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The Times, Wednesday, Sep 05, 1821; pg. 3; Issue 11343; col B


                              SUMMER ASSIZES.
                                    --------------
                     CARLISLE, FRIDAY, AUG. 31.

     FALSE IMPRISONMENT. - CROSBY V. FORSTER, ESQ.    

Mr. BROUGHAM replied. - Before I proceed to offer a few observations to you -
and the case of my learned friend requires but a few - let me take a leaf out of
his book, and I know not a better authority. Nothing, says he, is so dangerous
as to allow party feelings and local politics to interfere with the
administration of justice. If this be true, and I heartily assent and desire you
to keep it in mind, and if it be applicable to one department more than to
another, it is applicable to the part intrusted to particular magistrates acting
in police rather than in judicature. I care not what Mr. FORSTER may feel with
15 or 20 others on the bench who will check or neutralize his feelings; but for
the future let him, as I know he will, follow the advice of his Counsel, and
never allow local feelings and party politics to interfere in his own
individual, unchecked, uncontrolled sway. You see the mischief of it. Here he
was alone; none checked him; and  a poor man loses his liberty, is severed from
his wife and family, and such severing to him is absolute ruin. Look at the case
for Mr. Justice FORSTER. It is quite unnecessary for me to deny the assault on
Dr. HEYSHAM; but I ask you whether you will not believe what I have made out in
preference? YOUNG and BARNES are police-officers, not in the crowd - 25 yards
off, a crowd between. My witnesses swore with admirable consistency: no attempt
was made to impeach their testimony; my learned friend asked no question to
impeach their credit. Prejudiced as the witnesses were on the other side,
connected with the defendant, employed in the police, none said that the
plaintiff struck; and wherever there is a conflict in the two cases, never
forget that they on the other side were appointed to the police since this
happened. They have not dared to call the officer himself, who must have known
better, and who is quite unconnected. If the question rested on the balance of
evidence, I should have no doubt of your verdict. My evidence has no conflict
with Dr. HEYSHAM's, who is the only thing of a respectable witness on the other
side. But if the first commitment was legal, if all the assaults men's hands
could have committed were made, the second warrant annuls it all. This is the
way warrants are made out for the imprisonment of men for calendar months, under
the reign of the present, being the second, Mr. Justice FORSTER; and this is the
sort of Crown law in Carlisle. Let the first warrant have been as regular as the
first Mr. Justice FORSTER could have made it, I care not; for it is not,
according to Mr. SCARLETT's observation, first a commitment for felony, then for
an assault, but quite the reverse. It is not of the liberation we complain, but
of its not having been earlier. The sessions had been on the 10th of July, but
the defendant waited till the 24th, and was then liberated. Why? Because he
durst not keep him longer, knowing that Judges of a very different description
were coming who would view the case in a different light, if the body was
brought up before them under such a warrant. I leave the case with perfect
confidence in your hands, knowing that in doing justice, which your oaths
require, to the exclusion of all party feelings, you will give redress to the
plaintiff, and teach the defendant justice.

Mr. Justice HOLROYD, in the course of summing up, said the defendant had had a
painful duty to perform; but if he acted illegally, they would give a reasonable
compensation in damages. It was a duty to exclude party feelings, and he hoped
and trusted they would exclude them if they felt any. The action arose out of a
riot, and certainly a very considerable riot, on the 24th of May, 1820. The
plaintiff was no voter and had no business there, and therefore wanted the
excuse which a person would have who might conceive his rights injured. What had
been spoken to as tendering bail, had been only in the street, which was not the
usual place for offering bail. If they believed the witnesses and Dr. HEYSHAM,
there had been a direct assault and insult, and the magistrate was bound to
commit and to inquire. It appeared to him that the first had been a legal
commitment. If CROSBY had been brought before the magistrate, and within a
reasonable time, there could have been no complaint. The second commitment was
not for a felony, but for the assault. If CROSBY had been present, it would have
been perfectly legal; but that not having been the case, it appeared to him not
legal. They must give such damages for this incautious way of giving a warrant
as they thought due. He might have had bail. He did not say that he was bound to
take bail, but a jury considered all the circumstances. There was nothing to
show that the magistrate had felt party feelings. There was nothing which had
that appearance, excepting his conduct when Mr. ELLIS met him; that was a rude
way, but it did not appear that the irregularity arose from party feeling at
all. They would give such reasonable damages as in their discretion they thought
due. - Verdict for the plaintiff - Damages 10 guineas.