19th October 1785
Reference Numbert17851019-81
SentenceImprisonment > newgate; Transportation

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990. JOSEPH JEFFERY SMITH was indicted for wilful and corrupt perjury at the last Session, at the Old Bailey, on the trial of Jane Langley and Mary Finn .

The record of the conviction read and examined by the Court.


Court. Read the whole of the prisoner's evidence from your short hand-notes.

The Short-hand Writer here read the evidence, as in the seventh part of the Sessions Paper of the last Session, page 1071.

Court. Was Smith sworn? - I do not remember the man.


I remember Smith being sworn as a witness upon the trial of these two women.

Did you hear him give that evidence that was stated by Mr. Hodgson? - Yes.

Did he ever make you any such offer of making it up for four guineas, as is therein mentioned? - Yes.

Where was it? - At the Brown Bear , East Smithfield, I think it was the first of August.

What did he offer to you? - Four guineas.

What to do? - To make it up, and not appear against the prisoner.

Who was present? - Mr. Burton, and one Brown that was along with me.

Prisoner. Ask the man whether it was the first of August or no; I think I heard in the indictment, it was on the first of August, I was not in London on that day,

I was in Chelsea, I went out on a day's pleasure, my wife, and me, and my master's daughter, from the morning till nine o'clock at night.

Court to Robinson. Recollect what time of the day it was? - It was in the afternoon about two or three.

What day of the week was it? - It was on Thursday, I believe.

Endeavour to fix the time as well as you can, what day was you robbed? - On Friday evening, the 29th of July; on Monday the 1st of August I took the prisoner, this conversation was the Thursday following.

- BURTON sworn.

I was present with Robinson, after the Justice committed the prisoners; we went to the Brown Bear , and had sixpenny-worth, and the prisoner and another man came in, and the prisoner and the other man, both said, they would give four guineas to make it up.

Which of them said so? - They both said so several times.

Not both together? - One after the other.

Did the prisoner ever say so? - Yes, I am clear in that.

What did he offer Robinson the four guineas for? - Not to appear against them, and I went to the Justice myself and asked him.

Do you recollect where this was? - I cannot really say, it was on Thursday.

Are you sure of that? - I am.

Prisoner. Did you see me offer any money? - No, I did not see any money at all.

Did not Brown say to Robinson, if the girls and I could make up four guineas, will you be agreeable to make it up? - He asked me if I should take it.

Was that after the offer by Smith? - Yes.

Court to Robinson. How came you to think that it was the third day after the robbery that this conversation passed? - It was the day they were fully committed, was on a Thursday.


My Lord, I do declare, I never offered him any such money, I had no such money about me, this Brown and I went over to the Brown Bear , where that man and Burton were together, we fell into discourse; Brown was gone to the Justice's a long while, and Mr. Burton wanted to go home, I said, I will give a step to see them; but it is very false that I offered them the four guineas.

Where is Brown? - I sent after him but he could not be found, he lives in Wapping, I have some friends here to give me a character, I never was in a prison, and it was the first oath I ever took, and I hope it will be the last.


I know the prisoner, he has worked for me thirteen months, I have known him about fifteen years, I never knew any thing bad by him.


I have known the prisoner fourteen months, all I have seen by him was his going to his master's house, and I always saw him industrious and at work, he lives in my neighbourhood.

Prisoner. I did not come for the sake of reward, nor was I hired to come; I lost four or five days besides my imprisonment, I have been five weeks in Newgate, I never was before any Magistrate before, since I have known what life was; this is such a disgrace to me, that if my master will not take me again, I must go and leave my native country.


Court to Prisoner. You have been convicted of a crime which is one of the most dangerous to society of any that can be committed: perjury, in all cases, is a very heinous, and a very dangerous offence, it

takes away the only security that the law can provide for the due administration of justice, which is the civil power in criminal prosecutions; and it appears to me that a perjury in criminal cases, is more criminal than in a civil trial, where property alone is concerned: this offence of perjury, in behalf of a prisoner, is somewhat less than that against a prisoner; for where that produces conviction in a capital case, it appears to me to fall little, if anything, short of the guilt of murder: but still this is a very high and dangerous offence, for the consequence of it is to endeavour to interrupt the course of Justice, and to screen the guilty from punishment; and it has this further tendency, to render all testimoney on the part of the prisoners suspected: you have in the course of your defence, made one observation which appears to be a just one, and which points out to the Court very distinctly the line of their duty in the present case, and that is, that by this transaction your character has been taken away, so that you will not have an opportunity of obtaining your living in this country, and must be obliged to go abroad; that marks out the line of conduct for the Court to pursue; and, therefore, the sentence of the Court is, that you be imprisoned for one week in Newgate , and then transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years, to such place as his Majesty with the advice of his Privy Council shall think proper to declare and appoint .

Tried by the second London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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