Criminal Law Act 1967

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1967 c. 58


Criminal Law Act 1967

1967 CHAPTER 58

An Act to amend the law of England and Wales by abolishing the division of crimes into felonies and misdemeanours and to amend and simplify the law in respect of matters arising from or related to that division or the abolition of it; to do away (within or without England and Wales) with certain obsolete crimes together with the torts of maintenance and champerty; and for purposes connected therewith.

[21st July 1967]

B e it 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:—

I Felony and Misdemeanour

Part I

Felony and Misdemeanour

S-1 Abolition of distinction between felony and misdemeanour.

1 Abolition of distinction between felony and misdemeanour.

(1) All distinctions between felony and misdemeanour are hereby abolished.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, on all matters on which a distinction has previously been made between felony and misdemeanour, including mode of trial, the law and practice in relation to all offences cognisable under the law of England and Wales (including piracy) shall be the law and practice applicable at the commencement of this Act in relation to misdemeanour.

S-2 Arrest without warrant.

2 Arrest without warrant.

(1) The powers of summary arrest conferred by the following subsections shall apply to offences for which the sentence is fixed by law or for which a person (not previously convicted) may under or by virtue of any enactment be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of five years, and to attempts to commit any such offence; and in this Act, including any amendment made by this Act in any other enactment, ‘arrestable offence’ means any such offence or attempt.

(2) Any person may arrest without warrant anyone who is, or whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be, in the act of committing an arrestable offence.

(3) Where an arrestable offence has been committed, any person may arrest without warrant anyone who is, or whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be, guilty of the offence.

(4) Where a constable, with reasonable cause, suspects that an arrestable offence has been committed, he may arrest without warrant anyone whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be guilty of the offence.

(5) A constable may arrest without warrant any person who is, or whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be, about to commit an arrestable offence.

(6) For the purpose of arresting a person under any power conferred by this section a constable may enter (if need be, by force) and search any place where that person is or where the constable, with reasonable cause, suspects him to be.

(7) This section shall not affect the operation of any enactment restricting the institution of proceedings for an offence, nor prejudice any power of arrest conferred by law apart from this section.

S-3 Use of force in making arrest, etc.

3 Use of force in making arrest, etc.

(1) A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.

(2) Subsection (1) above shall replace the rules of the common law on the question when force used for a purpose mentioned in the subsection is justified by that purpose.

S-4 Penalties for assisting offenders.

4 Penalties for assisting offenders.

(1) Where a person has committed an arrestable offence, any other person who, knowing or believing him to be guilty of the offence or of some other arrestable offence, does without lawful authority or reasonable excuse any act with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) If on the trial of an indictment for an arrestable offence the jury are satisfied that the offence charged (or some other offence of which the accused might on that charge be found guilty) was committed, but find the accused not guilty of it, they may find him guilty of any offence under subsection (1) above of which they are satisfied that he is guilty in relation to the offence charged (or that other offence).

(3) A person committing an offence under subsection (1) above with intent to impede another person's apprehension or prosecution shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment according to the gravity of the other person's offence, as follows:—

( a ) if that offence is one for which the sentence is fixed by law, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than ten years;

( b ) if it is one for which a person (not previously convicted) may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of fourteen years, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than seven years;

( c ) if it is not one included above but is one for which a person (not previously convicted) may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of ten years, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than five years;

( d ) in any other case, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than three years.

(4) No proceedings shall be instituted for an offence under subsection (1) above except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions:

Provided that this subsection shall not prevent the arrest, or the issue of a warrant for the arrest, of a person for such an offence, or the remand in custody or on bail of a person charged with such an offence.

(5) Offences under subsection (1) above, and incitement to commit them, shall be included in Schedule 1 to the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952 (indictable offences triable summarily with the consent of the accused) where that Schedule includes, or is under any enactment to be treated as including, the arrestable offence to which they relate.

(6) For purposes of the Extradition Acts 1870 to 1935 offences in relation to an extradition crime which in England would be offences under subsection (1) above shall be extradition crimes and be deemed to be included in Schedule 1 to the Extradition Act 1870 .

(7) For purposes of section 33 of the Larceny Act 1916 and of any other enactment relating to receivers or receiving a person shall be treated as receiving property if he dishonestly undertakes or assists in its retention, removal, disposal or realisation by or for the benefit of another person or if he arranges so to do.

S-5 Penalties for concealing offences or giving false information.

5 Penalties for concealing offences or giving false information.

(1) Where a person has committed an arrestable offence, any other person who, knowing or believing that the offence or some other arrestable offence has been committed, and that he has information which might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution or conviction of an offender for it, accepts or agrees to accept for not disclosing that information any consideration other than the making good of loss or injury caused by the offence, or the making of reasonable compensation for that loss or injury, shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for not more than two years.

(2) Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry, he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for not more than six months or to a fine of not more than two hundred pounds or to both.

(3) No proceedings shall be instituted for an offence under this section except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(4) Offences under subsection (1) above, and incitement to commit them, shall be included in Schedule 1 to the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952 (indictable offences triable summarily with the consent of the accused) where that Schedule includes, or is under any enactment to be treated as including, the arrestable offence to which they relate.

(5) The compounding of an offence other than treason shall not be an offence otherwise than under this section.

S-6 Trial of offences.

6 Trial of offences.

(1) Where a person is arraigned on an indictment—

( a ) he shall in all cases be entitled to make a plea of not guilty in...

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