Lord Ellenborough's Act 1803

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Lord Ellenborough's Act 1803
This is the text of the Act 43 Geo.3 c.58, commonly refered to as Lord Ellenborough's Act. It is sourced from Pickering's Statutes At Large (Cambridge University Press 1804 Ed).

Text of Lord Ellenborough's Act 1803 in Wikipedia.

An Act for the further prevention of malicious shooting and attempting to discharge loaded fire-arms, stabbing, cutting, wounding, poisoning and the malicious using of means to procure the miscarriage of women; and also the malicious setting fire to buildings; and also for repealing a certain Act, made in England in the twenty-first year of the late King James the First, intituled An act to prevent the destroying and murthering of bastard children; and also an act made in Ireland in the sixth year of the late Queen Anne, also intituled, An act to prevent the destroying and murthering of bastard children; and for making other provisions in lieu thereof. - [June 24, 1803]

WHEREAS divers cruel and barbarous outrages have been of late wickedly and wantonly committed in divers parts of England and Ireland, upon the persons of divers of his Majesty's subjects, either with intent to murder, or to rob, or to maim, disfigure or disable, or to do other grievous bodily harm to such subjects: and whereas the provisions now by law made for the prevention of such offences, have been found ineffectual for that purpose: and whereas certain other heinous offences, committed with intent to destroy the lives of his Majesty's subjects by poison or with intent to procure the miscarriage of women, or with intent, by burning, to destroy or injure the buildings and other properties of his Majesty's subjects, or to prejudice persons who have become insurers of or upon the same, have been of late also frequently committed; but no adequate means have been hitherto provided for the prevention and punishment of such offences; be it therefore enacted by the King'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, That if any person or persons from and after the first day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three, shall, either in England or Ireland, wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully shoot at any of his Majesty's subjects or shall wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully present, point, or level any kind of loaded fire-arms at any of his Majesty's subjects, and attempt by drawing a trigger or in any other manner, to discharge the same at or against his or their person or persons, or shall wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully stab or cut any of his Majesty's subjects, with intent in so doing, or by means thereof, to murder, or rob, or to maim, disfigure or disable such his Majesty's subject or subjects, or with intent to do some other grievous bodily harm to such his Majesty's subject or subjects, or with intent to obstruct, resist, or prevent the lawful apprehension and detainer of the person or persons so stabbing or cutting, or the lawful apprehension and detainer of any of his, her, or their accomplices for any offences for which he, she or they may respectively be liable by law to be apprehended, imprisoned, or detained, or shall wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully administer to, or cause to be administered to or taken by any of his Majesty's subjects, any deadly poison, or other noxious and destructive substance or thing, with intent such his Majesty's subject or subjects thereby to murder, or thereby to cause and procure the miscarriage of any woman, then being quick with child; or shall wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully set fire to any house, barn, hop oast, malthouse, stable, coach house, outhouse, mill, warehouse or shop, whether such house, barn, hop oast, malthouse, stable, coach house, outhouse, mill, warehouse or shop shall then be in the possession of the person or persons so setting fire to the same, or in the possession of any other person or persons, or of any body corporate, with intent thereby to injure or defraud his Majesty or any of his Majesty's subjects, or any body corporate, that then, and in every such case, the person or persons so offending, their counsellors, aiders, and abettors, knowing of any privy to such offence, shall be and are hereby declared to be felons, and shall suffer death as in felony without benefit of clergy: provided always, that in case it shall appear on the trial of any person or persons indicted for the wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully shooting at any of his Majesty's subjects, or for wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully presenting, pointing, or levelling any kind of loaded fire-arms at any of his Majesty's subjects, and attempting, by drawing a trigger, or in any other manner, to discharge the same at or against his or their person or persons, or for the wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully stabbing or cutting any of his Majesty's subjects with such intent as aforesaid, that such acts of stabbing or cutting were committed under such circumstances as that if death had ensued therefrom the same would not in law have amounted to the crime of murder, that then and in every such case the person or persons so indicted shall be deemed and taken to be not guilty of the felonies whereof they shall be so indicted, but be thereof aquitted.

II. And whereas it may sometimes happen that poison or some other destructive or noxious and destructive substance or thing may be given, or other means used, with intent to procure miscarriage or abortion where the woman may not be quick with child at the time, or it may not be proved that she was quick with child; be it therefore further enacted, That if any person or persons, from and after the said first day of July in the said year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three, shall wilfully and maliciously administer to, or cause to be administered to, or taken by any woman, any medicines, drug, or other substance or thing whatsoever, or shall use or employ or cause or procure to be used or employed any instrument or other means whatsoever, with intent thereby to cause the miscarriage of any woman not being, or not being proved to be, quick with child at the time of administering such things or using such means, that then and in every such case the person or persons so offending, their counsellors, aiders, and abettors, knowing of and being privy to such offence, shall be and are hereby declared to be guilty of felony, and shall be liable to be fined, imprisoned, set in and upon the pillory, publickly or privately whipped, or to suffer one or more of the said punishments, or to be transported beyond the seas for any term not exceeding fourteen years, at the discretion of the court before which such offender shall be tried and convicted.

III. And whereas doubts have been entertained respecting the true meaning of a certain act of parliament made in England in the twenty-first year of the reign of his late majesty King James the First, intituled An act to prevent the destroying and murthering of bastard children; and also of a certain other act of parliament, made in Ireland in the sixth year of the reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne, also intituled, An act to prevent the destroying and murthering of bastard children; and the same have been found in sundry cases difficult and inconvenient to be put in practice; for remedy whereof, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That, from and after the first day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three, the said two several acts, and everything therein contained, shall be, and the same are hereby repealed; and that, from and after the said first day of July in the said year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three, the trials in England and Ireland respectively of women charged with the murder of any issue of their bodies, male or female, which being born alive would by law be bastard, shall proceed and be governed by such and the like rules of evidence and of presumption as are by law used and allowed to take place in respect to other trials for murder, and as if the two said several acts had never been made.

IV. Provided always, and be it enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the jury by whole verdict any prisoner charged with such murder as aforesaid shall be aquitted, to find in case it shall so appear in evidence that the prisoner was delivered of issue of her body, male or female, which, if born alive, would have been bastard, and that she did, by secret burying, or otherwise, endeavour to conceal the birth thereof, and thereupon it shall be lawful for the court before which such prisoner shall have been tried to adjudge that such prisoner shall be committed to the common goal or house of correction for any time not exceeding two years.

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