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mention of some of the most important, such as the abetment of any offence made punishable by way of summary conviction under the 24 & 25 Vict. cc. 96, 97 (9),—the stealing, or killing with intent to steal, any bird, beast or other domestic or confined animal not the subject of larceny at the common law (h),-killing or wounding forest deer (ë),-killing dogs or other animals (not being cattle) either the subject of larceny at common law or ordinarily kept confined (k),-stealing (or having in possession stolen) dogs(?),-stealing fences (m),—taking fish(n), -killing hares or rabbits (o),—doing certain malicious injuries to property (P),-receiving certain kinds of property knowing it to have been stolen (9),-injuring, &c., electric or magnetic telegraphs (r),—and injuring or stealing trees (s) or vegetable productions in gardens (t). As to assaults or batteries, also, the legislature has recently made fresh provisions with regard to the summary jurisdiction of justices. For, by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, S. 42 (u), when any person shall unlawfully assault or beat another, two justices of the peace, upon complaint of the party aggrieved, may hear and determine the offence: and may commit the offender to prison, with or without hard labour, for any period not exceeding two months; or else fine him to the extent of 51., and in default of payment, imprison him to the extent above mentioned. And if the assault or battery be on a male child, whose age, in the opinion of the justices, shall not exceed fourteen years, or be upon a female, the punishment inflicted may be by imprisonment, with or without hard labour,
(9) See 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 99; c. 97, s. 63.
(1) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, ss. 21, 22.
(p) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 97, s. 52.
(u) Re-enacting 9 Geo. 4, c. 31, s. 27, repealed by 24 & 25 Vict.
for as long as six months, or by a fine to the extent of 201., (or in default, imprisonment); and the offender may also be bound over to keep the peace for an additional six months (x). And the justices are required, in such charges, if on the hearing upon the merits they deem the assault or battery not proved, or justifiable, or too trifling to merit punishment, to give the party charged, in dismissing the complaint, a certificate of dismissal, which will operate as a bar to any further proceedings, civil or criminal (y). While, on the other hand, if they shall find that the assault or battery was accompanied by an attempt to commit any felony, or are of opinion that the same is, for any other circumstance, a fit subject for an indictment, they are to deal with the case as if they had no authority to determine the same.
And there is also a proviso preventing the justices from determining any case in which a question shall arise as to the title to lands, tenements or hereditaments, or any interest therein or accruing therefrom (z); or as to any bankruptcy, or any execution under the process of any court of justice (a).
Moreover, in addition to the summary jurisdiction conferred in such cases as above mentioned by 24 & 25 Vict. cc. 96, 97, justices are now also enabled, in certain cases, to dispose, in the same manner, even of charges of larceny. For, first, with respect to juvenile offenders, it is provided by 10 & 11 Vict. c. 82 (6), and 13 & 14 Vict. c. 37, that any person apparently not more than sixteen
age, who is charged with having committed, or attempted to
(2) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 43. The Queen v. Ebrington, 1 B. &
(y) Sects. 44, 45. As to the Smith, 688; Hartle v. Hindmarsh, species of assaults contemplated Law Rep., 1 C. P. 553; The Queen by this enactment, see Wilkinson v. Morris, ib. C. C. R. 90. v. Dutton, 3 B. & Smith, 821; as (7) See The Queen v. Pearson, to the effect of a conviction or Law Rep., 5 Q. B. 237. certificate on subsequent proceed- (a) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 46. ing, see Vaughton, app. v. Brad- (b) The returns required by this shaw, resp., 9 C. B., N. S. 103; Act to be made to a secretary of Hancock v. Somes, 1 E. & E. 795 ; state, are abolished by 21 & 22 Vict. Costar r. Hetherington, ib. 802;
commit, (or with having been an aider, abettor, counsellor, or procurer, in the commission of,) any offence by law deemed, or declared to be, simple larceny, or punishable as simple larceny-may, on conviction before two justices in open court at petty sessions (c), be imprisoned by them for three months, with or without hard labour; to which whipping may be added, if the offender be a male not over the age of fourteen years (d). And the Acts provide that if such justices, on the hearing of the case, shall deem the offence not to be proved, or that it is not expedient to inflict any punishment, they shall dismiss the party charged, (with or without requiring sureties for his future good behaviour,) and shall furnish him with a certificate stating such dismissal: and that, on obtaining such certificate, or on having been summarily convicted under the Acts, he shall be discharged from all further or other proceedings for the same cause. While, on the other hand, if the justices shall be of opinion that the charge is, from any circumstance, a fit subject for prosecution by indictment,-orif either the person charged, or his parents, shall object, when interrogated on the subject, to the case being summarily disposed of under the provisions of the Acts,—then that the justices shall proceed with the charge as in other cases of felony. Secondly, by 18 & 19 Vict. c. 126, the summary jurisdiction given by the above Acts is extended, and is made no longer to apply exclusively to the case of juvenile offenders. For it is by this last Act enacted that where any person is charged at petty sessions (e) with simple larceny (the
(c) By 10 & 11 Vict. c. 82, s. 2, justices must specify the number any metropolitan or other stipen- of strokes (which must not exceed diary police magistrate has the same twelve), and the instrument (viz. a jurisdiction as these Acts confer on birch rod) to be used in inflicting two or more justices at petty ses- them. sions.
(e) See 19 & 20 Vict. c. 118, pro(d) See 13 & 14 Vict. c. 37, s. 1. viding for the operation of this Act By 25 & 26 Vict. c. 18, in awarding in places not being within a petty the punishment of whipping, the sessional division.
value of the property stolen, in the opinion of the justices, not exceeding five shillings), or is charged with having attempted to commit either larceny from the person or simple larceny ;-the justices may proceed to hear and determine the charge in a summary way. And, (if the person charged shall confess the same, or the justices after hearing the whole case for the prosecution and for the defence shall find the charge to be proved, the justices may convict such person and commit him to prison, with or without hard labour, for any period not exceeding three calendar months : or, (if they find the charge not proved,) shall dismiss the charge and deliver to the person so tried a certificate of dismissal. There is, however, a proviso, that if the person charged do not consent to have the case so heard and determined; or if it shall appear that the offence is one which, owing to the previous conviction of the party charged, is punishable with penal servitude (e); or if it shall appear that the charge, from any other circumstances, should be proceeded on by way of indictment, rather than be disposed of summarily ;—the justices shall deal with the case, as if the Act had not passed. They are also authorized to dismiss the person charged without proceeding to a conviction,-if, on the hearing, there appear to be circumstances in the case which render it inexpedient to inflict any punishment.
Moreover the same Act contains a further provision, that where any person is charged at petty sessions with simple larceny, (the property alleged to have been stolen exceeding in value five shillings;) or with stealing from the person, or with larceny as a clerk or servant; and the evidence adduced by the prosecutor appears sufficient to put the person charged on his trial, and the case to be one which may properly be disposed of in a summary way and adequately punished under this Act,—such person may be asked, (after the charge has been reduced to writing,)
(e) Vide sup. p. 120, as to the case of larceny after a previous conviction for felony.
whether he is guilty or not thereof: and if he shall say that he is guilty, the justices may enter such plea on the proceedings; and may thereupon commit the offender to prison, with or without hard labour, for any term not exceeding six calendar months (f).
The course of proceeding upon summary convictions in general, was also regulated by the statute 11 & 12 Vict. c. 43(g); which consolidates and amends the previous provisions on the subject (h). Its effect may be shortly stated as follows:
Where a written information has been laid before any justice of the peace for any county or place in England or Wales, of any offence committed within his jurisdiction, and made punishable on summary conviction before one or more justices; or where any complaint, whether written or verbal, has been made before him in respect of a matter on which one or more justices have by law authority to make an order for the payment of money or otherwise;—he is to issue his summons to the party charged, requiring him to appear and answer the charge (i):
(f) 18 & 19 Vict. c. 126, s. 3. A tics, or under the Factory Acts. single police magistrate within the' (Sect. 33.) metropolitan district (or any stipen- (h) In the time of Blackstone, diary magistrate within the place the course of proceeding before for which he is appointed) has all magistrates had begun to take a the jurisdiction given by this Act regular shape, but seems to have to the justices in petty sessions. been attended at a prior period with (Sect. 16.)
but little ceremony. For he says, (9) The statute 11 & 12 Vict. c. (vol. iv. p. 283,) "The summons is 43, does not affect any of the pro- now held to be an indispensable visions in the Metropolitan Police requisite, though the justices long Acts,- viz. 2 & 3 Vict. cc. 47,71; 3 struggled the point, forgetting that & 4 Vict. c. 84; 19 & 20 Vict. c. 2; rule of natural reason expressed by 23 & 24 Vict. c. 135 ; 24 & 25 Seneca. Vict. c. 51; 27 & 28 Vict. c. 55; • Qui statuit aliquid, parte inaunor in the London Police Act, 2 & ditâ alterâ, 3 Vict. c. xciv. (and see 18 & 19 Æquum licet statuerit, haud equus. Vict. c. 120, s. 227.) Nor does the fuit.'” 11 & 12 Vict. c. 43, extend to pro- (i) 11 & 12 Vict. c. 43, s. 1, and ceedings under the excise or cus- see sect. 29. The form of the sumtoms, &c., or as to paapers or luna- mons and of the other instruments