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Official Secrets Act 1920

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8 Provisions as to trial and punishment of offences. E+W+S+N.I.

(1)Any person who is guilty of a felony under the principal Act or this Act shall be liable to penal servitude for a term of not less than three years and not exceeding fourteen years.

(2)Any person who is guilty of a misdemeanour under the principal Act or this Act shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment, . . . F1 for a term not exceeding two years, or, on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts, to imprisonment, . . . F1 for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds, or both such imprisonment and fine:

Provided that no misdemeanour under the principal Act or this Act shall be dealt with summarily except with the consent of the Attorney General.

(3)For the purposes of the trial of a person for an offence under the principal Act or this Act, the offence shall be deemed to have been committed either at the place in which the same actually was committed, or at any place in the United Kingdom in which the offender may be found.

(4)In addition and without prejudice to any powers which a court may possess to order the exclusion of the public from any proceedings if, in the course of proceedings before a court against any person for an offence under the principal Act or this Act or the proceedings on appeal, or in the course of the trial of a person for felony or misdemeanour under the principal Act or this Act, application is made by the prosecution, on the ground that the publication of any evidence to be given or of any statement to be made in the course of the proceedings would be prejudicial to the national safety, that all or any portion of the public shall be excluded during any part of the hearing, the court may make an order to that effect, but the passing of sentence shall in any case take place in public.

(5)Where the person guilty of an offence under the principal Act or this Act is a company or corporation, every director and officer of the company or corporation shall be guilty of the like offence unless he proves that the act or omission constituting the offence took place without his knowledge or consent.

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C1Reference to sentence of penal servitude to be construed as reference to sentence of imprisonment for term not exceeding fourteen years: (E.W) Criminal Justice Act 1948 (c. 58), s. 1(1) and (S.) Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 (c. 21), s. 221(1)

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