Generally and regularly, the record itself oí' an action, ought not to be produced in evidence, except when it is offered in the same Court to which it belongs. That Court has the lawful possession and control of it, and can promptly give litigants such benefit of it as they may be entitled to have, without removing it from the immediate custody of the Court, and to a place more or less remote from the office where it is regularly kept. There is no reason, however, why the record should not itself be evidence, in a proper case, in any Court, and the best evidence. It is not generally so used, because it ought not to be removed from its proper depository, and from the Court to which it belongs. The law contemplates that it shall continuously remain there, under the keeping and strict care of the proper officer of the Court, to the end that it may be safely kept, and always be present there, to be seen and examined by those who may have the right to see and examine it. There are exceptional occasions on which it may be necessary to remove it for a short while to another Court, to be used as evidence, but such occasions are infrequent and extraordinary, and the power to remove it should be exercised sparingly and with care. But this by no means implies that the record is not evidence, whenever it is *834present, in a proper ease, in any Court. Indeed, it is the best evidenee of itself and what it contains.
Regularly, however, a duly authenticated copy of the record, under the seal of the Court, is the proper evidence of it and its contents.
On the argument, the defendant’s counsel relied upon Ward v. Saunders, 6 Ired., 382, to support his objection to the record, itself offered is proper evidenee. In that case, Chief Justice RuiTlN said: “ When the proceedings are in one Court, and they are offered as evidence in another, regularly the original documents, which may need evidence to identify them, are not evidence, but only the record made up, or a copy from it, authenticated by the Court.” This is not inconsistent with what we have here said. Regularly the law is as he thus states it, but he did not say, nor mean to say, as we understand Jtiirn, that the record itself is not evidence when present. State v. Collins, 3 Dev., 117; Ward v. Saunders, supra; State v. Voight, 90 N. C., 741. So, the first exception cannot be sustained.
For the like reason, the second exception can not be sustained. The indictment was a part of the record — it was a formal presentation of the charge by the grand jury,.and in contemplation of law, passed into, and became a part of the record, and the best evidence. The Court so recognized and accepted it. The original indictment- in writing, was part of the minutes and documents that made up the record when drawn out in form, and such minutes and documents are treated, ordinarily, as the record itself.
During a pause in the trial, the Court received the submission of a defendant other than the present, defendant, in an indictment for the same escape, and this is made the ground of a third exception.
It was not very orderly perhaps, to receive the submission, pending the trial. But there is no substantial legal reason why it might not be done. We are unable to see how the mere fact of the submission could prejudice the defendant — it did not in *835contemplation of law, and it does not appear that it did so in fact. The defendant simply had the exception entered, seemingly for what it might be worth, without assigning any special ground for it; he did not ask for a mistrial at the time, nor did he afterwards move for a new trial, upon that or any other ground.
In practice, it is not uncommon to receive submissions from defendants, or to allow them to plead guilty, at any time while the Court is in session, with a view to convenience, and to expedite the business of the Court. And not infrequently, a party on trial with another, for the gravest offence, is allowed to change his plea to guilty, or to consent to a verdict of guilty for some grade of the offence of which he is charged. The Court, however, should be careful, to see that such practice works no undue prejudice to another party on trial. State v. Martin, 70 N. C., 628; State v. Pratt, 88 N. C., 639.
.The Court properly declined to grant the first special instruction to the jury, asked for by the defendant, because, as the Court said, there was no evidence that warranted it. The mere fact that a witness testified that another witness said in his presence, that he had his eye on the prisoner who escaped, is too unimportant of itself and in the face of the other testimony, to make evidence to go to the jury, to establish a leading and important fact.
Nor was the defendant entitled to the second special instruction he asked the Court to give. Whether it was proper or not to put hand-cuffs on the prisoner whom he had in custody, depended upon his character and the attending circumstances. The instructions given by the Court in that respect, were unobjectionable.
Obviously, the sixth exception is without foundation. The Court substantially told the jury, that the burden of proof was upon the State, to show that the prisoner who escaped, was committed to the custody of the defendant, and escaped and then the burden of proof shifted to the defendant, and he must prove *836that “such escape was not by his consent or negligence, but that he used all legal means to prevent the same, and acted with proper care and diligence.” The charge was substantially in accordance with the statute. (The Code, §1022).
We find no error in the record, and the judgment must be affirmed. To that end, let this opinion be certified to the Superior Court according to law. It is so ordered.
No error. Affirmed.