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Post Office Act 1969

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24Exclusive privilege of the Post Office with respect to telecommunication

(1)Subject to the following provisions of this Act, as from the appointed day, the Post Office shall have throughout the British Islands, the exclusive privilege of running systems for the conveyance, through the agency of electric, magnetic, electro-magnetic, electro-chemical or electro-mechanical energy of—

(a)speech, music and other sounds ;

(b)visual images;

(c)signals serving for the impartation (whether as between persons and persons, things and things or persons and things) of any matter otherwise than in the form of sound or visual images ; and

(d)signals serving for the actuation or control of machinery or apparatus.

(2)In the case of an infringement, in relation to a system not extending beyond the British Islands, of the privilege conferred by the foregoing subsection, the person running the system (or, if different people run different parts of it, each of them), shall be guilty of an offence and liable.—

(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £400;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both,

and, in the case of an infringement, in relation to a system extending beyond those Islands, of that privilege, the person running the portion of the system within those Islands (or, if different people run different parts of it, each of them) shall be guilty of an offence and similarly liable.

(3)Where a body corporate is guilty of an offence under this section and that offence is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he, as well as the body corporate, shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. In this subsection, the expression "director ", in relation to a body corporate established by or under any enactment for the purpose of carrying on under national ownership any industry or part of an industry or undertaking, being a body corporate whose affairs are managed by its members, means a member of that body corporate.

(4)In any proceedings in respect of an offence under this section consisting in the running of a system in the case of which, at the time of the commission of the offence, different parts were run by different persons, it shall be a defence for the defendant to prove that a part of the system had been included without his knowledge and that, had it not been, the running of the system would not have constituted an infringement of the privilege conferred by subsection (1) above.

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