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Public Health (No. 2.) Criminal Justice.
Given under my Hand and under the Seal of the
General Board of Health, this Thirtieth day of
hundred and fifty-five.
(Signed) B. HALL.
CA P. CXXVI. An Act for diminishing Expense and Delay in the Administration of Criminal Justice in certain Cases.
[14th August 1855.) BE E it enacted by the Queen'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, as follows: Power to Jus- I. Where any Person is charged before any Justices of the tices at Petty Peace assembled at such Petty Sessions as herein-after provided, Sessions to
with having committed Simple Larceny, and the Value of the punish Persons charged with
whole of the Property alleged to have been stolen does not, in the Larceny, &c.
Judgment of such Justices, exceed Five Shillings, or with having summarily. attempted to commit Larceny from the Person, or Simple Lar
ceny, it shall be lawful for such Justices to hear and determine the Charge in a summary Way, and, if the Person charged shall confess the same, or if such Justices, after hearing the whole Case for the Prosecution and for the Defence, shall find the Charge to be proved, then it shall be lawful for such Justices to convict the Person charged, and commit him to the Common Gaol or House of Correction, there to be imprisoned, with or without Hard Labour, for any Period not exceeding Three Calendar Months, and if they find the Offence not proved they shall dismiss the Charge, and make out and deliver to the Person a charged Certificate under their Hands, stating the Fact of such Dismissal ; and every such Conviction and Certificate respectively
may be in the Forms (A.) and (B.) in the Schedule to this Act, or If Parties ac- to the like Effect: Provided always, that if the Person charged cused do not do not consent to have the Case heard and determined by such consent, Jus
Justices, or if it appear to such Justices that the Offence is one tices to deal with Cases as if which, owing to a previous Conviction of the Person charged, is this Act had
punishable by Law with Transportation or Penal Servitude, or if not passed. such Justices be of opinion that the Charge is, from any other Cir
cumstances, fit to be made the Subject of Prosecution by Indictment, rather than to be disposed of summarily, such Justices shall, instead of summarily adjudicating thereon, deal with the Case in all respects as if this Act had not been passed : Provided also, that if upon the Hearing of the Charge, such Justices shall be of opinion that there are Circumstances in the Case which render it inexpedient to inflict any Punishment, they shall have Power to dismiss the Person charged, without proceeding to a Conviction.
II. Where the Justices, before whom any Person is charged Justices to ask as aforesaid, propose to dispose of the Case summarily under the the accused foregoing Provisions, One of such Justices, after the Examina- whether he contions of all the Witnesses for the Prosecution have been
sents to the
Charge being pleted, and before calling upon the Person charged for any
summarily ment which he may wish to make, shall state to such Person the determined. Substance of the Charge against him, and shall then say to him these Words, or Words to the like Effect : “Do you consent that " the Charge against you shall be tried by us, or do you desire " that it shall be sent for Trial by a Jury at the Sessions or “ Assizes" (as the Case may be); and if the Person charged shall consent to the Charge being summarily tried and determined as aforesaid, then the Justices shall reduce the Charge into Writing, and read the same to such Person, and shall then ask him whether he is guilty or not of such Charge ; and if such Person shall say that he is guilty, the Justices shall then proceed to pass such Sentence upon
him as may by Law be passed, subject to the Provisions of this Act in respect to such Offence; but if the Person charged shall say that he is not guilty, the Justices shall then inquire of such Person whether he has any Defence to make to such Charge, and if he shall state that he has a Defence, the Justices shall hear such Defence, and then proceed to dispose of the Case summarily.
III. Where any Person is charged before any Justices at such Persons charged Petty Sessions as aforesaid with Simple Larceny (the Property with Larceny, alleged to have been stolen exceeding in Value Five Shillings), &c. may plead or stealing from the Person, or Larceny as a Clerk or Servant, Justices in and the Evidence, when the Case on the Part of the Prosecution Petty Sessions, has been completed, is, in the Opinion of such Justices, sufficient and be sento put the Person charged on his Trial for the Offence with which tenced forth
with. he is charged, such Justices, if the Case appear to them to be one which may properly be disposed of in a summary Way, and may be adequately punished by virtue of the Powers of this Act, shall reduce the Charge into Writing, and shall read it to the said Person, and shall then ask him whether he is guilty or not of the Charge; and if such Person shall say that he is guilty, such Justices shall thereupon cause a Plea of guilty to be entered upon the Proceedings, and shall convict him of such Offence, and commit him to the Common Gaol or House of Correction, there to be imprisoned, with or without Hard Labour, for any Term not ex. ceeding Six Calendar Months; and every such Conviction may be in the Form (C.) in the Schedule to this Act, or to the like Effect: Provided always, that the said Justices, before they ask Justices to warn such Person whether he is guilty or not, shall explain to him that Accused that he he is not obliged to plead or answer before them at all, and that is not obliged to if he do not plead or answer before them, he will be committed plead. for Trial in the usual Course.
IV. In every Case of summary Proceeding under this Act the Persons accused Person accused shall be allowed to make his full Answer and may have Defence, and to have all Witnesses examined and cross-examined Counsel, &c. by Counsel or Attorney.
Power to re- V. Where any Person is charged before any Justice Justices mand Persons
with any Offence mentioned in this Act, and, in the Opinion of charged to next such Justice or Justices, the Case may be proper to be disposed Petty Sessions.
of by Justices in Petty Sessions under this Act, the Justice or 11 & 12 Vict.
Justices before whom such Person is so charged may, if he or they C. 42. s. 21. 14 & 15 Vict.
see fit, remand such Person for further Examination to the next c. 93. s. 14. Petty Sessions, in like Manner in all respects as a Justice or Jus
tices are authorized to remand a Party accused under the Act passed in the Session holden in the Eleventh and Twelfth Years of Her Majesty, Chapter Forty-two, Section Twenty-one, or under
the Petty Sessions Act (Ireland), 1851, Section Fourteen. Forfeited Re- VI. If any Person suffered to go at large, upon entering into cognizances to such Recognizance as the Justice or Justices are authorized under be transmitted the last-mentioned Act to take on the Remand of a Party acto Clerk of Peace.
cused, do not afterwards appear pursuant to such Recognizance, then the Justices before whom he ought to have appeared, shall certify (under the Hands of Two of them) on the Back of the Recognizance, to the Clerk of the Peace of the County or Place, the Fact of such Nonappearance, and such Recognizance shall be proceeded upon in like Manner as other Recognizances, and such Certificate shall be deemed sufficient primâ facie Evidence of such
Nonappearance. Convictions and VII. The Justices adjudicating under this Act shall transmit other Proceed- the Conviction, or a Duplicate of a Certificate of Dismissal, with turned to Quar. the written Charge, the Depositions of the Witnesses for the Proter Sessions. secution and for the Defence, and the Statement of the Accused,
to the next Court of General or Quarter Sessions for the County or Place, there to be kept by the proper Officer among the Records of the Court; and a Copy of such Conviction, or of such Certificate of Dismissal, certified by the proper Officer of the Court, or proved to be a true Copy, shall be sufficient Evidence to prove a Conviction or Dismissal for the Offence mentioned therein, in any legal
Proceeding whatever. Justices may
VIII. It shall be lawful for the Justices, by whom any Person order Restitu.
is convicted under this Act, to order Restitution of the Property tion of Pro
stolen, taken, or obtained by false Pretences, in those Cases in perty.
which the Court, before whom the Person convicted would have been tried but for this Act, may be by Law authorized to order
Restitution. Petty Sessions
IX. Every Petty Sessions, for the Purposes of this Act, shall to be an open
be an open Public Court, and shall be the Petty Sessions holden Court, &c.
for a Petty Sessional Division ; and a written or printed Notice of the Days and Hours for holding such Petty Sessions shall be posted or affixed by the Clerk to the Justices of Petty Sessions upon the Outside of some conspicuous Part of the Building or
Place where the same are held. 11 & 12 Vict. X. The Provisions of the Act of the Session holden in the c. 43. not to Eleventh and Twelfth Years of Her Majesty, Chapter Fortyapply, &c.
three, shall not be construed as applying to any Proceeding under his Act.
XI. Every Conviction by Justices in Petty Sessions under this Effect of Act shall have the same effect as a Conviction upon Indictment Conviction. for the same Offence would have bad, save that no Conviction under this Act shall be attended with any Forfeiture.
XII. Every Person who obtains a Certificate of Dismissal, or Further is convicted under this Act, shall be released from all further or Proceedings other Criminal Proceedings for the same Cause.
barred. XIII. No Conviction, Sentence, or Proceeding under this Act No Conviction shall be quashed for Want of Form; and no Warrant of Com- quashed for mitment upon a Conviction shall be held void by reason of any Want of Form. Defect therein, if it be therein alleged that the Offender has been convicted, and there be a good and valid Conviction to sustain the same.
XIV. Where any Charge is summarily adjudicated upon under Justices may this Act, or an Offender is, under this Act, convicted by Justices order Payment in Petty Sessions upon a Plea of “Guilty,” it shall be lawful for of Expenses. the Justices by whom such Charge has been adjudicated upon, or Offender convicted, upon the Request of any Person who has preferred the Charge or appeared to prosecute or give Evidence against the Person charged, if such Justices think fit so to do, to grant a Certificate to such Person of the Amount of the Compensation which such Justices may deem reasonable for his Expenses, Trouble, and Loss of Time therein, subject nevertheless to the Regulations made or to be made as herein-after mentioned; and every such Certificate shall, when granted in England, have the Effect of an Order of Court for the Payment of the Expenses of a Prosecution made under the Act of the Seventh Year of 7 G. 4. c. 64. King George the Fourth, Chapter Sixty-four, and the Acts amending the same, and when granted in Ireland shall have the Effect of an Order of Court for the Payment of the Expenses of a Prosecution made under the Act of the Fifty-fifth Year of King George 55 G. 3. c. 91. the Third, Chapter Ninety-one, and the Acts amending the same; and the Amount mentioned in such Certificate shall be paid in like Manner as the Money mentioned in such Order of Court ; and all Certificates to be granted under this Act shall be subject to the like Regulations made or to be made in relation thereto, as the Certificates mentioned in the said Act of the Seventh Year of King George the Fourth to be granted by examining Magistrates, are or may be subject to under the Act of the Session holden in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Years of Her Majesty, Chapter Fifty- 14 & 15 Vict. five: Provided also, that the Amount of the Fees payable to the c. 55. Clerks of the Magistrates in Petty Sessions, in respect of any Proceeding under this Act, and of the Fees payable to the Clerks of the Peace for filing the Depositions, Conviction, or Certificate of Dismissal aforesaid, and of all such Expenses of apprehending the Person charged, and detaining him in Custody, and of such other Expenses as are now by Law payable when incurred before a Commitment for Trial, may be added to the Certificate for Compensation aforesaid, and paid in the like Manner.
XV. In every City, Borough, Town, or Place in England where 9 & 10 Vict. any Petty Sessions shall be holden under this Act, the Town Hall, c. 95. Court House, or other public Building therein belonging to any Court House,
Town Hall, 18 & 19 Vict. 3 E
&c. of County, County, City, Borough, Town, or Place, or any Court House in City, or Bo
such City, Borough, Town, or Place provided by the Commissionrough may
be used for Petty
ers of Her Majesty's Treasury, under the Act of the Session holden Sessions held
in the Ninth and Tenth Years of Her Majesty, Chapter Ninety-five, under this Act. may be used for the Purpose of holding such Petty Sessions, without
any Charge for Rent or other Payment, save and except the reasonable and necessary Charges for lighting, warming, and cleaning, when such public Building is used for the Purpose of holding such Courts of Petty Sessions, and for all other Expenses necessarily incidental to the Use of the said Building for the Purposes of the said Courts : Provided always, that the necessary Arrangements shall be made so that the Sittings of the said Courts of Petty Sessions shall not interfere with the Business of the County, City, Borough, Town, or Place or other Business usually transacted in such Town Hall, Court House, or other public Building, or any Purpose for which any such Town Hall, Court House, or other public Building may be used by virtue of any Act of Parliament
in that Behalf. Any Metropo- XVI. Any One of the Magistrates appointed to act at any of litan Police
the Police Courts of the Metropolis, and sitting at a Police Court Magistrate or
within the Metropolitan Police District, or any Magistrate appointed Stipendiary Magistrate may to act at the Police Courts of the Dublin Metropolitan District, and act alone, sitting at a Police Court within the said District, or any Stipendiary
Magistrate appointed for any City, Town, Liberty, Borough, or District, and sitting at a Police Court or other Place appointed in that Behalf, may, in the Case of Persons charged before such Magistrate, do alone all Acts by this Act authorized to be done by Justices of the Peace in Petty Sessions; and all the Provisions of this Act referring to Justices in Petty Sessions shall be read and
construed as referring also to such Magistrate. Nothing to af. XVII. Nothing in this Act shall affect the Provisions of the fect Provisions Act of the Session holden in the Tenth and Eleventh Years of Her of 10 & 11 Viet. Majesty, Chapter Eighty-two, “For the more speedy Trial and 13 & 14 Vict. Punishment of Juvenile Offenders," or of the Act of the Session
holden in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Years of Her Majesty, 14 & 15 Viet. Chapter Thirty-seven, “For the further Extension of Summary
Jurisdiction in Cases of Larceny," or of the Summary Jurisdiction (Ireland) Act, 1851 ; and this Act shall not extend to Persons punishable under the said Acts, so far as regards Offences for which
such Persons may be punished thereunder. As to Compen- XVIII. “And whereas the Fees and Emoluments of Clerks of sation to Clerks « the Peace for Counties and Boroughs, and of other Officers of of Peace and other Officers.
• the Courts of Quarter Sessions, in Criminal Proceedings, may be
seriously diminished by the Operation and Effect of this Act, and . it is just and reasonable that full Compensation for any such Loss ' should be made in respect thereof to such Clerks of the Peace ' and other Officers appointed before the passing of this Act: Be it enacted, That immediately after the passing of this Act, the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury shall, upon the Application of any such Clerk of the Peace or other Officer, by such Means and in such Manner as they may think proper, inquire into and ascertain the annual Amount, to be computed upon an