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22. Not obeying the Order of a Magistrate. As examples of this offence may be mentioned the case of an overseer of the poor refusing to pay a weekly sum to a pauper in pursuance of an order of justices, or the father of a bastard child refusing to obey an order of maintenance.
It is a misdemeanor, punishable with fine and imprisonment.--Arch. 439.
OF OFFENCES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE.
1. The Riotous Assembling of Twelve Persons or more,
and not Dispersing upon Proclamation. By 1 Geo. I. st. 2, c. 5, if any twelve or more persons are riotously assembled, to the disturbance of the peace, and any one justice of the peace, sheriff, under-sheriff, mayor, or head officer of a town, shall command them by proclamation to disperse, and they riotously continue together for one hour afterwards, it shall be felony, without benefit of clergy.
And if any person going to make such proclamation be with force opposed, or in any manner wilfully hindered from the making of it, such opposers and hinderers are telons; without benefit of clergy, and all persons to whom such proclamation ought to have been made, and knowing of such hinderance and not dispersing in one hour after the hinderance, are felons, without benefit of clergy.
And by the same act, the peace-officers and their assistants are indemnified if any of the mob should be killed in their endeavour to disperse them.
The prosecution under this act, by sect. 8, must be within twelve (lunar) months after the offence committed.
2. Riotously Demolishing Buildings or Machinery.
By 7 & 8 Geo. IV. c. 30, s. 8, if any persons riotously and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the public peace, shall unlawfully and with force demolish, pull down or destroy, or begin to demolish, pull down or destroy any church or chapel, &c. or such buildings or machinery as in the act mentioned, every such offender shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof, shall suffer death as a felon.
By 7 & 8 Geo. IV. c. 31, if any church or chapel, house, &c. or such buildings or machinery as in the act mentioned, shall be feloniously demolished wholly or in part by persons riotously and tumultuously assembled together, the inhabitants of the hundred shall be liable to yield full compensation, provided that the persons damnified, or such of them as have knowledge of the circumstances, or the servants who had the care of the property, shall, within seven days, go before some justice of the peace residing near and having jurisdiction, and state upon oath the names of the offenders, if known, and submit to examination touching the circumstances, and become bound by recognizance to prosecute, and provided also that any action against the hundred be commenced within three calendar months after the offence.
instead of an action, a summary proceeding before justices at a special petty session, and contains various provisions as to the mode of proceeding to recover compensation by action or otherwise, and as to the mode of raising the same on the hundred.
By 2 & 3 W. IV. c. 72, the provisions of this act are extended to threshing machines.
3. Sending Threatening Letters. By 4 Geo. IV. c. 54, s. 3, knowingly to send any letter or writing, with or without a name or signature subscribed thereto, or with a fictitious name or signature, threatening to kill or murder any of the king's subjects, or to burn or destroy their houses, &c. is made felony, and punishable, at the discretion of the court, with transportation for life or for a term not less than seven years, or imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding seven years.
See further, as to threatening letters, sup. ch. viii. s. 15. 4. Affrays. This offence consists in the fighting of two or more persons in some public place, to the terror of his majesty's subjects.-4 BI. C. 144; 3 Inst. 158.
But if the fighting be in private, it is no affray, but an assault.—1 Hawk. P. C. c. 63, s. 3.
No quarrelsome or threatening words whatever will amount to an affray.--Ibid.
But it seems that a constable may, at the request of the party threatened, carry the person who threatens to beat him before a justice, in order to find sureties.—1 Russ. 271.
An affray is a misdemeanor, punishable with fine and imprisonment.-4 Bl. C. 145.
Prize fights and pugilistic combats come under this head of offence.—4 Bl. Com. 145, n. (4) by Ryland.
And duels, where no death ensues; for where death ensues, it is murder.-Ibid.
Affrays may be suppressed by any private person present. -1 Hawk. P. C. c. 63, s. 11.
But especially by a constable or other peace officer, who may break open doors to suppress an affray; and a constable, on arresting affrayers, may either carry them before a justice, or imprison them by his own authority for a convenient space, till the heat is over. - 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 63, s. 14.
It seems to be the better opinion, however, that a constable has no power to arrest for an affray, done out of his own view, without a warrant from a justice, unless a felony be done or likely to be done.-1 Russ. 273.
But it is said he may carry before a justice those who were arrested by private persons present, and delivered by them to him.-Ibid. 274.
By 5 & 6 Edw. VI. c. 4, if any persons shall, by words only, quarrel, chide or brawl in a church or churchyard, the ordinary shall suspend him, if a layman, ab ingressu ecclesiæ, and if a clerk in orders, from the ministration of his office during pleasure; and if any person in such church or churchyard shall smite or lay violent hands upon another, he shall be excommunicated ipso facto.
5. Riots, Routs and Unlawful Assemblies. An unlawful assembly is when three or more assemble themselves together to do an unlawful act, as to pull down inclosures, to destroy a warren or the game therein, and part without doing it, or making any motion towards it.3 Inst. 176; 4 Bl. C. 146.
Or, as it seems, any meeting whatsoever of great numbers of people, with such circumstances of terror as cannot but endanger the public peace, and raise fears and jealousies among the king's subjects.--1 Hawk. c. 65, s. 9.
And it has been ruled in recent cases that an assembly of great numbers of persons, which from its general appearance and accompanying circumstances is calculated to excite terror, is generally criminal and unlawful.-1 Russ. 254.
As to unlawful societies, vide 39 Geo. III. c.79; 57 Geo. III. c. 19; 60 Geo. III. and 1 Geo. IV. c. 1, supra, chap. vii. s. 17.
A rout is where three or more meet to do an unlawful act upon a common quarrel, as forcibly breaking down fences upon a right claimed of common or of way, and make some advances towards it.—4 Bl. C. 146.
A riot is where three or more actually do an unlawful act of violence, either with or without a common cause or quarrel, as if they beat a man, or hunt and kill game in another's park, chase, warren or liberty, or do any other unlawful act with force and violence, or even do a lawful act (as removing a nuisance) in a violent and tumultuous manner.—3 Inst. 176; 4 Bl. C. 146.
If several meet together at a fair or wake, and a quarrel ensue, they will be guilty of an affray; but if they form parties under pledge of mutual assistance, and engage in