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Conspiracy, and Protection of Property Act 1875

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Conspiracy, and Protection of Property Act 1875

1875 CHAPTER 86

An Act for amending the Law relating to Conspiracy, and to the Protection of Property, and for other purposes.

[13th August 1875]

Be it enactedby 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:

Short title.

1This Act may be cited as the Conspiracy, and Protection of Property Act, 1875.

Commencement of Act.

2This Act shall come into operation on the first day of September one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five.

Conspiracy, and Protection of Property

Amendment of law as to conspiracy in trade disputes.

3An agreement or combination by two or more persons to do or procure to be done any act in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute between employers and workmen shall not be indictable as a conspiracy if such act committed by one person would not be punishable as a crime.

Nothing in this section shall exempt from punishment any persons guilty of a conspiracy for which a punishment is awarded by any Act of Parliament.

Nothing in this section shall affect the law relating to riot, unlawful assembly, breach of the peace, or sedition, or any offence against the State or the Sovereign.

A crime for the purposes of this section means an offence punishable on indictment, or an offence which is punishable on summary conviction, and for the commission of which the offender is liable under the statute making the offence punishable to be imprisoned either absolutely or at the discretion of the court as an alternative for some other punishment.

Where a person is convicted of any such agreement or combination as aforesaid to do or procure to be done an act which is punish able only on summary conviction, and is sentenced to imprisonment, the imprisonment shall not exceed three months, or such longer time, if any, as may have been prescribed by the statute for the punishment of the said act when committed by one person.

Breach of contract by persons employed in supply of gas or water.

4Where a person employed by a municipal authority or by any company or contractor upon whom is imposed by Act of Parliament the duty, or who hare otherwise assumed the duty of supplying any city, borough, town, or place, or any part thereof, with gas or water, wilfully and maliciously breaks a contract of service with that authority or company or contractor, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the probable consequences of his so doing, either alone or in combination with others, will be to deprive the inhabitants of that city, borough, town, place, or part, wholly or to a great extent of their supply of gas or water, he shall on conviction thereof by a court of summary jurisdiction or on indictment as herein-after mentioned, be liable either to pay a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds or to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, with or without hard labour.

Every such municipal authority, company, or contractor as is mentioned in this section shall cause to be posted up, at the gasworks or waterworks, as the case may be, belonging to such authority or company or contractor, a printed copy of this section in some conspicuous place where the same may be conveniently read by the persons employed, and as often as such copy becomes defaced, obliterated, or destroyed, shall cause it to be renewed with all reasonable despatch.

If any municipal authority or company or contractor make default in complying with the provisions of this section in relation to such notice as aforesaid, they or he shall incur on summary conviction a penalty not exceeding five pounds for every day during which such default continues, and every person who unlawfully injures, defaces, or covers up any notice so posted up as aforesaid in pursuance of this Act, shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding forty shillings.

Breach of contract involving injury to persons or property.

5Where any person wilfully and maliciously breaks a contract of service or of hiring, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the probable consequences of his so doing, either alone or in combination with others, will be to endanger human life, or cause serious bodily injury, or to expose valuable property whether real or personal to destruction or serious injury, he shall on conviction thereof by a court of summary jurisdiction, or on indictment as herein-after mentioned, be liable either to pay a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds, or to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, with or without hard labour.

Miscellaneous

Penalty for neglect by master to provide food, clothing, &c. for servant or apprentice.

6Where a master; being legally liable to provide for his servant or apprentice necessary food, clothing, medical aid, or lodging, wilfully and without lawful excuse refuses or neglects to provide the same, whereby the health of the servant or apprentice is or is likely to be seriously or permanently injured, he shall on summary conviction be liable either to pay a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds, or to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding six months, with or without hard labour.

Penalty for intimidation or annoyance by violence or otherwise.

7Every person who, with a view to compel any other person to abstain from doing or to do any act which such other person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully and without legal authority,—

(1)Uses violence to or intimidates such other person or his wife or children, or injures his property; or,

(2)Persistently follows such other person about from place to place; or,

(3)Hides any tools, clothes, or other property owned or used by such other person, or deprives him of or hinders him in the use thereof; or,

(4)Watches or besets the house or other place where such, other person resides, or works, or carries on business, or happens to be, or the approach to such house or place; or,

(5)Follows such other person with two or more other persons in a disorderly manner in or through any street or road,

shall, on conviction thereof by a court of summary jurisdiction, or on indictment as herein-after mentioned, be liable either to pay a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds, or to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, with or without hard labour. Attending at or near the house or place where a person resides, or works, or carries on business, or happens to be, or the approach to such house or place, in order merely to obtain or communicate information, shall not be deemed a watching or besetting within the meaning of this section.

Reduction of penalties.

8Where in any Act relating to employers or workmen a pecuniary penalty is imposed in respect of any offence under such Act, and no power is given to reduce such penalty, the justices or court having jurisdiction in respect of such offence may, if they think it just so to do, impose by way of penalty in respect of such offence any sum not less than one fourth of the penalty imposed by such Act.

Legal Proceedings

Power for offender under this Act to be tried on indictment and not by court of summary jurisdiction.

9Where a person is accused before a court of summary jurisdiction of any offence made punishable by this Act, and for which a penalty amounting to twenty pounds, or imprisonment, is imposed, the accused may, on appearing before the court of summary jurisdiction, declare that he objects to being tried for such offence by a court of summary jurisdiction, and thereupon the court of summary jurisdiction may deal with the case in all respects as if the accused were charged with an indictable offence and not an offence punishable on summary conviction, and the offence may be prosecuted on indictment accordingly.

Proceedings before court of summary jurisdiction.

10Every offence under this Act which is made punishable on conviction by a court of summary jurisdiction or on summary conviction, and every penalty under this Act recoverable on summary conviction, may be prosecuted and recovered in manner provided by the Summary Jurisdiction Act.

Regulations as to evidence.

11Provided, that upon the hearing and determining of any indictment or information under sections four, five, and six of this Act, the respective parties to the contract of service, their husbands or wives, shall be deemed and considered as competent witnesses.

Appeal to quarter sessions.

12In England or Ireland, if any party feels aggrieved by any conviction made by a court of summary jurisdiction on determining any information under this Act, the party so aggrieved may appeal therefrom, subject to the conditions and regulations following:

(1)The appeal shall be made to some court of general or quarter sessions for the county or place in which the cause of appeal has arisen, holden not less than fifteen days and not more than four months after the decision of the court from which the appeal is made :

(2)The appellant shall, within seven days after the cause of appeal has arisen, give notice to the other party and to the court of summary jurisdiction of his intention to appeal, and of the ground thereof:

(3)The appellant shall immediately after such notice enter into a recognizance before a justice of the peace, with or without sureties, conditioned personally to try such appeal, and to abide the judgment of the court thereon, and to pay such costs as may be awarded by the court:

(4)Where the appellant is in custody the justice may, if he think fit, on the appellant entering into such recognizance as aforesaid, release him from custody:

(5)The court of appeal may adjourn the appeal, and upon the hearing thereof they may confirm,' reverse, or modify the decision of the court of summary jurisdiction, or remit the matter to the court of summary jurisdiction with the opinion of the court of appeal thereon, or make such other order in the matter as the court thinks just, and if the matter be remitted to the court of summary jurisdiction the said last-mentioned court shall thereupon re-hear and decide the information in accordance with the opinion of the said court of appeal. The court of appeal may also make such order as to costs to be paid by either party as the court thinks just.

Definitions

General definitions.

13In this Act,—

  • The expression " the Summary Jurisdiction Act" means the Act of the session of the eleventh and twelfth years of the reign of Her present Majesty, chapter forty-three, intituled " An Act to facilitate " the performance of the duties of justices of the peace out of " sessions within England and Wales with respect to summary " convictions and orders," inclusive of any Acts amending the same; and The expression "court of summary jurisdiction" means—

    (1)

    As respects the city of London, the Lord Mayor or any alderman, of the said city sitting at the Mansion House or Guildhall justice room; and

    (2)

    As respects any police court division in the Metropolitan police district, any Metropolitan police magistrate sitting at the police court for that division; and

    (3)

    As respects any city, town, liberty, borough, place, or district for which a stipendiary magistrate is for the time being acting, such stipendiary magistrate sitting at a police court or other place appointed in that behalf; and

    (4)

    Elsewhere, any justice or justices of the peace to whom jurisdiction is given by the Summary Jurisdiction Act: Provided that, as respects any case within the cognisance of such justice or justices as last aforesaid, an information under this Act shall be heard and determined by two or more justices of the peace in petty sessions sitting at some place appointed for holding petty sessions. Nothing in this section contained shall restrict the jurisdiction of-the Lord Mayor or any alderman of the city of London, or of any metropolitan police or stipendiary magistrate, in respect of any act or jurisdiction which may now be done or exercised by him out of court.

Definitions of "municipal authority" and "public company".

14The expression " municipal authority " in this Act means any of the following authorities, that is to say, the Metropolitan Board of Works, the Common Council of the city of London, the Commissioners of Sewers of the city of London, the town council of any borough for the time being subject to the Act of the session of the fifth and sixth years of the reign of King William the Fourth, chapter seventy-six, intituled " An Act to provide for the Regulation of Municipal Corporations in England and Wales," and any Act amending the same, any commissioners, trustees, or other persons invested by any local Act of Parliament with powers of improving, cleansing, lighting, or paving any town, and any local board. Any municipal authority or company or contractor who has obtained authority by or in pursuance of any general or local Act of Parliament to supply the streets of any city, borough, town, or place, or of any part thereof, with gas, or which is required by or in pursuance of any general or local Act of Parliament to supply water on demand to the inhabitants of any city, borough, town, or place, or any part thereof, shall for the purposes of this Act be deemed to be a municipal authority or company or contractor upon whom is imposed by Act of Parliament the duty of supplying such city, borough, town, or place, or part thereof, with gas or water.

" Maliciously" in this Act construed as in Malicious Injuries to Property Act.

15The word "maliciously" used in reference to any offence under this Act shall be construed in the same manner as it is required by the fifty-eighth section of the Act relating to malicious injuries to property, that is to say, the Act of the session of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth years of the reign of Her present Majesty, chapter ninety-seven, to be construed in reference to any offence committed under such last-mentioned Act.

Saving Clause

Saving as to sea service.

16Nothing in this Act shall apply to seamen or to apprentices to the sea service.

Repeal

Repeal of Acts.

17On and after the commencement of this Act, there shall be repealed :—

I. The Act of the session of the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth years of the reign of Her present Majesty, chapter thirty-two, intituled " An Act to amend the Criminal Law relating to " violence, threats, and molestation;" and II. " The Master and Servant Act, 1867," and the enactments specified in the First Schedule to that Act, with the exceptions following as to the enactments in such Schedule; (that is to say,)

(1)Except so much of sections one and two of the Act passed in the thirty-third year of the reign of King George the Third, chapter fifty-five, intituled " An Act to authorise justices of the peace to impose fines upon constables, " overseers, and other peace or parish officers for neglect of " duty, and on masters of apprentices for ill-usage of such " their apprentice; and also to make provision for the " execution of warrants of distress granted by magistrates," as relates to constables, overseers, and other peace or parish officers ; and

(2)Except so much of sections five and six of an Act passed in the fifty-ninth year of the reign of King George the Third, chapter ninety-two, intituled " An Act to enable " justices of the peace in Ireland to act as such, in certain " cases, out of the limits of the counties in which they " actually are; to make provision for the execution of " warrants of distress granted by them; and to authorise " them to impose fines upon constables and other officers " for neglect of duty, and on masters for ill-usage of their " apprentices," as relates to constables and other peace or parish officers ; and

(3)Except the Act of the session of the fifth and sixth years of the reign of Her present Majesty, chapter seven, intituled "An Act to explain the Acts for the better " regulation of certain apprentices;" and

(4)Except sub-sections one, two, three, and five of section sixteen of "The Summary Jurisdiction (Ireland) Act, 1851," relating to certain disputes between employers and the persons employed by them; and

III. Also there shall be repealed the following enactments making breaches of contract criminal, and relating to the recovery of wages by summary procedure ; (that is to say,)

(a)An Act passed in the fifth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, chapter four, and intituled " An Act touching " dyvers orders for artificers, labourers, servantes of " husbandrye, and apprentices ;" and

(b)So much of section two of an Act passed in the twelfth year of King George the First, chapter thirty-four, and intituled " An Act to prevent unlawful combination of " workmen employed in the woollen manufactures, and " for better payment of their wages," as relates to departing from service and quitting or returning work before it is finished ; and

(c)Section twenty of an Act passed in the fifth year of King George the Third, chapter fifty-one, the title of which begins with the words " An Act for repealing " several Laws relating to the manufacture of woollen " cloth in the county of York," and ends with the words " for preserving the credit of the said manufacture at the " foreign market;" and

(d)An Act passed in the nineteenth year of King George the Third, chapter, forty-nine, and intituled " An Act to " prevent abuses in the payment of wages to persons " employed in the bone and thread lace manufactory ;" and

(e)Sections eighteen and twenty-three of an Act passed in the session of the third and fourth years of Her present Majesty, chapter ninety-one, intituled " An Act for the " more effectual prevention of frauds and abuses committed by weavers, sewers, and other persons employed " in the linen, hempen, union, cotton, silk, and woollen " manufactures in Ireland, and for the better payment of " their wages, for one year, and from thence to the end " of the next session of Parliament ;" and

(f)Section seventeen of an Act passed in the session of the sixth and seventh years of Her present Majesty, chapter forty, the title of which begins with the words " An Act to " amend the Laws," and ends with the words " workmen " engaged therein ;" and

(g)Section seven of an Act passed in the session of the eighth and ninth years of Her present Majesty, chapter one hundred and twenty-eight, and intituled " An Act to " make further regulations respecting the tickets of work " to be delivered to silk weavers in certain cases." Provided that:—

(1)Any order for wages or further sum of compensation in addition to wages made in pursuance of section sixteen of "The Summary Jurisdiction (Ireland) Act, 1851," may be enforced in like manner as if it were an order made by a court of summary jurisdiction in pursuance of the Employers and Workmen Act, 1875, and not otherwise; and

(2)The repeal enacted by this section shall not affect—

(a)Anything duly done or suffered, or any right or liability acquired or incurred under any enactment hereby repealed; or

(b)Any penalty, forfeiture, or punishment incurred in respect of any offence committed against any enactment hereby repealed; or

(c)Any investigation, legal proceeding, or remedy in respect of any such right, liability, penalty, forfeiture, or punishment as aforesaid ; and any such investigation, legal proceeding, and remedy may be carried on as if this Act had not passed.

Application of Act to Scotland

Application to Scotland.

18This Act shall extend to Scotland, with the modifications following; that is to say,

(1)The expression " municipal authority" means the town council of any royal or parliamentary burgh, or the commissioners of police of any burgh, town, or populous place under the provisions of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act, 1862, or any local authority under the provisions of the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1867 :

(2)The expression "The Summary Jurisdiction Act" means the Summary Procedure Act, 1864, and any Acts amending the same :

(3)The expression " the court of summary jurisdiction " means the sheriff of the county or any one of his substitutes.

Recovery of penalties, &c. in Scotland.

19In Scotland the following provisions shall have effect in regard to the prosecution of offences, recovery of penalties, and making of orders under this Act:

(1)Every offence under this Act shall be prosecuted, every penalty recovered, and every order made at the instance of the Lord Advocate, or of the Procurator Fiscal of the sheriff court:

(2)The proceedings may be on indictment in the Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh or on circuit or in a sheriff court, or may be taken summarily in the sheriff court under the provisions of the Summary Procedure Act, 1864 :

(3)Every person found liable on conviction to pay any penalty under this Act shall be liable, in default of payment within a time to be fixed in the conviction, to be imprisoned for a term, to be also fixed therein, not exceeding two months, or until such penalty shall be sooner paid, and the conviction and warrant may be in the form of No. 3 of Schedule K. of the Summary Procedure Act, 1864 :

(4)In Scotland all penalties imposed in pursuance of this Act shall be paid to the clerk of the court imposing them, and shall by him he accounted for and paid to the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, and be carried to the Consolidated Fund.

Appeal in Scotland as prescribed by 20 G.2 c.43.

20In Scotland it shall be competent to any person to appeal against any order or conviction under this Act to the next circuit Court of Justiciary, or where there ore no circuit courts to the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh, in the manner prescribed by and under the rules, limitations, conditions, and restrictions contained in the Act passed in the twentieth year of the reign of His Majesty King George the Second, chapter forty-three, in regard to appeals to circuit courts in matters criminal, as the same may be altered or amended by any Acts of Parliament for the time being in force.

Application of Act to Ireland

Application to Ireland.

21This Act shall extend to Ireland, with the modifications following ; that is to say,

The expression " The Summary Jurisdiction Act " shall he construed to mean, as regards the police district of Dublin metropolis, the Acts regulating the powers and duties of justices of the peace for such district; and elsewhere in Ireland, the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, and any Acts amending the same:

The expression " court of summary jurisdiction " shall be construed to mean any justice or justices of the peace, or other magistrate to whom jurisdiction is given by the Summary Jurisdiction Act:

The court of summary jurisdiction, when hearing and determining complaints under this Act, shall in the police district of Dublin metropolis be constituted of one or more of the divisional justices of the said district, and elsewhere in Ireland of two or more justices of the peace in petty sessions sitting at a place appointed for holding petty sessions :

The expression " municipal authority" shall be construed to mean the town council of any borough for the time being, subject to the Act of the session of the third and fourth years of the reign of Her present Majesty, chapter one hundred and eight, entitled " An Act for the Regulation of Municipal " Corporations in Ireland," and any commissioners invested by any general or local Act of Parliament, with power of improving, cleansing, lighting, or paving any town or township.

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