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GEORGII IV. REGIS.
An Act 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 recoguizances, 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 enacted 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 Who may be any person shall be taken on a charge of felony or suspicion of felony, be- admitted to fore one or more justice or justices of the peace, and the charge shall be sup- bail on a ported by positive and credible evidence of the fact, or by such evidence as, charge of feif not explained or contradicted, shall in the opinion of the justice or jus lony, and who tices raise a strong presumption of the guilt of the person charged, such per- may not. son shall be committed to prison by such justice or justices, in the manner (3 Ed. 1. c. 15. hereinafter mentioned; but if there shall be only one justice present, and the
H. 6. c. 9. 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 sopport 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 shali 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 hy such two justices, in the manner hereinafter mentioned : Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to require any such justice or justices to hear evidence on behalf of any person so charged as aforesaid, unless it shall appear to himn or them to be weel and conducive to the ends of justice to hear the same.
1 & 2 P. & M. 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 reign of King Philip 2 & 3 P. & M. and Qneen Mary, intituled “ An act appointing an order to justices of peace
for the bailment of prisoners," and the second passed in the second and third Before any
ycars of the same reign, intituled " An act to take examination of prisoners person charg. suspected of manslaughter or felony ;" be it therefore enacted, That the two ed with felony, justices of the peace, before they stall admit to bail, and the justice or jus&c. shall be
tices, before he or they shall commit to prison any person arrested for felony bailed or committed, the
or on suspicion of felony, shall take the examination of such person, and the justices shall
information upon oath of those who shall know the facts and circumstances take down in of the case, and shall put the same, or as much thereof as shall be material, writing the into writing; and the two justices shall certify such bailment in writing ; and examination, every such justice shall have authority to bind by recognizance all such per&c. and bind sons as know or declare any thing material touching any such felony or suswitnesses to
picion of felony, to appear at the next court of oyer and terminer, or gaol appear at the delivery, or superior criminal court of a county palatine, or great sessions or trial.
sessions of the peace, at which the trial thereof is intended to be, then and Examinations, there to prosecute or give evidence against the party accused ; and such jus&c. to be deli- tices and justice respectively shall subscribe all such examinations, informavered to the
tions, bailments, and recognizances, and deliver or cause the same to be de-
at the opening of the court.
tion upon oath of those who shall know the facts and circumstances of the
in like manner as in cases of felony.
the evidence given to the jury before him, or as much thereof as shall be material; and shall have authority to bind by recognizance all such persons as know or declare any thing material touching the said manslaughter or murder, or the said offence of being accessory to murder, to appear at the next court of oyer and terminer, or gaol delivery, or superior criminal court of a county palatine, or great sessions, at which the trial is to be, then and there to prosecute or give evidence against the party charged, and every such coroner shall certify and subscribe the same evidence, and all such recognizances, and also the inquisition before him taken, and shall deliver the same to the proper officer of the court in which the trial is to be, before or at the open
ing of the court. Penalty on V. And be it further enacted, That if any justice or coroner shall offend in justices and
any thing contrary to the true intent and meaning of these provisions, the coroners. (1 &
court to whose officer any such examination, information, evidence, bail2 P. & M. c.
ment, recognizance, or inquisition, ought to have been delivered, shall, upon 13. s. 5.)
examination and proof of' !he offence in a summary manner, set such fine
upon every such justice or coroner as the the court shall think meet. Provisions to VI. And be it further enacted, That all these provisions relating to justices apply to all
and coroners shall apply to the justices and coroners not only of counties at justices and
large, but also of all other jurisdictions. coroners. (1 &
VII. And whereis divers statutes, taking away the benefit of clergy, or 2 P. & M. c. 13. s. 6.)
creating felonies without benefit of clergy, have omitted to take away the be
nefit of clergy under certain circumsiauces consequent upon the indictment 3 W. & M. c.
of the offender: And whereas a partial remedy for such defects was supplied 9. s. 2.
by an act passed in the third year of the reign of King William and Queen
be indicted of any offence for which, by virtue of any former statute, such person was excluded from the benefit of clergy, if convicted by verdict or confession, such person should not be admitted to the benefit of clergy under any of the circumstances therein enumerated: And whereas it is expedient to extend the like remedy to all oflences which now are or bereafter shall be excluded froin the benefit of clergy: Be it therefore enacted, That if any per- Felonies withson shall be indicted of any oitence for whicii, by virtue of this or of any out benefit of other statule or statutes made or to be made, the oftender is or shall be excluded clergy profrom the benefit of clergy, such person shall be equally excluded from the be- vided for unDefit of clergy, whether he or she hall be conviciid by verdict or by confes. der all cirsion, or shali upou arraignment stand mule of malice, or will not answer di- cumstances recily to the charge, or "shall challenge peremptorily above the number of consequent on
the indicttwenty persuns returned to be of the jury, or shall be outlawed upon such indictment, although the statute or statutes taking away the benefit of clergy & M. c. 9. s. 2.
(3 W. in any such case may not expressly provide that the offender shall be ex. 12 G.3. c. 20.) cluded from the benefit of clergy, in case such ofender shall conft-sø, or stand mate, or not answer directly, or challenge peremptorily above the number of twenty persons returned to be of the jury, or be outlawed; and every thing herein contained shall extend as well to all accessories as to principals.
Vill. And, with regard to clergvable felonies, be it enacted, That if any Felonies withperson shall be indicted of any felony for which the offender is or shall be en- in benefit of titled to the benefit of clergy, and such person shall on arraignment confess clergy prothe felony, or stand mute of malice, or will not answer directly to the charge, vided for unor shall challenge peremptorily above the number of twenty persons returned der all cirto be of the jury, or shall be outlawed upon such indictment, in every such cumstances case such person shall be deemed and taken to be convicted of the felony, consequent on and the court shall award such judgment as if such person had been convicted
the indictby verdici ; and every thing herein coulained shall extend as well to all acces
ment. (12 G.
3. c. 20.) See suries as to principals.
now 7 & 8 G. IX. And, for the more effectual prosecution of accessories before the fact 4.c. 28. Adto felony, be it enacled, That is any person shall counsel, procure, or com- dend 24 vol. mand any other person to comınit any felony, whether the same be a felony Accessory beat common law, or by virtue of any statute or slatutes made or to be made, fore the fact the person so counselling, procuring, or commanding, shall be deemed guilly may be tried of felony, and may be indicted and convicted, either as an accessory before as such, or as the fact to the principal felony, together with the principal feion, or after a substantive the conviction of the principal felon, or may be indicted and convicted of a felon, by any substantive felony, whether the principal felon shall or shall not bave been court which previously convicted, or shall or shall not be amen able to justice, and may
has jurisilicbe punished in the same manner as any accessory before the fact to the same
tion to try the felony, if convicted as an accessory, may be punished; and the offence of the principal se
lon, although person so counselling, procuring, or commanding, howsoever indicted, may be
the offence be enquired of, tried, determined, and punished by any Court which shall have committed on jurisdiction to try the principal felon, in the same manner as is such offence the seas or had been committed at the same place as the principal felony, although such abroad. (43 G. offence may bave been committed either on the bigh sưas or at any place on 3. c. 113. s. 5.) laod, whether within his Majesty's dominions or without; and that in case the If the offences principal felony shall have been committed within the body of any county, and be core mitted the offence of counselling, procuring, or commanding shall have been com- in different mitted within the body of any other county, the last-inentioned olence may counties, acbe inquired of, tried, determined, and punished, in either of such counties: cessory may be provided always, that no person who shall be once duly tried for any such tried in either. offence, whether as an accessory before the fact or as for a substantive felony, (2 & 3 Ed. 6. shall be liable to be again indicted or tried for the same offence.
G. 3. c. 113. s. X. And for the more effectual prosecution of accessories after the fact to
5.) felony, be it enacted, That if any person shall become an accessory after the fact to any felony, whether the same be a felony at common law, or by virtue Accessory af
ter the fact of any statute or statutes made or to be made, the offence of such person may be inquired of, tried, determined, and punished by any Court which shall have may be tried jurisdiction to try the principal felon, in the same manner as if the act, by which has jureason whereof such person shall bave become an accessory, had been com- risdiction to mitted at the same place as the principal felony, although such act may have try the princibeen committed either on the bigh seas or at any place on land, whether pai felon. within his Majesty's dominions or without; and that in case the principal if the offences felony shall have been committed ithin the body of any county, and the act be committed
c. 24. s. 4. 43
tried in any
by reason whereof any person shall have become accessory shall have been counties, ac- committed within the body of any other county, the offence of such accessory cessory may may be inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in either of such counbe tried in ties: provided always, that no person who shall be once duly tried for any either. (2 & 3 offence of being an accessory shall be liable to be again indicted or tried for Ed. 6. c. 34.
the same offence. 8. 4.)
XI. And in order that all accessories may be convicted and punished in Accessory may cases where the principal felon is not attainted, be it enacted, That if any priobe prosecuted cipal offender shall be in anywise convicted of any felony, it shall be lawful to after convic
proceed against any accessory, either before or after the fact, in the same tion of the
manner as if such principal felon bad been attainted thereof, notwithstanding principal,
such principal felon shall die or be admitted to the benefit of clergy, or parthough the
doned, or otherwise delivered before attainder; and every such accessory shall principal be not attainted,
suffer the same punishment, if he or she be in anywise convicted, as he or she &c. (1 Anne, should have suffered if the principal had been attainted. st. 2. c. 9. s. 1.)
XII. And for the more effectual prosecution of offences committed near the Offences com
boundaries of counties, or partly in one county and partly in another, be it mitted on the enacted, That where any felony or misdemeanor shall be committed on the boundaries of boundary or boundaries of two or more counties, or within the distance of counties may
five hundred yards of any such boundary or boundaries, or shall be begun in be tried in one county and completed in another, every such felony or misdemeanor may either county. be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in any of the said (59 G. 3. c.96. counties, in the same manner as if it had been actually and wholly committed s. 2.)
therein. Offences com XIII. And for the more effectual prosecution of offences committed during mitted during journies from place to place, be it enacted, That where any felony or misdea journey or meanor shall be committed on any person, or on or in respect of any property voyage may be in or upon any coach, waggon, cart, or other carriage whatever employed in
any journey, or shall be committed on any person, or on or in respect of any county property on board any vessel whatever employed on any voyage or journey through which the coach, &c.
upon any navigable river, canal, or inland navigation, such felony or misde passed. (59 G.
meanor may be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in 3. c. 27. and c. any county through any part whereof such coach, waggon, cart, carriage, or 96.)
vessel shall have passed in the course of the journey or voyage during which such felony or misdemeanor shall have been committed, in the same manner as if it had been actually committed in such county; and in all cases where the side, centre, or other part of any highway, or the side, bank, centre, or other part of any such river, canal, or navigation, shall constitute the boundary of any two counties, such felony or misdemeanor may be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in either of the said counties through or adjoining to or by the boundary of any part whereof such coach, waggon, cart, carriage, or vessel shall have passed in the course of the journey or voyage during which such felony or misdemeanor shall have been committed, in the
same manner as if it had been actually committed in such county. In indictments XIV. And in order to remove the difficulty of stating the names of all the for offences owners of property in the case of partners and other joint owners, be it encommitted on acted, That in any indictment or information for any felony or misdemeanor, the property of wherein it shall be requisite to state the ownership of any property whatsoever, partners, it
whether real or personal, which shall belong to or be in ihe possession of more may be laid in than one person, whether such persons be partners in trade, joint tenants, parany one part- ceners, or tenants in common, it shall be sufficient to name one of such perner by name, and others.
sons, and to state such property to belong to the person so named, and another, (56 G. 3. c. 73. or others, as the case may be ; and whenever, in any indictment or informaI G.4. c. 102.
tion for any felooy or misdemeanor, it shall be necessary to mention for any 6 G. 4. c. 56 )
purpose whatsoever, any partners, joint tenants, parceners, or tenants in com. mon),
it shall be sufficient to describe them in the manner aforesaid ; and this provision shall be construed to extend to all joint stock companies and trus
tees. Property be- XV. And with respect to the property of counties, ridings, and divisions, be longing to it enacted, That in any indictment or information for any felony or misdecounties, &c.
meanor committed in, upon, or with respect to any bridge, court, gaol, house! may be laid in of correction, infirmary, asylum, or other building, erected or maintained in the inhabitants whole or in part at the expense of any county, riding, or division, or on or of the county, with respect to any goods or chattels whatsoever, provided for or at the ex(43 G. 3. c. 59. s.3.)
pense of any county, riding, or division, to be used for making, altering, or