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cheat, public and false

CHEATING is an offence somewhat akin to obtaining goods or money by false pretences. It may be either a private or public cheat or fraud, and is an indictable misdemeanour at common law. Certain forms of cheating may, however, be punished upon summary conviction. In cases where a cheat or fraud against private individuals is charged, there are two conditions precedent to the offenceŚ(1) that the act has been completed; and (2) that there has been injury to the individual. Instances of private cheats,';'or cheats against individuals, are where a man, in the course of his business, fraudulently sells a spurious article as genuine ; where he sells goods by false weights ; and where, for example, he sells a picture the signature to which is forged, and which has not been painted by the artist whose signature is represented. In private cheats, the fact of injury to the individual cheated is an essential ingredient in the offence, for without such an injury a mere naked lie might ,constitute an offimce. In cases where the cheat is public,

very different considerations apply. Such cheats have been defined as levelled against the public justice of the kingdom, and it is immaterial that the act complained of has been abortive and of no effect. Thus a person who makes a false affidavit is guilty of a public cheat, and it would be absurd to make the guilt of such person depend subsequent use of the false affidavit, he being equally guilty of perjury, though no use is afterwards made of it. The real offence is the doing of some act which has a tendency and is intended to pervert the administration of public justice. A man who tampered with certain samples of wheat which had been taken for the purpose of an intended arbitration, has been held to have been guilty of a fraud or cheat at common law, and this although the arbitration was aban doned and the samples never used. Sec DECEIT.