to improperly interfere with a witness under examination before a Commissioner.I

But a person appealing for his own protection to the extraordinary power of the Court should do so instantly, making immediate application to the presiding judicial officer, or, ordinary remedies being open to him, he will be left to them.§ I

And though violence is offered by one person to another in the transaction of affairs having some relation to pending proceedings, it may not, in the circumstances,—as where it was offered at his office by one solicitor in the cause to another solicitor in the cause not at the time engaged in the performance of any duty devolving upon him as such solicitor,—constitute a contempt.l|

§ ii. jurors.

A juror cannot be fined or committed as for contempt for returning a verdict contrary, as it appears to the judge, to the plain and manifest evidence, for the jury alone are judges of the facts. Neither can ajuror be punished for returning a verdict contrary to the direction of the judge ; for, if that were so, a jury would become a mere incidental

* Ex parte Burrows, 1803, 8 Ves. 535, Lord Eldon, L.C.

1- French v. French, 1824, 1 Hog. 138; Ex parte .'}’ones, 1806, 13 Ves. 237.

I Wright v. Wilkin, ubi supra. (Solicitor shewing witness under examination original will to assist his memory as to where he placed his name.)

§ In re Macleod, 1842, 6 Jur. 461, so explained s.n. Ex porte Wilton, 1 Dowl. N.S. 805, in In re }’olmson, ubi supra. (Assault on upper step leading from master’s ofi'1ce—party should complain at once to master.)

|| Republic of Costa Rica v. Erlanger, In re Clements, 1876-7, 35 L.T. 752; 36 ib. 332; 46 L.J. Ch. 375, C.A. See also as to this section, Kirby v. Webb, 1887, 3 T.L.R. 763 (“ on leaving taxing master's office"—not sufliciently exact description in afiidavi1). it

« PreviousContinue »