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For improving the Administration of Criminal Justice in England.

[26 May, 1826.]

WHEREAS it is expedient to define under what circumstances persons may be admitted to bail in cases of felony, and to make better provision for taking examinations, informations, bailments, and recognizances, and returning the same to the proper tribunals: And whereas the technical strictness of criminal proceedings might in many instances be relaxed, so as to ensure the punishment of the guilty, without depriving the accused of any just means of defence; and the administration of justice in that part of the United Kingdom called England might in other respects be rendered more effectual: Be it therefore en acted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That where any per- Who may be admitted son shall be taken on a charge of felony or to bail on a charge of felony, and who may suspicion of felony, before one or more justice not. (3 Ed. 1. c. 15. or justices of the peace, and the charge shall 23 H. 6. c. 9.) be supported by positive and credible evidence of the fact, or by such evidence as, if not explained or contradicted, shall, in the opinion of the justice or justices, raise a strong pre


sumption of the guilt of the person charged, such person shall be committed to prison by such justice or justices, in the manner hereinafter mentioned; but if there shall be only one justice present, and the whole evidence given before him shall be such as neither to raise a strong presumption of guilt nor to warrant the dismissal of the charge, such justice shall order the person charged to be detained in custody until he or she shall be taken before two justices at the least; and where any person so taken, or any person in the first instance taken before two justices of the peace, shall be charged with felony or on suspicion of felony, and the evidence given in support of the charge shall, in their opinion, not be such as to raise a strong presumption of the guilt of the person charged, and to require his or her committal, or such evidence shall be adduced on behalf of the person charged as shall in their opinion weaken the. presumption of his or her guilt, but there shall notwithstanding appear to them, in either of such cases, to be sufficient ground for judicial enquiry into his or her guilt, the person charged shall be admitted to bail by such two justices, in the manner herein-after mentioned: Justice not obliged to Provided always, That nothing herein conhear evidence on be- tained shall be construed to require any such half of person charged. justice or justices to hear evidence on behalf of any person so charged as aforesaid, unless it shall appear to him or them to be meet and conducive to the ends of justice to hear the


II. And whereas it is expedient to amend and extend the provisions of two acts, the first passed in the first and second years of the

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