Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cent exposure of the person: and the public selling or exposure for public sale, or to public view, of any obscene book, print, picture, or other indecent exhibition :—the punishment of which is fine or imprisonment, or both, with hard labour at the discretion of the court (r). Moreover, by 20 & 21 Vict. c. 83, upon complaint made, on oath before two justices (s), that obscene books, papers, writings, prints, pictures, drawings, or other representations are, to the complainant's belief, kept in some place for the purpose of being sold, distributed, exhibited, lent on hire, or otherwise published, for gain ;—and that one or more articles of the like character have been published at or in connection with such place, so as to satisfy the justices that such belief of the complainant is well founded,-such justices may, (on being satisfied that any articles so kept are of such a character and description that the publication of them would be a misdemeanor, and proper to be prosecuted as such,) issue a special warrant authorizing an entry of the place specified in the complaint in the day-time by the police, by force if necessary ; and the seizure and destruction, (if the owner does not show good cause to the contrary,) of the articles in question. An appeal, however, is given by this Act to any person aggrieved, to the next general or quarter sessions of the peace (t).


V. Drunkenness also may be referred to this head; and is punished by statute 4 Jac. I. c. 5, and 21 Jac. I. c. 7, s. 3, with the forfeiture of five shillings, to be paid, within one week after conviction, to the churchwardens, for the use of the poor: and upon a second conviction, the offender shall be bound with two suretics in 101, for his good behaviour. And if the drunkenness be accompanied with any riotous or indecent behaviour, committed in a street of any town within the police provisions of

(r) 11 & 15 Vict. c. 100, s. 29.

(s) The same powers are given by the Act (scct. 1) to any single

metropolitan or stipendiary magis.
(t) 20 & 21 Vict. c. 82, s. 4.

10 & 11 Vict. c. 89, the offence, by the 29th section of that Act, is punishable by a penalty not exceeding forty shillings, or seven days' imprisonment (2). Moreover, . by “ The Licensing Act, 1872" (35 & 36 Vict. c. 94), sect. 12, every person found drunk in any highway or other public place, whether a building or not, or on any licensed premises, is made liable to a penalty not exceeding ten shillings; and on a second conviction within twelve months, twenty shillings; and on a third or subsequent conviction within such period, forty shillings; while, if the drunkenness be accompanied with riotous or disorderly behaviour, or while the offender is in charge of a carriage, horse, cattle or steam engine, or while in the possession of loaded firearms, the same penalty as last mentioned may be imposed, or he may be sentenced to imprisonment for any term not exceeding one month, with or without hard labour.

VI. Another offence, which seems properly to rank under this head, is that of wanton and furious driving ; as to which, it is declared by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, that if any person, having the charge of any carriage or vehicle, shall by wanton or furious driving, or racing, or other wilful misconduct or neglect do, or cause to be done, any bodily harm to any person whatsoever, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be imprisoned with or without hard labour to the extent of two years (y). It may be remarked that the enactment, that such conduct shall amount to a misdemeanor, must be taken as declaratory only of the common law; according to which it is misdemeanor,—and may even amount to manslaughter or murder,--for any person to drive or ride so wantonly and furiously, as to endanger the passengers on the highway (2).

(2) See Martin v. Pridgeon, 1 E. behaviour (sect. 71). & E. 778.

(2) Fost. 263; see R. t. Mastin, (y) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 35. 6 C. & P. 396; R. v. Taylor, o The offender may also be bound C. & P. 672. over to keep the peace or be of good

VII. A seventh offence is that of cruelty to animals; it being enacted by 12 & 13 Vict. c. 92 (amended by 17 & 18 Vict. c. 60), that if any person shall cruelly beat, ill-treat, over-drive, abuse, or torture any horse, mare, gelding, bull, ox, cow, heifer, steer, calf, mule, ass, sheep, lamb, hog, pig, sow, goat, dog (a), cat, or any other domestic animal, he shall forfeit a sum not exceeding 51. for every such offence, recoverable before a justice of the peace in a summary way; and if by any such misconduct he shall injure the animal, or any person or property, a further sum not exceeding 101. to the owner or person injured (b). The Acts also inflict penalties in the case of conveying any such animal from one place to another in such a manner or position, as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering; and also in the case of bull-baiting, cock-fighting, and the like (c). And they make a variety of humane provisions for the regulation of the business of slaughtering horses, and other cattle not intended for butcher's meat (d). They contain also provisions for ensuring a proper supply of food and water, to all animals that shall be impounded.

VIII. Another misdemeanor against the public economy is that of concealing a birth. For by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100 (e), it is enacted, that if a woman be delivered of a


(a) By 2 & 3 Vict. c. 47, (ex- Ell. & Bl. 281; Colam, app., Hall, tended by 17 & 18 Vict. c. 60, s. 2) resp., Law Rep., 6 Q. B. 206. it is prohibited, under a penalty, to (d) See also the previous Act of use any dog for the purposes of 7 & 8 Vict. c. 87; and as to slaughdraught.

terhouses, &c., 26 Geo. 3, c. 71. (6) Previous Acts on the same (e) This statute describes itself subject, 3 Geo. 4, c. 71, and 3 Will. 4, as one relating to offences against c. 19, were repealed by 5 & 6 Will. 4, the person; but the misdemeanor c. 59; and the Act last mentioned, in question appears more properly by 12 & 13 Vict. c. 92.

to be classed as an offence against (c) See Clarke, app. v. Hague, the public police or economy. The resp., 29 L. J. (M. C.) 105; Mosley, provision on the subject contained app.,Greenhalgh, resp., 3B. & Smith, in 9 Geo. 4, c. 31, s. 14, is repealed 374; Clark, app. v. Hague, resp., 2 by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 95.

child, every person who shall, by any secret disposition of the dead body of such child, (whether such child died before or after its birth,) endeavour to conceal the birth, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and be liable to be imprisoned, with or without hard labour, for any term not more than two years (9). It is also provided, that

9 if any person tried for the murder of a child shall be acquitted thereof, it shall be lawful for the same jury, to find such person guilty (if the case be so) of endeavouring to conceal the birth: upon which the court may pass the same sentence, as if such person had been convicted upon an indictment for the concealment (n).

IX. Taking up dead bodies from the place where they have been interred, for the purpose of dissection or otherwise, is also a misdemeanor at common law, and punishable with fine and imprisonment (i). And under this



[ocr errors]

(9) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 60. “ nevertheless also to be met with in The offender, if the court think fit, “ the criminal codes of many other may also, in addition to or in lieu “ nations of Europe,--as the Danes, of any other punishment, be bound “ the Swedes, and the French;" and over to keep the peace and be of goes on to remark, that "it had good behaviour (sect. 71).

- “ of late years been usual with us (1) Sect. 60. The law on this sub- in England, upon trials for this ject was formerly different. For by “ offence, to require some sort of 21 Jac. 1, c. 27, it was enacted, that if presumptive evidence that the any woman was delivered of a child, “child was born alive; before the which, if born alive, would have “ other constrained presumption,been by law a bastard, and endea- “ that the child whose death is convoured privately to conceal its birth, “ cealed was therefore killed by its by burying the child or the like, the parent-was admitted to convict mother so offending should suffer “ the prisoner.” This statute was death, as in the case of murder, un- afterwards repealed by 43 Geo. 3, less she could prove, by one witness c. 58, which provided that the trials at least, that the child was actually of women charged with the murder born dead. A law as to which Black- of any of their issue, which would stone remarks (vol. iv. p. 198), that, by law be bastard, should proceed “though it savours pretty strongly by the like rules of evidence and of severity, in making the conceal- presumption as were allowed in other “ ment of the death almost conclu- trials for murder. “ sive evidence of the child's being (i) See Arch. Cr. Pr. 675; R. v. “ murdered by the mother, it is Lynn, 2 T. R. 733; 2 East's P. C.

head may also be noticed the offence, of refusing to bury dead bodies by those whose duty it is so to do; which appears to be punishable by the temporal courts, (independently of spiritual censures,) on indictment or information (k).

X. Refusing to serve a public office (such as that of constable or overseer), without lawful excuse or exemption, is also a misdemeanor at common law, punishable with fine and imprisonment (1).

XI. Another offence, ranging itself under our present head, is that of the illegal destruction of such beasts and fowl as are ranked under the denomination of game; concerning which, (considered as a species of property,) we had occasion in a former volume to enter into some discussion.

It will be necessary here, however, to add to what is there contained, some notice of the penal enactments relative to its destruction in the night-time; when (from obvious considerations) it is treated as an offence of considerable gravity. Accordingly by 9 Geo. IV. c. 69, and 7 & 8 Vict. c. 29 (m), it is provided, that if any person shall, by night (n), unlawfully take or destroy any game

c. 16, s. 89; R. v. Duffin, R. & R. C.C. R. 365; The Queen v. Sharpe, 26 L. J. (M. C.) 47; 2 & 3 Will. 4,

c. 75.

(k) Andrews v. Cawthorne, Willes, 527, n. a; and see Mastin v. Escott, decided May 8, 1841, by Sir H. Jenner Fust; and Kemp v. Wickes, 2 Phil. Rep. 264. As to the interment of dead bodies cast on shore from the sea, see 48 Geo. 3, c. 75.

(1) Arch. Cr. P. 769. See R. v. Poynder, 1 B. & C. 178; R. v. Bower,

ibid. 587.

(m) There is also a provision in 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. 17, with respect to the unlawful taking or killing hares or rabbits in warrens, by night.

(n) By 9 Geo. 4, c. 69, s. 12, the night, for the purpose of this provision, shall be considered to commence at the expiration of one hour after sunset, and to conclude at the beginning of the last hour before sunrise.

« EelmineJätka »