Treasonable Offences Act, 1925

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Number 18 of 1925.


TREASONABLE OFFENCES ACT, 1925.


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Certain acts to be treason.

2.

Misprision of treason.

3.

Certain offences against the State.

4.

Usurpation of executive authority.

5.

Assembly pretending to parliamentary functions.

6.

Formation of pretended military or police force prohibited.

7.

Unauthorised military exercises prohibited.

8.

Secret societies in army or police.

9.

Administering unlawful oaths.

10.

Search warrant in respect of treasonable documents.

11.

Short title.

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Number 18 of 1925.


TREASONABLE OFFENCES ACT, 1925.


AN ACT TO DECLARE DIVERS ACTS OF A TREASONABLE NATURE OR OTHERWISE INJURIOUS TO THE STATE TO BE OFFENCES AND TO MAKE PROVISION FOR THE PUNISHMENT THEREOF AND FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH. [6th June, 1925.]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS OF SAORST?T EIREANN AS FOLLOWS:—

Certain acts to be treason.

1.—(1) Every person who commits in Saorstát Eireann any of the following acts, that is to say:—

(a) levies war against Saorstát Eireann, or

(b) assists any state or person engaged in levying war against Saorstát Eireann, or

(c) conspires with any person (other than his or her wife or husband) or incites any person to levy war against Saorstát Eireann, or

(d) attempts or takes part or is concerned in an attempt to overthrow by force of arms or other violent means the Government of Saorstát Eireann as established by or under the Constitution, or

(e) conspires with any person (other than his or her wife or husband) or incites any person to make or to take part or be concerned in any such attempt,

shall be guilty of treason and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer death.

(2) Every person who, being a citizen of or ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann, commits outside Saorstát Eireann any of the acts mentioned in the foregoing sub-section shall be guilty of treason and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer death

(3) Every person who encourages, harbours, or comforts any person engaged in levying war against Saorstát Eireann or engaged, taking part, or concerned in any attempt to overthrow by force of arms or other violent means the Government of Saorstát Eireann as established by or under the Constitution shall (unless he satisfies the Court that he did not know and had no reason to believe that the person encouraged, harboured or comforted was so engaged, concerned or taking part as aforesaid) be guilty of felony and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to suffer penal servitude for any term not exceeding twenty years or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and such penal servitude or imprisonment.

(4) Every person charged under this section with treason shall and may be indicted, arraigned, and tried in the same manner and according to the same course and order of trial in every respect as if such person stood charged with murder, and if such person is found guilty of treason he shall be convicted and sentenced in the same manner as if he had been found guilty of murder.

(5) No person shall be convicted under this section of treason or of felony on the uncorroborated evidence of one witness.

Misprision of treason.

2.—Every person who, knowing that any act the commission of which would by virtue of this Act be treason, is intended or proposed to be, or is being, or has been committed, does not forthwith disclose the same together with all particulars thereof known to him to a Justice of the District Court, or an officer of the Gárda Síochána, or other person lawfully engaged on duties relating to the preservation of peace and order shall be guilty of the felony of misprision of treason and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer penal servitude for any term not exceeding five years or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years.

Certain offences against the State.

3.—(1) Every person who commits any of the following acts, that is to say:—

(a) attempts or takes part or is concerned in an attempt by force of arms or other violent means to overawe or intimidate in any way either the Governor-General or the Executive Council or any member thereof or any other minister duly appointed under and in accordance with the Constitution, or the Oireachtas or either House thereof, or any lawful court or any judge of any such court with a view to influencing their or his actions, or

(b) assists, encourages, harbours or protects any person engaged or taking part or concerned in any such attempt as aforesaid, or

(c) conspires with any person (other than his or her wife or husband) or incites any person to make or to take part or be concerned in any such attempt, or

(d) sets up or holds or purports to set up or hold any court of justice or court-martial (not being a court or court-martial duly established and maintained according to law) or assists or takes part in or is present at the proceedings of any such pretended court or court-martial, or

(e) incites any member of a military or police force lawfully maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann to mutiny, or to desert from such force, or to refuse to obey lawful orders given to him by a superior officer, or to absent himself from or to refuse, neglect, or omit to perform any of his duties, or to commit any other act in dereliction of his duty, or

(f) incites any person in the civil service (other than a police force) of the Government of Saorstát Eireann to refuse, neglect, or omit to perform his duty,

shall be guilty of felony and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to suffer penal servitude for any term not exceeding twenty years or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such penal servitude or imprisonment.

(2) No person shall be liable to be convicted under this section in respect of the act of encouraging, harbouring or protecting mentioned in paragraph (b) of the foregoing sub-section if he satisfies the court that he did not know and had no reason to believe that the person he encouraged, harboured or protected was engaged, concerned or taking part in any such attempt as is referred to in the said paragraph.

Usurpation of executive authority.

4.—Every person who shall without lawful authority perform or exercise any of the duties, powers, or functions of any Minister or other officer of State or any person in the service (whether military, police, or civil) of Saorstát Eireann or shall otherwise usurp any function of the Executive authority in Saorstát Eireann or shall attempt or claim to do any such act shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to penal servitude for any term not exceeding five years or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and such penal servitude or imprisonment.

Assembly pretending to parliamentary functions.

5.—Every person who takes part in any proceedings of any assembly or body (other than the Oireachtas or either House thereof) which claims, purports, proposes, or attempts to take upon itself, or does take upon itself, all or any of the powers and functions of the Oireachtas or of either House thereof shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the Court, to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

Formation of pretended military or police force prohibited.

6.—Every person who takes part or assists in the formation, organisation, or maintenance of any association or other body which purports to be a military or police force, and is not established and maintained as such by law, and also every person who is a member of any such association or body, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred pounds, or, at the discretion of the court, to penal servitude for any term not exceeding five years, or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and such penal servitude or imprisonment.

Unauthorised military exercises prohibited.

7.—(1) Save as authorised by an Executive Minister under this section, and subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned, it shall not be lawful for any assembly of persons to practise or to train or drill themselves in or be trained or drilled in the use of arms or the performance of military exercises, evolutions, or manoeuvres nor for any persons to meet together or assemble for the purpose of so practising or training or drilling or being trained or drilled.

(2) An Executive Minister may at his discretion by order, subject to such limitations, qualifications and conditions as he shall think fit to impose and shall express in the order, authorise any organisation, association, or other body of persons corporate or unincorporate to meet together and do such one or more of the following things as shall be specified in such order, that is to say, to practise or train or drill themselves in or be trained or drilled in the use of arms or the performance of military exercises, evolutions, or manoeuvres.

(3) If any person is present at or takes part in or gives instruction to or trains or drills an assembly of persons who without or otherwise than in accordance with an authorisation granted by an Executive Minister under this section practise, or train or drill themselves in, or are trained or drilled in the use of arms or the performance of any military exercise, evolution, or manoeuvre or who without or otherwise than in accordance with such authorisation have assembled or met together for the purpose of so practising, or training or drilling or being trained or drilled, such person shall be guilty of felony and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to suffer penal servitude for any term not exceeding seven years or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such penal servitude or imprisonment.

(4) This section shall not apply to any assembly of members of any military or police force lawfully maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann.

(5) In any prosecution under this section the burden of proof that any act was authorised under this section shall lie on the person prosecuted.

Secret societies in army or police.

8.—(1) Every person who shall—

(a) form, organise, promote, or maintain any secret society amongst or consisting of or including members of any military or police force lawfully maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann, or

(b) attempt to form, organise, promote, or maintain any such secret society, or

(c) take part, assist, or be concerned in any way in the formation, organisation, promotion, management, or maintenance of any such society, or

(d) induce, solicit, or assist any member of a military or police force lawfully maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann to join any secret society whatsoever,

shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer penal servitude for any term not exceeding five years or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years.

(2) In this section the expression “secret society” means an association, society, or other body the members of which are required by the regulations thereof to take or enter into, or do in fact take or enter into, an oath, affirmation or declaration not to disclose the proceedings or some part of the proceedings of the association, society or body.

Administering unlawful oaths.

9.—(1) Every person who shall administer or cause to be administered or take part in, be present at, or consent to the administering or taking in any form or manner of any oath, declaration, or engagement purporting or intended to bind the person taking the same to do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—

(a) to commit or to plan, contrive, promote, assist, or conceal the commission of any crime or any breach of the peace, or

(b) to join or become a member of or associated with any organisation, association, or other body having for its object or one of its objects the commission of any crime, or breach of the peace, or

(c) to abstain from disclosing or giving information of the existence or formation or proposed or intended formation of any such organisation, association, or other body as aforesaid or from informing or giving evidence against any member of or person concerned in the formation of any such organisation, association, or other body, or

(d) to abstain from disclosing or giving information of the commission or intended or proposed commission of any crime, breach of the peace, or from informing or giving evidence against the person who committed such an act,

shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years.

(2) Every person who shall take any such oath as is mentioned in the foregoing sub-section shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and be liable on conviction thereof to suffer imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years unless he shall show—

(a) that he was compelled by force or duress to take such oath, and

(b) that within four days after the taking of such oath if not prevented by actual force or sickness, or where so prevented then within four days after the cessor of the hindrance caused by such force or sickness, he declared to a Justice of the District Court or to an officer of the Gárda Síochána the fact of his having taken such oath and all the circumstances connected therewith and the names and descriptions of all persons concerned in the administering of such oath so far as such circumstances, names, and descriptions were known to him.

Search warrant in respect of treasonable documents.

10.—(1) Where a Justice of the District Court is satisfied on the information on oath of an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that there are treasonable documents in any specified building, land, premises, or other place, such Justice may issue to such officer such search warrant as is mentioned in this section.

(2) A search warrant issued by a Justice of the District Court under this section shall be expressed and shall operate to authorise a named officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of superintendent, accompanied by such other members of the Gárda Síochána as such officer shall think proper, at any time within forty-eight hours after the issue of the search warrant, and if needs be by force, to enter and search the specified building, land, premises, or other place aforesaid (which place shall be also specified in the warrant) for treasonable documents and to seize and remove all documents found on such search which appear to such officer to be treasonable.

(3) The officer conducting the search of a place under such search warrant as aforesaid may demand the name and address of any person found in such place during such search and (without prejudice to any other power of arrest vested in him by law or by virtue of any lawful warrant) may arrest without warrant any such person who refuses to give his name or his address to such officer or gives a name or address which such officer knows or suspects to be false or misleading.

(4) In this section the expression “treasonable document” includes any document which relates, directly or indirectly, to the commission of any act which is by this Act declared to be treason or to be a felony or a misdemeanour.

Short title.

11.—This Act may be cited as the Treasonable Offences Act, 1925.