Old Bailey Proceedings supplementary material. HENRY LAVELL, WILLIAM BASS.
4th December 1782
Reference Numbero17821204-1

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Mr. BARON HOTHAM delivered the Opinion of the Twelve Judges in the Cases of Henry Lavell , for Forgery, and William Bass , for Felony, who had each been respited at a former Sessions till such Opinion could be taken.

Henry Lavell was brought to the Bar.


At the last September Sessions you was indicted, for that you feloniously did falsely make, forge and counterfeit, a certain order for payment of money, purporting to be an order for 10 l. 10 s. 0 d. directed to Drummond and Co. Charing Cross, by the name of Messrs. Drummond, Charing Cross, by which Messrs. Drummond and Co. were required to pay the bearer the said sum, and which said order was as follows:

"Messrs. Drummond, Charing Cross,

"25th August, 1782.

"Please to pay the bearer, or order, on

"demand, the sum of 10 l. 10 s. 0 d. and

"place the same to the account of me,

"H. H. Aston, No. 12, Seymour-street,


This was laid to be with intention to defraud the said Henry Harvey Aston : there were three other Counts all laid in the same way; the next for feloniously uttering the same, on the same day and year, well knowing the same to be forged with the like intention; the next, for forging it with intention to defraud the Drummonds; and the last for uttering it, well knowing it to be forged, with intention to defraud them. Upon the trial the forgery was fully proved to have been committed by you, and the Jury found you Guilty. A motion was afterwards made on Arrest of Judgment on this ground, that the indictment charged the note to be drawn on Drummond and Co. by the name of Messrs. Drummond, Charing Cross, whereas the names of the respective partners ought to have been mentioned. The judgment was accordingly arrested till the opinion of the rest of the Judges could be taken. The Twelve Judges have since met together, and have considered this case, and they are of opinion that the question must turn on the operation of the words, Messrs. Drummond and Co. Charing Cross; if the words and Co. are to be deemed words of surplusage, in which light they may well be considered, as Mr. Drummond, Charing Cross, would have been considered sufficiently explanatory without the words and Co. they will then certainly not vitiate the indictment: if, on the other hand, they cannot be rejected as words of surplusage, and being taken all together, they are insensible words, composing an unintelligible description, the indictment will certainly be bad: if, in truth, that is not the case, such a description is intelligible, and conveys a notification of the party intended to be defrauded; if it do, it is not necessary to state in the indictment with more particularity the party meant; for if any person is intended, it is sufficient, and who that party is, is matter of reference to be left to the Jury; nor is any greater certainty necessary in indictments, than that the party indicted is to know against whom he is to defend himself. - Therefore on all these grounds the Judges are unanimously of opinion, that the indictment is good, and of course that the judgment ought not to be arrested. We have

taken this earliest opportunity to inform you of it, that you may prepare yourself to receive the sentence of the law, which will be passed on you at the close of this Sessions.

William Bass was then brought to the Bar.


You was at a former Sessions indicted, and found guilty of stealing a quantity of goods, of the value of 80 l. You was porter to the prosecutor who delivered to you a parcel, containing the goods mentioned in the indictment, to carry to a customer; in your way you was met by two men, who prevailed on you to go to a public house, where they persuaded you to dispose of the goods, to which you consented: you received eight guineas of the money, the goods were taken out of the package in which they were delivered to you, and put into a bag at the public house. The question reserved for the opinion of the Judges was, Whether these facts amounted to a felonious taking in you? and they are all clearly of opinion that you, standing in the relation of a servant, the possession of the goods must be considered as remaining in your master till the actual taking of them; he was to receive the money for them from the customer, and he could at any time have countermanded the delivery of them. Cases of this kind have frequently occurred, and they are of opinion that this is to be considered a Felony, and of course that your conviction was proper.

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