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PRISONS. The Prison Act, 1877 (40 & 41 Vict. c. 21), entitled “An Act to 40 & 41 Vict. amend the law relating to Prisons in England,” whilst it confers
c. 21. upon the government the property and the general management of all gaols in England, still retains to the magistracy certain powers of supervision and inspection, which they are to exercise as visiting committees. The only portion, therefore, of the statute which need be noticed in these pages are the following sections :
“13. Appointment of Visiting Committee of Prisons.] On and after the commencement of this act there shall be repealed the fifty-third and fifty-fourth sections of the Prison Act, 1863, relating to the appointment and duties of visiting justices.
"A visiting committee shall be annually appointed for every prison under this act, consisting of such number of persons being justices of the peace to be appointed at such time and by such court of quarter sessions or such bench or benches of magistrates as the secretary of state, having regard to the locality of the prison, to the justices heretofore having jurisdiction over such prison, and to the class of prisoners to be confined in such prison, may from time to time by any general or special rule prescribe. In the following manner; namely,
"The justices of any county, riding, or liberty of a county having a separate court of quarter sessions shall appoint members of a visiting committee when assembled at such general or quarter sessions as may be prescribed by the secretary of state.
"The justices of a borough shall hold special sessions, at such time as may be prescribed by the secretary of state, for the purpose of appointing any members of a visiting committee they may be required to appoint.
“Provided that in the application of this act to the Worcester Prison, as constituted by the Worcester Prison Act, 1867, so long as the said prison is continued as a prison for the purposes of this act, the appointment of such number of justices of the city of Worcester as the secretary of state in pursuance of this section may prescribe to be appointed to serve on the visiting committee in respect of the said prison, shall be vested in the corporation acting by the council of the said city.
"Nothing in this act, or in any rules to be made under this act, shall restrict any member of the visiting committee for any prison from visiting the prison at any time, and any such member shall at all times have free access to every part of the prison, and to every prisoner therein.
“14. Duties of Visiting Committee.] The secretary of state shall, on or before the commencement of this act, make and publish, and may hereafter from time to time repeal, alter, or add to rules with
0.s. VOL. II.
40 & 41 Vict. respect to the duties of a visiting committee, and such committee c. 21.
shall conform to any rules so made and for the time being in force, but subject as aforesaid the members of such committee shall from time to time and at frequent intervals visit the prison for which they are appointed, and hear any complaints which may be made to them by the prisoners, and, if asked, privately. They shall report on any abuses within the prison, and also on any repairs which may be urgently required in the prison, and shall further take cognizance of any matters of pressing necessity and within the powers of their commission as justices, and do such acts and perform such duties in relation to a prison as they may be required to do or perform by the secretary of state.
“The visiting committee shall be deemed to be visiting justices for all the purposes of the regulations relating to the punishment of prisoners numbered 58 and 59 in the first schedule annered to the Prison Act, 1865, or either of such regulations, and any member of a visiting committee may exercise any power, or do any act, or receive any report which any one justice may exercise, do, or receive under the said regulations numbered 58 and 59, or either of them.
“Provided that an offender shall not be punished under the said sections 58 and 59, or either of them, by personal correction except in pursuance of the order of two justices of the peace after such inquiry upon oath and determination concerning the matter reported to them as is mentioned in the said regulation numbered 58.
“The visiting committee shall report to the secretary of state any matters with respect to which they may consider it expedient, and shall report to the secretary of state, as soon as may be and in such manner as he may direct, any matter respecting which they may be required by him to report.
“15. Visits to Prison by any Justice. Section fifty-five of “The Prisons Act, 1865,” is hereby repealed, and instead thereof the following enactment shall take effect, viz. :
“Any justice of the peace, having jurisdiction in the place in which a prison is situate, or having jurisdiction in the place where the offence in respect of which any prisoner may be confined in prison was committed, may, when he thinks fit, enter into and examine the condition of such prison, and of the prisoners therein, and he may enter any observations he may think fit to make in reference to the condition of the prison or abuses therein in the visitors' book to be kept by the gaoler; and it shall be the duty of the gaoler to draw the attention of the visiting committee, at their next visit to the prison, to any entries made in the said book; but he shall not be entitled, in pursuance of this section, to visit any prisoner under sentence of death, or to communicate with any
prisoner, except in reference to the treatment in prison of such 40 & 41 Vict. prisoner, or to some complaint that such prisoner may make as to such treatment.”
PRIZE FIGHTS. A prize fight is a breach of the peace, and all persons present thereat, and who have gone there for the purpose of seeing it, are principals, and indictable for a misdemeanor (R. v. Perkins, 4 C. & P. 537). It is laid down that magistrates should cause the intended combatants (if resident or within their jurisdiction at the time of the application for the warrant, 11 & 12 Vict. c. 42, s. 1, ante, pp. 873, 891], to be brought before them, and bind them over to keep the peace till the next sessions or assizes (R. v. Billingham, 2C & P. 234; 4 Dow. & R., Mag. Cas. 127), 142 but if they do not interfere till after the fight is over, they (i. e., the justices where it took place) may then issue their warrant for the assault and breach of the peace against any of the parties concerned, and commit them for trial or hold them to bail to answer the charge at the sessions or assizes in the ordinary way as with any other indictable offence (Offence 445, ante, p. 1156). By 31 & 32 Vict. c. 119, s. 21, a heavy penalty is imposed on railway companies for providing trains for conveying persons to prize fights, which is recoverable before two justices. See tit. “Railways,” in Vol. I. p. 723, Offence 28.
PUBLIC HEALTH. “The Public Health Act, 1875" (38 & 39 Vict. c. 55), in repeal- 38 & 39 Vict. ing all the previous statutes upon the subject (except so far as they c. 65. relate to the Metropolis), has, for the most part, confided to the local authorities therein named and constituted, the obligation of seeing its multifarious provisions carried into effect; and hence, the duty of the magistracy, except in special matters, is confined to that which appertains to them under the enactment of the 11 & 12 Vict. c. 43. It is with reference to these special matters alone that it will be necessary in this place to draw particular attention, and, as to them, it will be convenient that they should be arranged under the following sections:
I. As to Legal Proceedings.
V. As to Abatement of Nuisances.
142 Vide tit. “ Sureties," post; Forms of Complaint, &c., Oke's "Formudist," 6th ed. p. 956.
38 & 39 Vict.
VII. As to Unsound Meat, &c.
I. As to Legal Proceedings. Prosecution of Offences and Recovery of Penalties.] All offences under the act, and all penalties, forfeitures, costs and expenses under it directed to be recovered in a summary manner, or the recovery of which is not otherwise provided for, may be prosecuted and recovered in manner directed by the Summary Jurisdiction Acts (11 & 12 Vict. c. 43), and the Court of Summary Jurisdiction when hearing and determining an information or complaint under the act is to be constituted of two or more justices in petty sessions sitting at a place appointed for holding petty sessions, or of some magistrate or officer for the time being empowered by law to do alone any act authorized to be done by more than one justice sitting at some court or other place for the administration of justice (s. 251).
General Provisions as to Summary Proceedings.] Any complaint or information made or laid in pursuance of the act is to be made or laid within six months from the time when the matter of such complaint or information respectively arose (s. 252). The description of any offence under the act in the words of the act is to be sufficient (s. 252).
Restriction on the Recovery of Penalties.] Proceedings for the recovery of any penalty under the act are not, except as in the act is expressly provided, to be had or taken by any person other than by a party aggrieved, or by the local authority of the district in which the offence is committed, without the consent in writing of the attorney-general: Provided that such consent is not to be required to proceedings which are by the provisions of the act relating to nuisances or offensive trades, authorized to be taken by a local authority in respect of any act or default committed or taking place without their district, or in respect of any house, building, factory or place situate without their district (s. 253).
Application of Penalties.) Where the application of a penalty is not otherwise provided for, one half is to go to the informer and the remainder to the local authority of the district in which the offence was committed: Provided that if the local authority are the informer, they are to be entitled to the whole of the penalty recovered ; and all penalties or sums recovered by them on account of any penalty are to be paid over to their treasurer, and are by him to be carried to the account of the fund applicable to the general purposes of the act (s. 254).
Justices may act though Members of Local Authority or liable to 38 & 39 Vict. contribute.] No justice is to be deemed incapable of acting in cases arising under the act by reason of his being as one of several ratepayers or as one of any other class of persons liable in common with others to contribute to, or to be benefited by, any rate or fund out of which any expenses incurred by such authority are under the act to be defrayed (s. 258).
Appearance of Local Authority in Legal Proceedings.] Any local authority may appear before any court or in any legal proceedings by their clerk, or by any officer or member authorized generally or in respect of any special proceeding by resolution of such authority, and their clerk or any other officer or member so authorized is to be at liberty to institute and carry on any proceeding which the local authority is authorized to institute and carry on under the act (s. 259).
Proceedings not be quashed for want of Form.] No rate, order, conviction, or thing made or done relating to the execution of the act is to be vacated, quashed or set aside for want of form or (unless otherwise expressly provided for) to be removed or removable by certiorari or any other writ or process into any of the superior courts : Provided that nothing is to prevent the removal of any case stated for the opinion of a superior court, or of any rate, conviction, or thing to which such special case relates (s. 262).
Appeal to Quarter Sessions.] A right of appeal is given to any person who deems himself aggrieved by any rate, made under the provisions of the act, or by any order, conviction, judgment, or determination of, or by any matter or thing done by any court of summary jurisdiction (s. 269). See the conditions of the appealing set out in Vol. I. p. 700.
II. As to Sewers and Drains. By sect. 22, the owner or occupier of any premises without the district of a local authority may cause any sewer or drain from such premises to communicate with any sewer of the local authority, on such terms and conditions as may be agreed on between such owner or occupier and such local authority, or, as in case of dispute, may be settled at the option of the owner or occupier by a court of summary jurisdiction or by arbitration in manner provided by the act.
III. As to 0.fensive Ditches and Collections of Matter. Provision for obtaining Order for cleansing Offensive Ditches lying near to or forming the Boundaries of Districts.] Where any watercourse or open ditch lying near to or forming the boundary between the district of any local authority and any adjoining district is foul and offensive so as injuriously to affect the district of such local authority, any justice having jurisdiction in such adjoining district