LEGAL EXTORTION.-A case of very great importance was tried this
week before Lord Lyndhurst. The question was, the liability of the Sheriff of Middlesex to the payment of treble fees illegally exacted by one of his bailiffs. The plaintiff in the suit, Mr. Scott, had the misfortune to be arrested for debt, by a Sheriff's officer of the name of Radford ; on which occasion he was charged three pounds for the bail-bond, and three shillings for a search to know whether there was a detainer against him ; while, by the statute 23d Henry VI. c. 10, upon which the action was founded, no sheriff is entitled to more than twenty pence, no bailiff to more than fourpence, and no gaoler to more than fourpence, for their trouble respecting a bail-bond ; and if any such offi- cer do exact more for his own benefit or profit, the statute enacts that he shall repay the same with treble damages. The only difficulty in the case was, whether the sheriff or the officer was the party liable. LORD LYNDHURST said, that the statute 23d Henry VI. had not been acted on for many years ; yet he was not aware that it had been repealed. He recommended to the Jury to find for the plaintiff, as he was of opinion that the Sheriff was liable under the statute. The Jury returned a verdict accordingly ; damages 9/. 9s., being treble the sums paid to the officer. It is said that Mr. C. Wilson, who has been actively engaged of late in attempts to put down the extortion of the bailiffs, has instituted more than fifty actions of a similar nature.