Mutiny Act 1815
|Publication Date:||January 01, 1815|
(55 Geo. 3) C A P. CVIII.
[22d June 1815]
'WHEREAS the raising or keeping a Standing Army within the United Kingdom ofGreat Britain and Ireland , in time of Peace, unless it be with the Consent of Parliament, is against Law: And Whereas it is judged necessary by His Majesty, and this present Parliament, that a Body of Forces should be continued for the Safety of the United Kingdom, the Defence of the Possessions of His Majesty's Crown and the Preservation of the Balance of Power in Europe , and that the whole Number of such Forcesshould consist of One hundred and ninety thousand seven hundred and sixty seven effective Officers and Men, exclusive of His Majesty's Forces employed in the Territorial Possessions of theEast India Company, the Foreign Corps in British Pay, and the embodied Militia: And Whereas no Man can be forejudged of Life or Limb, or subjected in time of Peace to any Kind of Punishment within this Realm, by Martial Law, or in any other manner than by the Judgment of his Peers, and according to the known and established Laws of this Realm; yet nevertheless, it being requisite for the retaining all the before mentioned Forces in their Duty that an exact Discipline be observed, and that Soldiers who shall mutiny or stir up Sedition, or shall desert His Majesty's Service, be brought to a more exemplary and speedy Punishment than the usual Forms of the Law will allow;' Be it therefore enacted by The King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lands Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That if any Person who is or shall be Commissioned or in Pay as an Officer, or who is or shall be Listed or in Pay as a Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier, shall, at any time during the Continuance of this Act, begin, excite, cause or join in any Mutiny or Sedition in His Majesty's Land or Marine Forces, or shall not use his utmost Endeavours to suppress the same, or coming to the Knowledge of any Mutiny or intended Mutiny, shall not without Delay give Information thereof to his Commanding Officer; or shall misbehave himself before the Enemy; or shall shamefully abandon or deliver up any Garrison, Fortress, Post or Guard committed to his Charge, or which he shall be commanded to defend; or shall compel the Governor or Commanding Officer of any Garrison, Fortress or Post, to deliver up to the Enemy, or to abandon the same; or shall speak Words, or use any other means to induce such Governor or Commanding Officer, or others, to misbehave before the Enemy; or shamefully to abandon or deliver up any Garrison, Fortress, Post or Guard committed to their respective Charge, or which he or they shall be commanded to defend; or shall leave his Post before relieved; or shall be found sleeping on his Post; or shall hold Correspondence with, or give Adviceor Intelligence to any Rebel or Enemy of His Majesty, either by Letters, Messages, Signs or Tokens, in any manner or way whatsoever; or shall treat or enter into any Terms with such Rebel or Enemy, without His Majesty's Licence, or Licence of the General or Chief Commander; or shall strike or use any Violenceagainst his Superior Officer, being in the Execution of his Office; or shall disobey any lawful Command of his Superior Officer; or shall desert His Majesty's Service; all and every Person and Persons so offending in any of the Matters before mentioned, whether such Offence shall be committed within this Realm, or in any otherof HisMajesty's Dominions, or in Foreign Parts, upon Land, or upon the Sea, shall suffer Death, or such other Punishment as by a Court Martial shall be awarded.
II Soldiers enlisted in other Regiment, &c. deemed Deserters.
II. Provided always, and it is hereby declared and enacted, That no Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier who shall desert His Majesty's Service, shall be exempt from the Pains and Penalties imposed by this Act for such Offence, by again enlisting into His Majesty's Service; but any such Soldier shall, notwithstanding such subsequent Enlistment, be deemed to have deserted His Majesty's Service, and shall in like manner suffer Death, or such other Punishmentas by a Court Martial shall be awarded.
'III. And Whereas Doubts have arisen, whether Soldiers, who of Right belong to Corps from which they have deserted, may be proceeded against and tried for deserting any other Corps in which they may afterwards have enlisted, or from His Majesty's Service, if they shall not after such subsequent enlisting have been placed in any Corps, or for any Crime committed by them whilst serving therein;' Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, Thatevery such Soldier shall be liable to be tried by a Court Martial, and punished in like manner as if he had originally enlisted in, and of Right belonged to the Regiment, Corps, Troop, Company, Detachment or Party, in which he shall be at the time of any subsequent Desertion, or committing any Offence, notwithstanding it shall have been discovered or known that he had previously belonged to some other Regiment, Corps, Troop or Company, Detachment or Party, and had not been discharged therefrom: Provided always, that if such Person shall be claimed by such other Regiment, Corps, Troop or Company, Detachment or Party, and be proceeded against as a Deserter therefrom, his subsequent Desertion from any One or more Corps in which he may have unwarrantably enlisted, may (unless he shall already have been tried for the same) be given in Evidenceas an Aggravation of his Crime; previous Notice being always given to such Deserter of the Fact or Facts intended to be produced in Evidence upon his Trial.
IV Deserter transported;
IV. And be it further enacted and declared, That in case of any Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier, tried and convicted of Desertion, whensoever the Court Martial which shall pass Sentence upon such Trial shall not think the Offence deserving of Capital Punishment, such Court Martial may, instead of awarding a Corporal Punishment, adjudge the Offender according to the Nature of the Offence, if they shall think fit to be transported as a Felonfor Life or for a certain Term of Years: And if such Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier, having been adjudged to be transported as a Felon shall afterwards (without Leave from His Majesty, or from the Governor or Commanding Officer of the Place to which he shall have been transported) return into or be found at large, without Leave as aforesaid, or other lawful Cause, within any Part of the United Kingdom ofGreat Britain and Ireland , or in any of His Majesty's Possessions Abroad, other than the Place to which he shall have been transported, before the Expiration of the Term limited by such Sentence, and shall be convicted thereof in the ordinary course of Law, every such Person shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of Felony, and shall suffer Death as a Felon, without Benefit of Clergy.
V His Majesty, where Courts Martial award Capital Punishment, may order Offenders to be transported.
V. Provided, and be it enacted, That in all cases wherein a Capital Punishment shall have been awarded by a Court Martial, it shall be lawful for His Majesty, instead of causing such Sentence to be carried into Execution, to order the Offender to be transported as a Felon for Life, or for a certain Term of Years, as to His Majesty shall seem meet; and if the Person so transported, in pursuance of such Order from His Majesty, shall afterwards (without Leave from His Majesty, or from the Governor or Commanding Officer of the Place to which he shall have been transported) return into or be found at large without Leave as aforesaid, or other lawful Cause, within any Part ofGreat Britain or Ireland , or in any of His Majesty's Possessions Abroad, other than the Place to which he shall have been transported, before the Expiration of the Termlimited by such Order, and shall be duly convicted thereof, he shall suffer Death as a Felon without Benefit of Clergy.
VI Deserter sentenced to serve as a Soldier in any Corps.
VI. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any General or General Regimental Court Martial to sentence any Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier, convicted of Desertion by such Court, to general Service as a Soldier, and that His Majesty may thereupon direct that such Service shall be in any Regiment or Regiments, or Corps, and in any Country, or Place or Places, Abroad or otherwise, as He may think fit.
VII Deserter enlisted for a limited Term, sentenced to serve for Life, &c.
VII. Provided also, and be it further enacted, That if any Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier in any Regiment or Corps of His Majesty's Regular Forces, so convicted of Desertion, shall appear to have enlisted for a limited Term of Years, it shall be lawful for such Court to sentence any such Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier so enlisted in any Regiment or Corps of His Majesty's Regular Forces to serve for Life as a Soldier, or for any Number of Years beyond the Period for which such Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier shall have enlisted in the Regiment in which he so enlisted, or generally in any Regiment or Corps which His Majesty shall please to direct; and any Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier may in any case, in addition to any Service, be further adjudged to forfeit all Benefit or Advantage as to Increase of Pay, or as to Pension or Discharge, which might otherwise have accrued to...
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