McGeehan, Jayne and Wm. J. Brennan, Jr. The opinion of the court was delivered by Brennan, Wm. J., Jr., J.A.D.
Defendant was convicted of the crime of perjury in Bergen County Court under an indictment charging that he falsely and corruptly denied when testifying February 7, 1950, before a grand jury inquiring into the murder of one Richard Knight, that on October 18, 1949, he had said to Police Officer Fred Merton, in substance, "The chef used a shiv on him, he got the shiv in the kitchen." A shiv is a knife.
Defendant Bulach operated Pine Lake Lodge in Washington Township, Bergen County. He employed a chef named Hossack. On October 17, 1949, Hossack, Knight and the defendant went to another tavern to attend an affair which continued into the early hours of October 18th. Bulach imbibed freely throughout the afternoon and night. Apparently Hossack and Knight also drank a good deal; they quarreled during the evening. However, when the affair ended, the three rode together in Knight's car to Pine Lake Lodge where Bulach opened his bar and the three had several more drinks. According to the defendant, they broke up about four o'clock when he left Hossack and Knight at the bar while he closed up his place. He said that after locking up he came back to the bar and Knight was not there -- he thought Knight had gone home -- and he went to his own car, where Hossack was waiting, and drove Hossack to the latter's home in Midland Park. When he returned to Pine Lake Lodge after five o'clock he found Knight lying on the ground, bare to the waist and with a stab wound in his lower abdomen. He telephoned the Westwood police and Merton came to the lodge in a squad car.
Merton and Bulach had a conversation upon Merton's arrival shortly after 5:30 that morning. Merton's version at the trial was as follows:
"Q. You asked Bulach what had happened. A. Bulach what had happened.
"Q. Did Bulach answer you? A. Yes, sir.
"Q. What did he say? A. First he said, 'Oh, come on have a drink, kid.'
"I said 'No, I don't want any drink, Bill.'
"I said 'What happened here?'
"I said 'No, I don't want to.'
"I said 'Tell me what ...