Thursday, 19 December 2019

Michaelmas Term 1819: The Twelve Judges of England uphold Adam Wagstaff's conviction

At some point during Michaelmas Term of 1819, the Twelve Judges of England considered the case of Rex vs Wagstaff, heard at Nottingham Summer Assizes in July 1819. At that time, Judgment had been reserved for their consideration:
In Michaelmas term, 1819, THE JUDGES met, and considered this case. They held the conviction right. THE JUDGES thought a letter dropped near the prosecutor with intent that it might reach him, was a sending of it to him. They also thought, that although the prosecutor saw the prisoner, yet as the prisoner did not suppose he knew him, and meant that he should not, it was no answer to the charge; and although the letter when read, contained expressions that might make the prosecutor suspect the prisoner, yet as these expressions were not so explicit as to show the prisoner did not mean to conceal himself, the case did fall within the principle laid down in Hening's case, 2 east, P.C. 1116. (a)
From then on, this was known as 'Wagstaff's Case'.

Adam Wagstaff would receive his sentence at the next Nottingham Assizes, in 1820.

The case is quoted in "Crown Cases reserved for consideration; and decided by the twelve judges of England from the year 1799 to the year 1824" (1825; p.401).

I have been unable to find any online references that allow me to pin down the precise date, hence the reference to 'Michaelmas Term', which usually ends before Christmas each year.

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