Rex v Rudd: 1775

Mrs Rudd applied for a writ of habeas corpus, having already given evidence as an accomplice and being ready to give further evidence to assist in convicting her partners in crime.
Held: Where a co-accused gave evidence for the crown and sought a pardon after conviction, his claim was for the mercy only of the crown, and had to be based upo the magistrates’ implied promise and his own wholhearted co-operation and full disclosure. Lord Mansfield: ‘If she had such a right, we should be bound ex debito justitiae to bail her. If she had not such legal right, but yet came under circumstances sufficient to warrant the court in saying, that she had a title to a recommendation to the King for a pardon, we should bail her for the purpose of giving her an opportunity of applying for such pardon.’ The defendant could not claim a pardon as of right (a pardon promised by proclamation or given under statute or earned by the ancient procedure of approvement) but:- ‘There is besides a practice, which indeed does not give a legal right; and that is where accomplices having made a full and free confession of the whole truth, are in consequence thereof admitted evidence for the Crown and that evidence is afterwards made use of to convict the other offenders. If in that case they act fairly and openly, and discover the whole truth, though they are not entitled as of right to a pardon, yet the usage, lenity and the practice of the courts is to stop the prosecution against them and they have an equitable title to a recommendation for the King’s mercy.’


Lord Mansfield


[1775] 1 Cowp 331, [1775] 1 Leach 115, [1775] 98 ER 1114


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLennox Phillip and Others v Director of Public Prosecutions of Trinidad and Tobago and Another; Same vCommissioners of Prisons PC 19-Feb-1992
(Trinidad and Tobago) There had been an insurrection, and many people were taken prisoner by the insurrectionists. To secure their release, the President issued an amnesty to all the insurgents, including the applicant. After surrendering, the . .
CitedRegina v Uxbridge Magistrates and Another ex parte Adimi; R v CPS ex parte Sorani; R v SSHD and Another ex parte Kaziu Admn 29-Jul-1999
The three asylum seeker appellants arrived in the United Kingdom at different times in possession of false passports. They were prosecuted for possession or use of false documents contrary to section 5, and for obtaining air services by deception . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.238510