SIMEON HOWELL, MARY BENTLEY.
8th June 1863
Reference Numbert18630608-766
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment; Imprisonment

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766. SIMEON HOWELL (27), and MARY BENTLEY (23), were indicted for unlawfully conspiring, by false pretences and fraudulent means, to enable Simeon Howell to have connexion with Louisa Hackett, she being unmarried, and under the age of 21 years. Second Count, for a conspiracy to enable one Zachariah Howell to have connexion with said Louisa Hackett Third Count, to enable divers persons to do the like. Fourth Count, conspiring to solicit, incite, and endeavour to procure the said Louisa Hackett to become a common prostitute, she being under 16 years of age.

MESSRS. SLEIGH and LEWIS conducted the Prosecution, and MR. PALMER the Defence. The particulars of this cote were unfit for publication.

THE COURT considered that there was no evidence on the first, second, and third Counts, and MR. PALMER contended that the fourth Count did not disclose any offence. THE COURT was of opinion that there was evidence to go to the Jury upon the fourth Count, and the question of law could be raised by motion in arrest of Judgment, if necessary. The Jury found the prisoner GUILTY on the Fourth Count.

On a subsequent day (Wednesday) before MR. BARON BRAMWELL with MR. RECORDER, MR. PALMER, in arrest of judgment, urged that this Count did not set out any facts which constituted an offence in law; it did not assert any fraudulent means, setting out those means, by which this matter was brought about; it merely asserted that what was done was done unlawfully; it did not even state whether the woman was pure or impure, or that anything more was done than to solicit her to become a prostitute; conspiracy might be made out in two ways, one of which might be by soliciting by unlawful means an act, not in itself unlawful, though it might be contra bonos mores to some extent; it was to charged here, but then no means were set out by which the woman was to be induced to do the act—See Bates v. Mears, 20 Law Journal, p. 59, Rex v. Gray and others; also, Rex v. Dalaval, 2; Russell, 686; and Rex v. Seward, 1; Neville and Manning, 561; upon these authorities, and for the reasons stated he submitted that this Count was bad. MR. BARON BRAMWELL (without calling upon MR. SLEIGH to reply) said, "I am of opinion, with the learned Recorder, that the Count is good. The argument of MR. PALMER is, that the thing to be brought about is not the subject of indictment, that it so; a common prostitute, while plying her unhappy vocation, is subject to be treated at a vagrant, under a particular Statute, but she cannot be found guilty of common prostitution; it is not

an offence at common law, out of this City, for a woman to be a common prostitute, but to my mind that it not the criterion, because there are many unlawful things that are not the subject of indictment or criminal proceedings of any kind; indeed MR. PALMER has referred to them. Suppose an attempt had been made by these parties to enforce an arrangement entered into by this young woman; undoubtedly she could have resisted it on the ground that the agreement to do so was unlawful, and we know very well that an action for the price of clothes or for lodging, given to a person for the purpose of carrying on this offence, may be resisted on the ground that they were furnished for an unlawful purpose, so that it is perfectly manifest that there are illegalities of which the law takes notice, although it does not consider them sufficiently grave to be the subject of indictment, or other criminal proceedings. That being so, it is alleged that there was a conspiracy by these two parties to bring about this illegal condition of things—then we have all the necessary ingredients according to the definition of the authorities cited by MR. PALMER, particularly that by Lord Denman; that a conspiracy to be indictable must either be a conspiracy to bring about a lawful thing by unlawful means, or an unlawful thing by lawful means; here is an unlawful thing conspired to be brought about by these defendants according to the statement on the record; it therefore appears to me that the indictment is good; it is not necessary to go further into the question to consider what is the difference between the case of a virgin, and one who is not a virgin; it is enough to say, that upon the ground I have stated, it seems to me and the learned RECORDER, that the indictment is a good one. HOWELL— Confined Fifteen Months. BENTLEY— Confined Six Months.


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