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PAGE Lester v. Collins

438 Little, Reg. v.

225 Long, Reg. v.

193 Lonsdale v. Rigg

194 Lovell, Reg. 0.......

225 Lucas v. Mason

85 Luff v. Leoper ....

198 Lutter v. Braddell and others 110

Magrath, Reg. V.....

224 Maloney, Kate, Reg. v. .........

242 Mamming, Reg. v.

376 Martin, Reg. o.

394 M'Athey, Reg. 0...

227 May's Case

294 Medland, Reg. v.

248 Monck v. Justices of Huddersfield

324 Morris v. Blackman

236 Mullins v. Collins


PAGE Robinson, Reg. v.

212, 354 Roe, Reg. 0....

226 Rogers, Reg. v.

373 Rook v. Hopley

189 Rymer, Reg. v.

425 Sandys v. Small

183 Searle v. St. Martins-in-theFields

198 Shaw v. Morley

92 Shelley v. Bethell

302 Shepherd, Reg. v.

379 Shickle, Reg. v.

226 Smith v. Stokes

202 Snape, Reg. v. ........

380 Stace v. Smith..

187 Stannerd, Reg. v.

132 Starr v. Stringer...

336 Stimson, Reg. v.


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Negus, Reg. V........

139 Nicholls, Reg. v.

284 Norman v. Smith

5 Oldham v. Ramsden

92 Orton, Reg. v. .......

271 Patten v. Rymer....

198 Paul v. Summerhayes.........85, 194 Peuk, Reg. v.

356 Peart v. Barstow...

186 Pembleton, Reg. v.

385 Petch, Reg. v. ...... Pierce, Reg. v.

225 Pratt, Reg. v.

193, 203 Price, Reg. v. .......

212 Prince, Reg. v. .........

74, 172, 225 Pryce v. Davies

259, 284 Ratcliffe, Reg. V.....

285 Rawson v. Ellis (Alderson, B.) 4 Read, Reg. v.

194 Redgate 0. Haynes

198 Rees v. Yates

325 Reeve v. Wood

146 Rice, Reg. v.

133 Richardson, Reg. v.

141 Riddle v. Bowater


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THE constable of the vill, or petty constable, is one of the most

ancient officers of the realm for the conservation of the peace, and according to Lord COKE, Chief Justice, the office arose out of the constitution of frankpledge, usually attributed to King Alfred. The constable is, however, first named in the statute of 2 Ed. 3, c. 3.

It is said that " a constable hath as good authority in bis place as the Chief Justice of England hath in his;" his authority in respect of his several duties will, however, be more particularly detailed in the respective sections of the following work.

A constable is a keeper of the peace, and his most essential duty is the preservation of the peace and the prevention of crime ; for that purpose he is armed by law with the power of arrest or apprehension; but while the law confers upon a constable powers of arrest for certain offences, it at the same time requires that he shall exercise such powers legally and with proper caution.

Crimes and offences may be classified under two heads :-Felonies and Misdemeanors.

The term " Felony,” is applied to nearly all serious crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, rape, burglary, housebreaking, forgery, robbery, larceny, embezzlement, arson, &c.

“ Misdemeanors” are crimes or offences of less serious character than felonies, such as frauds, assaults, affrays, riots, &c.

The various felonies and misdemeanors here referred to are defined and treated of under their several titles, under heading GENERAL SUBJECTS, post.

A constable's power of arrest without warrant in cases of felony is greater than in cases of misdemeanor.


Arrest. An arrest on a criminal charge can be made with or without a warrant.

FELONIES.- A constable must arrest without a warrant any one whom he sees in the act of committing a felony. He may also arrest any one whom he may have just cause to suspect to be about to commit a felony. If the constable suspect a person to have committed a felony he should arrest him, and if he have reasonable grounds for his suspicions he will be justified, even though it should afterwards appear that no felony was in fact committed ; but the constable must be cautious in thus acting on his own suspicions.

A constable can also arrest any one whom another positively charges with having committed a felony, or whom another suspects of having committed a felony, if the suspicion appears to the constable to be well founded, and provided the person so suspecting go with the constable.

MISDEMEANORS.--As a rule a constable cannot arrest without warrant in cases of misdemeanor, but where a misdemeanor is committed in the presence of the constable he may arrest the offender without a warrant if the circumstances render such a course necessary, and the delinquent is not known. Information of the commission of a misdemeanor should not under ordinary circumstances be followed by arrest with warrant, except in case of escape from custody, or attempted felonies of a serious character, or in cases where arrest is authorized under some special statute.

SUMMARY.—The following is a summary of the principal crimes and offences for which a constable can arrest offenders without a warrant.

Offences against the person (24 & 25 Vict. c. 100).- Murder, man. slaughter, wounding, &c. Abduction, rape, using means to procure abortion, concealment of birth, child stealing, bigamy, sodomy, and bestiality.

Offences against property (24 & 25 Vict. c. 96).-Robbery, burglary, housebreaking, stealing from dwelling house, &c., larcenies generally, embezzlement, receiving stolen goods, obtaining goods and money by false pretonces, fraud, &c.

In all cases of fraud, however, the constable will do well to protect himself by the warrant of a justice.

Malicious injuries (24 & 25 Vict. c. 97).--Arson, injuries to houses, goods, &c., injuring trees, shrubs, vegetable productions, fences, walls, &c., killing or maiming cattle or other animals.

Also the crimes of forgery and offences against the coinage, uttering counterfeit coin, &c. (24 & 25 Vict. cc. 98, 99).

Persons can also be arrested without warrant for offences against the Penal Servitude and Prevention of Crimes Acts; and for the crimes of treason, smuggling, conspiracy, night poaching, &c.

The following persons are liable to arrest without warrant: deserters, pedlars without license, persons found at night in any highway, &c., whom the constable may suspect to be about to commit a felony, persons committing breaches of the peace, offenders against the Vagrant Act, &c. The Vagrant Act (5 Geo. 4, c. 83) divides vagrants into three separate classes, viz. : idle and disorderly persons, rogues and vagabonds, and incorrigible rogues. Any officer or constable may at once arrest and take before a magistrate persons committing offences. See title “Vagrant Acts” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.

A constable may take into custody persons obstructing him in the execution of bis duty.

BREACH OF THE PEACE.-A constable may apprehend without warrant on view of a breach of the peace, but not after the affray is over, unless it is evident a serious assault has been committed, or a dangerous wound given, or that there is ground to apprehend a renewal.

When the offence has not yet been committed, but when a breach of the peace is likely to take place, as when persons are openly preparing to fight, the constable should take the parties concerned into custody.

ABUSIVE LANGUAGE.—If persons be merely quarrelling or insulting each other by words, the constable has no right to take them into custody, but he should be ready to prevent a breach of the peace.

If a person annoys another by abusive language or constantly following him, whereby a breach of the peace may occur, such person can be proceeded against and summoned by the party aggrieved.

FORCIBLE ENTRY,&c.-If a person forcibly enter the house of another, the constable may, at the request of the owner, turn him out directly ; if he have entered peaceably, but having no right to enter, and the owner request the constable to turn him out, the constable should first request him to go out, and unless he do so, he should turn him out, in either case using no more force than is necessary for the purpose.

ARREST BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL.-If a felony has been committed the offender may be arrested by any person on reasonable suspicion of his guilt, but a private person can only arrest at his peril for crimes not committed in his presence, whereas a constable can arrest on reasonable suspicion. A private person may apprehend without a warrant on view of a breach of the peace, and hand over the offender to a constable; and he is justified in giving in charge, and a constable in arresting without a warrant, a party who has been guilty of a breach of the peace if there are reasonable grounds for apprehending its continuance or renewal. The constable should, however, require the person making the charge to accompany him to the police station, or before a magistrate. In all cases of common assault the constable should endeavour to obtain for the complainant the name and address of the person he accuses.

WARNING.—If a constable finds his own exertions insufficient to effect an arrest he ought to warn one or more of the bystanders to assist him, and it is an indictable misdemeanor in any one so warned to refuse. If a prisoner escape he may be retaken, and in immediate pursuit the con. stable may follow him into any place or any house.

BREAKING DOORS.—Whenever a person is lawfully arrested for any cause and afterwards escapes and shelters himself in a house, the doors may be broken open to retake him.

If a party accused of felony takes refuge in a house, or if personsare fighting furiously in a house, or a felony appears likely to be committed, a constable may break open the doors, if necessary, to get in, provided he first demands admission, stating who he is and his business; but the breaking open of outer doors is so dangerous a proceeding, that the constable never should resort to it except in extreme cases, and when an immediate arrest is necessary.

ARREST WITH WARRANT.—Regarding arrest with warrant, see title “Warrants” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.

TIME AND PLACE OF ARREST.-A person may be apprehended in the night as well as the day, and in any place. 29 Car. 2, c. 7, s. 6, prohibited arrests on a Sunday except in cases of treason, felony, or breach of the peace, but it has been held that arrests may be made on a Sunday in any case of indictable offence (Rawson v. Ellis).

MODE.-In order to complete an arrest the constable must actually touch or restrain the offender. In arresting, a constable should not use violence, but act gently as long as possible, and preserve his temper, even if in danger of his life, and in all cases of assault, riot, &c., a constable should exhibit a great amount of forbearance before exercising his power of arrest.

Generally if the arrest was made discreetly and fairly in pursuit of an offender, and not for any private malice or ill will, the constable need not doubt that the law will protect him.

PRISONERS—QUESTIONING, CAUTIONING, &c. — When a constable suspects a person of committing an offence it may be necessary for him to put certain questions to ascertain whether he will be justified in apprehending him, but from the moment an officer has made up his mind to apprehend he has no right to further question the suspected person.

The following is the effect of observations on the subject, made by the late Lord Chief Justice COCKBURN, at the Central Criminal Court, July 16th, 1870: “You may ask a man questions with an honest intention to elicit the truth and to ascertain whether there are grounds for apprehending him; but, with a foregone intention of arresting him, to ask questions for the main purpose of getting anything out of him that may be afterwards used against him is a very improper proceeding.”

Various opinions exist as to whether it is incumbent on a constable to “caution” a person in custody on a criminal charge, against saying anything that may criminate him, by informing him that it will be given in evidence against him. Judicial opinions have been given both in favour of and against such a practice. (See sect. vi., post).

Constables must carefully avoid holding out to any prisoner any promise, or endeavouring by threat or any other means to extract from them any confession. A constable should listen to any voluntary statement a prisoner may choose to make, but such statements will be inadmissible as evidence if it appears that they were made under the influence of any promise or threat, however slight.

Having effected an arrest, the constable has no power to deal with a prisoner (beyond providing for safe custody) otherwise than by taking him before a magistrate as soon as he reasonably can. He has no personal

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