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Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No. 1862, Sunday, December 11, 1831

Old Bailey Sessions Sessions.

Thomas Hague was indicted on a charge of gross and corrupt perjury, grounded on an affidavit sworn to by him to recover a debt of 500l. from Mr. George Drury, a gentleman who resided at Skelton, in the county of York.

On the part of the prosecution, it appeared that the prisoner, through the influence of threats to disclose to the public a nameless transaction of a peculiar nature, in which he accused the prosecutor of being a principal party, exceeded in extorting very large sums of money from him, and that he continued his extortionary course for a length of time, increasing his demands in proportion to his success; and such was the influence which his threats of exposure had on the mind of the prosecutor, that he actually, as was shown by the evidence, succeeded in inducing that gentleman to give him—putting the sums together— some thousands of pounds. Finally, the prosecutor having refused to consent to any more of the prisoner's demands—the prisoner filed the affidavit, which was the subject of the present prosecution, against him, declaring in it, on oath, that he (the prosecutor) was indebted to him in sum of 500l. for goods, &c., and marked a writ under it against the prosecutor, whose only pecuniary obligation to the prisoner was for a sum of 5l., which was contracted between them on the sale of some hay purchased from him by the prosecutor; and this was the only dealing, it was affirmed, which the prosecutor had ever had with him. In course of the trial, letters in the prisoner's hand-writing, addressed to the prosecutor, were put in, which contained the strangest threats to indict him and other parties for the transaction he (the prisoner) had been long accusing him of, if he would not comply with his insatiable demands for money. The prosecutor, on finding the fellow had committed himself by swearing to an affidavit which in matter and spirit was utterly untrue, and fearing that if he allowed him to proceed with impunity he would suffer in character, as he had already blameably allowed himself to suffer in purse, took the advice of his friends, and had the fellow apprehended on a warrant for wilful and corrupt perjury. The charge was clearly made out to the satisfaction of the court and the jury; and the Recorder, after dwelling on the heinousness of the prisoner's disgraceful and dangerous course of conduct, adjudged him to stand for the space of one hour in the pillory; to be confined six months in the House of Correction, and kept to hard labour; and at the expiration of that term, to be transported out of the country for seven years.

These sessions closed on Friday, when the Recorder passed the following sentences:—

Death—.Wm. Williams, for sheep-stealing; J. Holmes, horse-stealing; Wm. Henry Parrott, cutting and maiming Mary his wife, with intent to murder her: John Jones, Samuel Conneck (a man of colour), Robert Springett, Mary Elton, Wm. Scott, and John Butcher, stealing goods and monies above 5l. in a dwelling-house; Wm. Gibson, Arthur Poole, Wm. Anthony, David Angus, and Wm. Bailey, burglary and larceny; Wm. Wheedon, and Maria Dowling, robbery from the person; and Thos. Wilson, uttering a counterfeit shilling, having been before convicted of a similar offence.

Transportation for Life—Lydia Goodwin, Patrick Boucher, Edward Tyler, Mary James, Robert Fawkes, Jas. Richardson, Wm. Murray alias Moody, J. Wilson, Wm. Osborne, Mary James, Charles Wilson, Edward Anderson, George Browne, John Seal, James Smith, John Harrison, and Wm. Palmer.

For 14 years—Mary Browne, John Smith, George Cranch, Chas. Reilly, George Brown, Mary Wilson, Samuel Parker, John Dickenson, John Hazell, George Fox, John Wilson, Mary Evans, George Davis, Wm. Smith, and Joseph Diggins.

Seventy-nine were sentenced to be transported for even years.

A great number were ordered to be imprisoned for terms varying from two years to one week; two were discharged upon paying a fine of 1s. each to the King; some juvenile offenders were ordered to be well privately whipped, and 30 were discharged by proclamation, in consequence of the bills which had been preferred against them having been ignored by the Grand Jury.

The court then adjourned until the 5th of January.