FALSEHOOD. A wilful act or declaration contrary to truth. It is committed either by the wilful act of the party, or by dissimulation, or by words. It is wilful, for example, when the owner of a thing sells it twice, by different contracts to different individuals, unknown to them; for in this the seller must wilfully declare the thing is his own, when he knows that it is not so. It is committed by dissimulation when a creditor, having an understanding with his former debtor, sells the land of the latter, although he has been paid the debt which was due to him.
2. Falsehood by word is committed when a witness swears to what he knows not to be true. Falsehood is usually attendant on crime. Roscoe, Cr. Ev. 362.
3. A slander must be false to entitle the plaintiff to recover damages. But whether a libel be true or false the writer or publisher may be indicted for it. Bul N. P. 9; Selw. N. P. 1047 , note 6; 5 Co. 125; Hawk. B. 1, c. 73, s. 6. Vide Dig. 48, 10, 31; Id. 22, 6, 2; Code, 9, 22, 20.
4. It is a general rule, that if a witness testifies falsely as to any one material fact, the whole of his testimony must be rejected but still the jury may consider whether the wrong statement be of such character, as to entitle the witness to be believed in other respects. 5 Shepl. R. 267. See Lie.