IN this case the prisoner got into his awkward situation rather curiously. His first wife had also married again; and her last husband finding she had been married before, and wishing to get rid of her, discovered the prisoner, and took him to Union Hall, as a witness against his former wife; when the whole secret coming out, the tables were turned, and he was himself committed for the bigamy.
Philip Facey was indicted for bigamy in feloniously marrying a second time, his former wife being still living. Mr. Curwood, as counsel for the prosecution, observed, that the crime of which the prisoner stood charged was one which in its consequences was the most injurious to civil society, as it went to destroy the sacredness of the marriage contract, out of which all the other relations of society grew. The facts of the case must necessarily be short. The prisoner married a young woman, of the name of Griggs, at Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk, in the year 1783. He left her a short time afterwards, and in the year 1795 he again was married to a widow, who kept a small shop in the Borough. He left her to go with his regiment to Ireland, he being a sergeant in the army; and lately he was discovered residing in the Park as one of the keepers with a third family. The registers of the two marriages were then put in and proved, and that the former wife was still living.
For the prisoner, an officer in the West Suffolk militia proved that the prisoner had always borne a most exemplary character, that he was promoted to be a quarter master in the regiment, and Lord Euston, in consideration of his uniform good behaviour, had appointed him a Park-keeper; that his wife had been drummed out of the regiment, and had not been heard of for many years.
The prisoner declared, that he believed his first wife to be dead, not hearing from her many years, and knowing she was in the habit of excessive drinking. The learned judge observed, that the extent of his offence was that he had acted with too little caution in not making more accurate inquiries after his first wife. He should therefore sentence him but to a mild punishment, which was that he should pay a fine of one shilling, and be imprisoned for one month.