Decided on August 02,1901

KING-EMPEROR Respondents


Chancellor, J - (1.) In this case the appellant was tried on an indictment in which he was charged with no less than forty-one acts, these acts extending over a period of two years. This was plainly in contravention of the Criminal P. C., Section 234, which provided that a person may only be tried for three offences of the same kind if committed within a period of twelve months. The reason of such a provision, which is analogous to our own provisions in respect of embezzlement, is obviously in order that the jury may not be prejudiced by the multitude of charges and the inconvenience of hearing together of such a number of instances of culpability and the consequent embarrassment both to Judges and accused. It is likely to cause confusion and to interfere with the definite proof of a distinct offence which it is the object; of all criminal procedure to obtain. The policy of such a provision is manifest and the necessity of a system of written accusation specifying a definite criminal offence is of the essence of criminal procedure.
(2.) Their Lordships think that the course pursued and which was plainly illegal cannot be amended by arranging afterwards what might or might not have been properly submitted to the jury.
(3.) Upon the assumption that the trial was illegally conducted it is idle to suggest that there is enough left upon the indictment upon which a conviction might have been supported if the accused had been properly tried. The mischief sought to be avoided by the Statute has been done. The effect of the multitude of charges before the jury has not been averted by dissecting the verdict afterwards and appropriating the finding of guilty only to such parts of the written accusation as ought to have been submitted to the jury.;

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