Rex v Manley – Case Brief
Rex v Manley, 1 K.B. 529 (1933).
Facts: Manley made false allegations to the police that a man had taken her money after hitting her. Manley was indicted and charged with committing an act tending to the public mischief for making the false statement to the police and plead not guilty. Defendant argued at trial that the indictment contained no offense known to law and that there was no case for the jury to decide. The judge instructed the jury on the offense of public mischief and that the offense in the indictment was a common law misdemeanor. Manley appealed her conviction.
Issue: Is an act that prejudices the community indictable under the common law of crimes?
Holding and Rule: Yes. An act that prejudices the community is indictable under the common law of crimes.
Committing an act tending to the public mischief is a misdemeanor. The court indicated that guilt of this crime would be predicated on the fact that the defendant caused two officers to devote their time to a nonexistent crime and that other members of the public who answered the description of the nonexistent suspect were put at peril of suspicion and arrest. This burden of proof was met.
See Tickle v. Barton for a law school case brief in which the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that service of process was invalid where the defendant had been induced to enter the jurisdiction via false representation.