Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.
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Persons indicted for High Treason or for Misprision of Treason, to have a Copy of Indictment, but not the Names of the Witnesses, delivered to them Five Days before Trial; Fee to Officer; And admitted to defend by Counsel and Evidence; Court to assign Counsel, not exceeding Two.
Whereas nothing is more just and reasonable than that Persons prosecuted for High Treason and Misprision of Treason whereby the Lib[er]ities Lives Honour Estates Bloud and Posterity of the Subjects may bee lost and destroyed should bee justly and equally tried and that Persons accused as Offenders therein should not bee debarred of all just and equal Means for Defence of their Innocencies in such Cases In order thereunto and for the better Regulation of Tryals of Persons prosecuted for High Treason and Misprision of such Treason Bee it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majestie by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That from and after the Five and twentieth Day of March in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety six all and every Person and Persons whatsoever that shall bee accused and indicted for High Treason whereby any Corruption of Blood may or shall bee made to any such Offender or Offenders or to any the Heir or Heirs of [any (fn. 1)] such Offender or Offenders or for Misprision of such Treason shall have a true Copy of the whole Indictment but not the Names of the Witnesses delivered unto them or any of them Five Days att the least before hee or they shall bee tryed for the same whereby to enable them and any of them respectively to advise with Counsell thereupon to plead and make their Defence his or their Attorney or Attorneys Agent or Agents or any of them requiring the same and paying the Officer his reasonable Fees for writing thereof not exceeding Five Shillings for the Copy of every such Indictment And that every such Person soe accused and indicted arraigned or tryed for any such Treason as aforesaid or for Misprision of such Treason from and after the said time shall bee received and admitted to make his and their full Defence by Counsel learned in the Law and to make any Proof that hee or they can produce by lawfull Witnesse or Witnesses who shall then bee upon Oath for his and their just Defence in that behalfe And in case any Person or Persons so accused or indicted shall desire Councel the Court before whom such Person or Persons shall bee tryed or some Judge of that Court shall and is hereby authorized and required im[m]ediately upon his or their request to assigne to such Person and Persons such and soe many Counsel not exceeding Two as the Person or Persons shall desire to whom such Counsel shall have free Accesse at all seasonable Houres Any Law or Usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
And bee it further enacted That from and after the said Five and twentieth Day of March in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety six noe Person or Persons whatsoever shall bee indicted tryed or attainted of High Treason whereby any Corruption of Blood may or shall bee made to any such Offender or Offenders or. to any the Heir or Heirs of any such Offender or Offenders or of Misprision of such Treason but by and upon the Oaths and Testimony of Two lawfull Witnesses either both of them to the same Overtact or one of them to one and another of them to another Overtact of the same Treason unlesse the Party indicted and arraigned or tryed shall willingly without violence in open Court confesse the same or shall stand Mute or refuse to plead or in cases of High Treason shall peremptorily challenge above the Number of Thirty five of the Jury Any Law Statute or Usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
III. Proviso respecting Outlawry of Persons indicted and Trial of such Persons.
Provided always that any Person or Persons being indicted as aforesaid for any the Treasons or Misprisions of the Treasons aforesaid may bee outlawed and thereby attainted of or for any of the said Offences of Treason or Misprision of Treason And in Cases of the High Treasons aforesaid where by the Law after such Outlawry the Party outlawed may come in and bee tryed hee shall upon such Tryal have the Benefitt of this Act.
IV. One Witness to each of Two distinct Treasons charged by one Indictment, not deemed Two Witnesses.
And bee it further enacted and declared by the Authority aforesaid That if Two or more distinct Treasons of diverse Heads or Kinds shall bee alledged in one Bill of Indictment one Witnesse produced to prove one of the said Treasons and another Witnesse produced to prove another of the said Treasons shall not bee deemed or taken to bee Two Witnesses to the same Treason within the meaning of this Act.
And to the intent that the Terror and Dread of such Criminal Accusations may in some reasonable time bee removed Bee it further enacted [by the Authority aforesaid (fn. 2)] That from and after the said Five and twentieth Day of March in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety six noe Person or Persons whatsoever shall bee indicted tryed or prosecuted for any such Treason as aforesaid or for Misprision of such Treason that shall bee committed or done within the Kingdome of England Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweed after the said Five and twentieth Day of March in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety six unlesse the same Indictment bee found by a Grand Jury within Three Years next after the Treason or Offence done and committed [And that no Person or Persons shall bee prosecuted for any such Treason or Misprision of such Treason committed or done or to bee committed or done within the Kingdome of England Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweed before the said Five and twentieth Day of March unlesse hee or they shall bee indicted thereof within Three Yeares after the said Five and twentieth Day of March.
VI. Such Limitation not to extend to Assassination of the King.
Always provided and excepted that if any Person or Persons whatsoever shall bee guilty of designing endeavouring or attempting any Assassination on the Body of the King by Poyson or otherwise such Person or Persons may bee prosecuted at any time notwithstanding the aforesaid Limitation; (fn. 3)]
VII. Persons indicted to have Copy of Pannel of Jurors delivered to them Two Days before Trial;
And that all and every Person and Persons who shall bee accused indicted [or (fn. 4)] tryed for such Treason as aforesaid or for Misprision of such Treason after the said Five and twentieth Day of March in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety six shall have Copies of the Pannel of the Jurors who are to try them duely returned by the Sheriff and delivered unto them and every of them soe accused and indicted respectively Two Days at the least before hee or they shall bee tryed for the same And that all Persons soe accused and indicted for any such Treason as aforesaid shall have the like Processe of the Court where they shall bee tryed to compell their Witnesses to appeare for them att any such Tryal or Tryals as is usually granted to compell Witnesses to appeare against them.
VIII. No Evidence of Overt Act not laid in Indictment.
IX. Indictment, Process, &c. not quashed for miswriting, &c. unless Exception taken before Evidence given.
Provided alsoe and bee it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That noe Indictment for any of the [Offences (fn. 5)] aforesaid nor any Processe or Returne thereupon shall bee quashed on the Motion of the Prisoner or his Counsel for miswriting mispelling false or improper Latine unlesse Exception concerning the same bee taken and made in the respective Court where such Tryal shall bee by the Prisoner or his Council assigned before any Evidence given in open Court upon such Indictment Nor shall any such miswriting mispelling false or improper Latine after Conviction on such Indictment bee any Cause to stay or arrest Judgement thereupon But neverthelesse any Judgement given upon such Indictment shall and may bee liable to bee reversed upon a Writt of Error in the same manner and noe other than as if this Act had not been made.
[And whereas by the good Laws of this Kingdome in Cases of Tryals of Commoners for their Lives a Jury of Twelve Freeholders must all agree in one Opinion before they can bring a Verdict either for Acquital or Condemnation of the Prisoner. And whereas upon the Tryals of Peers or Peeresses a Major Vote is sufficient either to acquitt or condemn Bee it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That upon the Tryal of any Peer or Peeresse either for Treason or Misprision all the Peers who have a Right to sitt and vote in Parliament shall bee duely summoned Twenty Days att least before every such Tryal to appearee att every such Triyal And that every Peere soe summoned and appeareing att such Tryal shall vote in the Tryal of such Peer or Peeresse soe to bee tryed every such Peere first takeing the Oaths mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in the First Yeare of the Reign of King William and Queene Mary intituled An Act for abrogateing the Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance and appointing other Oaths And alsoe every such Peer subscribing and audibly repeating the Declaration mentioned in An Act for the more effectual preserving the Kings Person and Government by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament and made in [the (fn. 7)] Thirtieth Yeare of the Reigne of the late King Charles the Second. (fn. 6)]
XI. Proviso for Impeachment, &c. in Parliament.
XII. Proviso for Indictments for coining and counterfeiting Great Seal, &c.
Provided alsoe That this Act nor any thing therein contained shall any ways extend to any Indictment of High Treason nor to any Proceedings thereupon for counterfeiting His Majesties Coyn His Great Seale or Privy Seale His Signe Manual or Privy Signett.