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An Act for the better Protection of Witnesses giving Evidence before any Royal Commission or any Committee of either House of Parliament, or on other Public Inquiries.
[28th June 1892]
Beit 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:
1In this Act the word " inquiry " shall mean any inquiry held under the authority of any Royal Commission or by any committee of either House of Parliament, or pursuant to any statutory authority, whether the evidence at such inquiry is or is not given on oath, but shall not include any inquiry by any court of justice.
2Every person who commits any of the following acts, that is to say, who threatens, or in any way punishes, damnifies, or injures, or attempts to punish, damnify, or injure, any person for having given evidence upon any inquiry, or on account of the evidence which he has given upon any such inquiry, shall, unless such evidence was given in bad faith, be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable upon conviction thereof to a maximum penalty of one hundred pounds, or to a maximum imprisonment of three months.
3A prosecution for any offence under this Act may be heard and determined by a court of summary jurisdiction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts, provided that should either the complainant or the party charged object to the case being dealt with summarily, the court shall send such case for trial to the quarter sessions or assizes, or in cases, arising within the metropolitan area to the central criminal court.
4It shall be lawful for any court before which any person may be convicted of any offence under this Act, if it thinks fit, in addition to sentence or punishment by way of fine or imprisonment, to condemn such person to pay the whole or any part, of the costs and expenses incurred in and about the prosecution and conviction for the offence of which he shall be convicted, and, upon the application of the complainant, and immediately after such conviction, to award to complainant any sum of money which it may think reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, by way of satisfaction or compensation for any loss of situation, wages, status, or other damnification or injury suffered by the complainant through or by means of the offence of which such person shall be so convicted, provided that where the case is tried before a jury, such jury shall determine what amount, if any, is to be paid by way of satisfaction or compensation.
5The amount awarded for such satisfaction or compensation, together with such costs, to be taxed by the proper officer of the court, shall be deemed a judgment debt due to the person entitled to receive the same from the person so convicted, and be recoverable accordingly.
In the application of this Act to Scotland the following modifications shall have effect:—
(1)A court of summary jurisdiction means the sheriff.
(2)If the complainant or the party charged, as in section three of this Act mentioned, objects to the case being dealt with summarily, it shall be sent for trial by the sheriff with a jury, or by the High Court of Justiciary, as Her Majesty's Advocate shall direct.
(3)Judgment debt means a civil debt, and such debt may be recovered in any competent court.
7Nothing in this Act contained shall in any way lessen affect any power or privilege possessed by either House Parliament, or any power given by statute in the premises.
8This Act may be cited as the Witnesses (Public Inquiries) Protection Act, 1892.
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