Fugitive Offenders Act 1881

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1881 c. 69


Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881

(44 & 45 Vict.) CHAPTER 69.

An Act to amend the Law with respect to Fugitive Offenders in Her Majesty's Dominions, and for other Purposes connected with the Trial of Offenders.

[27th August 1881]

Be 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; (that is to say,)

S-1 Short title.

1 Short title.

1. This Act may be cited as theFugitive Offenders Act, 1881.

I Return of Fugitives.

PART I.

Return of Fugitives.

S-2 Liability of fugitive to be apprehended and returned.

2 Liability of fugitive to be apprehended and returned.

2. Where a person accused of having committed an offence (to which this part of this Act applies) in one part of Her Majesty's dominions has left that part, such person (in this Act referred to as a fugitive from that part) if found in another part of Her Majesty's dominions, shall be liable to be apprehended and returned in manner provided by this Act to the part from which he is a fugitive.

A fugitive may be so apprehended under an endorsed warrant or a provisional warrant.

S-3 Endorsing of warrant for apprehension of fugitive.

3 Endorsing of warrant for apprehension of fugitive.

3. Where a warrant has been issued in one part of Her Majesty's dominions for the apprehension of a fugitive from that part, any of the following authorities in another part of Her Majesty's dominions in or on the way to which the fugitive is or is suspected to be; (that is to say,)

(1) (1.) A judge of a superior court in such part; and

(2) (2.) In the United Kingdom a Secretary of State and one of the magistrates of the metropolitan police court in Bow Street; and

(3) (3.) In a British possession the governor of that possession,

if satisfied that the warrant was issued by some person having lawful authority to issue the same, may endorse such warrant in manner provided by this Act, and the warrant so endorsed shall be a sufficient authority to apprehend the fugitive in the part of Her Majesty's dominions in which it is endorsed, and bring him before a magistrate.

S-4 Provisional warrant for apprehension of fugitive.

4 Provisional warrant for apprehension of fugitive.

4. A magistrate of any part of Her Majesty's dominions may issue a provisional warrant for the apprehension of a fugitive who is or is suspected of being in or on his way to that part on such information, and under such circumstances, as would in his opinion justify the issue of a warrant if the offence of which the fugitive is accused had been committed within his jurisdiction, and such warrant may be backed and executed accordingly.

A magistrate issuing a provisional warrant shall forthwith send a report of the issue, together with the information or a certified copy thereof, if he is in the United Kingdom, to a Secretary of State, and if he is in a British possession, to the governor of that possession, and the Secretary of State or governor may, if he think fit, discharge the person apprehended under such warrant.

S-5 Dealing with fugitive when apprehended.

5 Dealing with fugitive when apprehended.

5. A fugitive when apprehended shall be brought before a magistrate, who (subject to the provisions of this Act) shall hear the case in the same manner and have the same jurisdiction and powers, as near as may be (including the power to remand and admit to bail), as if the fugitive were charged with an offence committed within his jurisdiction.

If the endorsed warrant for the apprehension of the fugitive is duly authenticated, and such evidence is produced as (subject to the provisions of this Act) according to the law ordinarily administered by the magistrate, raises a strong or probable presumption that the fugitive committed the offence mentioned in the warrant, and that the offence is one to which this part of this Act applies, the magistrate shall commit the fugitive to prison to await his return, and shall forthwith send a certificate of the committal and such report of the case as he may think fit, if in the United Kingdom to a Secretary of State, and if in a British possession to the governor of that possession.

Where the magistrate commits the fugitive to prison he shall inform the fugitive that he will not be surrendered until after the expiration of fifteen days, and that he has a right to apply for a writ of habeas corpus, or other like process.

A fugitive apprehended on a provisional warrant may be from time to time remanded for such reasonable time not exceeding seven days at any one time as under the circumstances seems requisite for the production of an endorsed warrant.

S-6 Return of fugitive by warrant.

6 Return of fugitive by warrant.

6. Upon the expiration of fifteen days after a fugitive has been committed to prison to await his return, or if a writ of habeas corpus or other like process is issued with reference to such fugitive by a superior court, after the final decision of the court in the case,

(1) (1.) if the fugitive is so committed in the United Kingdom, a Secretary of State; and

(2) (2.) if the fugitive is so committed in a British possession, the governor of that possession,

may, if he thinks it just, by warrant under his hand order that fugitive to be returned to the part of Her Majesty's dominions from which he is a fugitive, and for that purpose to be delivered into the custody of the persons to whom the warrant is addressed, or some one or more of them, and to be held in custody, and conveyed by sea or otherwise to the said part of Her Majesty's dominions, to be dealt with there in due course of law as if he had been there apprehended, and such warrant shall be forthwith executed according to the tenor thereof.

The governor or other chief officer of any prison, on request of any person having the custody of a fugitive under any such warrant, and on payment or tender of a reasonable amount for expenses, shall receive such fugitive and detain him for such reasonable time as may be requested by the said person for the purpose of the proper execution of the warrant.

S-7 Discharge of person apprehended if not returned within one month.

7 Discharge of person apprehended if not returned within one month.

7. If a fugitive who, in pursuance of this part of this Act, has been committed to prison in any part of Her Majesty's dominions to await his return, is not conveyed out of that part within one month after such committal, a superior court, upon application by or on behalf of the fugitive, and upon proof that reasonable notice of the intention to make such application has been given, if the said part is the United Kingdom to a Secretary of State, and if the said part is a British possession to the governor of the possession, may, unless sufficient cause is shown to the contrary, order the fugitive to be discharged out of custody.

S-8 Sending back of persons apprehended if not prosecuted within six months or acquitted.

8 Sending back of persons apprehended if not prosecuted within six months or acquitted.

8. Where a person accused of an offence and returned in pursuance of this part of this Act to any part of Her Majesty's dominions, either is not prosecuted for the said offence within six months after his arrival in that part, or is acquitted of the said offence, then if that part is the United Kingdom a Secretary of State, and if that part is a British possession the governor of that possession, may, if he think fit, on the request of such person, cause him to be sent back free of cost and with as little delay as possible to the part of Her Majesty's dominions in or on his way to which he was apprehended.

S-9 Offences to which this part of this Act applies.

9 Offences to which this part of this Act applies.

9. This part of this Act shall apply to the following offences, namely, to treason and piracy, and to every offence, whether called felony, misdemeanor, crime, or by any other name, which is for the time being punishable in the part of Her Majesty's dominions in which it was committed, either on indictment or information, by imprisonment with hard labour for a term of twelve months or more, or by any greater punishment; and for the purposes of this section, rigorous imprisonment, and any confinement in a prison combined with labour, by whatever name it is called, shall be deemed to be imprisonment with hard labour.

This part of this Act shall apply to an offence notwithstanding that by the law of the part of Her Majesty's dominions in or on his way to which the fugitive is or is suspected of being it is not an offence, or not an offence to which this part of this Act applies; and all the provisions of this part of this Act, including those relating to a provisional warrant and to a committal to prison, shall be construed as if the offence were in such last-mentioned part of Her Majesty's dominions an offence to which this part of this Act applies.

S-10 Powers of superior court to discharge fugitive when case frivolous or return unjust.

10 Powers of superior court to discharge fugitive when case frivolous or return unjust.

10. Where it is made to appear to a superior court that by reason of the trivial nature of the case, or by reason of the application for the return of a fugitive not being made in good faith in the interests of justice or otherwise, it would, having regard to the distance, to the facilities for communication, and to all the circumstances of the case, be unjust or oppressive or too severe a punishment to return the fugitive either at all or until the expiration of a certain period, such court may discharge the fugitive, either absolutely or on bail, or order that he shall not be returned until after the expiration of the period named in the order, or may make...

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