Citation:
The Bushranging Act (1830), 2 Geo. IV, c. 10.


An Act to suppress Robbery and Housebreaking and the Harbouring of Robbers and Housebreakers

WHEREAS the crimes of robbery and housebreaking have increased to an alarming degree and it is become necessary to restrain the same, as much as possible, by temporary provisions, suited to the emergency of the occasion: Be it therefore enacted, That it shall be lawful for any person whatsoever, having reasonable cause to suspect and believe any other person to be a transported felon, unlawfully at large, immediately by himself, or with the assistance of other persons, and without a warrant for such purpose, to apprehend, or cause to be apprehended every such suspected person, and him to take or cause to be taken before any Justice of the Peace of the Colony, for examination as hereinafter provided.

II. And be it further enacted, That every suspected person who shall be taken before any Justice of the Peace as aforesaid, shall be obliged to prove, to the reasonable satisfaction of such Justice, that he is not a felon under sentence of transportation ; and, in default of such proof, such Justice of the Peace may cause such person to be detained in safe custody until it can be proved whether he is a transported felon or free; and, in every such case, the proof of being free shall be upon the person alleging himself to be free: Provided always, that every such Justice of the Peace may, in his discretion, cause every such suspected person to be securely removed to Sydney, to be there examined and dealt with in like manner as aforesaid .

III. And be it further enacted, That every person whatsoever who shall be found on the roads, or in any other part of the said Colony, with fire-arms or other instruments of a violent nature in his possession, under circumstances affording reasonable ground for suspecting that such a person may be or intend to be a robber, every such suspected person shall be liable to be apprehended and taken before a Justice of the Peace in like manner, and be dealt with in all respects as hereinbefore is provided, in reference to persons suspected of being transported felons unlawfully at large; and, in every such case, the proof that such fire-arms, or other instruments of a violent nature, were not intended for an illegal purpose, shall be upon the person in whose possession the same shall be found as aforesaid.

IV. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any person having reasonable cause for suspecting and believing that any other person may have fire-arms, or other instrument of a deadly nature, concealed about his person, to search or cause to be searched every such suspected person; and, in case of discovering any such fire-arms, or other instrument of a violent nature, to apprehend or cause to be apprehended such person, and to take him before any Justice of the Peace, to be dealt with in all respects as hereinbefore is provided, in reference to persons found with fire-arms, or other weapons, in their possession.

V. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any Justice of the Peace, having credible information that any robbers or housebreakers are concealed or harboured in the county or district wherein such Justice of the Peace shall be or reside, to grant a general search warrant to any one or more constables, to search any dwelling-house or tenement, or other place within or reputed to be within such county or district; and it shall be lawful for such constable or constables, in virtue of such general warrant , to break enter and search, by day or by night, any such dwelling house, tenement, or other place within or reputed to be within such county or district , and to apprehend or cause to be apprehended every person whom such constable or constables shall have reasonable cause for suspecting and believing to be a robber or housebreaker, and to seize and secure all fire-arms, and other arms or instruments of a violent nature, and all goods and chattels which such constable or constables shall have reasonable ground for suspecting and believing to be stolen; and also to apprehend all persons found in or about any such dwelling-house or tenement, or other place, and whom such constable or constables shall have reasonable grounds for suspecting and believing to have, harbour and conceal any such robbers and housebreakers as aforesaid; and all persons, arms, goods and chattels, so found, seized, and apprehended as aforesaid, shall, by such constable or constables be forthwith taken before a Justice of the Peace for examination, and to be further dealt with according to law.

VI. And where it is expedient that robbers and housebreakers should be tried and punished as speedily as may be consistent with the ends of justice; Be it therefore further enacted, That all persons who shall be fully committed for the crime of robbery, or of entering and plundering any dwellinghouse, with arms and violence, shall be brought to trial as soon as possible; and being lawfully convicted of any such crime, and sentenced to suffer death, shall be executed according to law on the day next but two after sentence passed, unless the same shall happen to be Sunday, and in that case, on the Monday following; and such sentence shall be passed immediately after the conviction of such offender, unless the Court or Judge shall see reasonable cause for postponing the same.

VII. And be it further enacted, That every person who shall be found with any fire-arms, or other instrument of a violent nature, in his possession, and shall not prove to the satisfaction of such Justice of the Peace as aforesaid, that the same was or were not intended to be illegally used, as hereinbefore is provided, shall be deemed to be guilty of a high misdemeanor, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to be imprisoned for any time not exceeding three years.

VIII. And for the more effectual enforcing of this law or ordinance, be it further enacted, That all His Majesty's subjects shall be liable to be called upon to aid and assist any constable or other person in executing and enforcing the several provisions thereof; and every person who shall be so called upon to aid and assist, and shall refuse and neglect so to do, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five pounds, to be recovered and levied in a summary manner, before any Justice of the Peace, over and above any other punishment to which such person shall be liable by law.

IX. And be it further enacted, That if any action or suit shall be brought against any Justice of the Peace, Constable, or other person or persons, for any Act or thing since the tenth day of this instant month of April, or at any time during the continuance of this Act, done, in furtherance of the objects, or in pursuance of the provisions of this law or ordinance, the defendant or defendants, in every such action or suit, may plead the general issue, and may give this Act and the special matter in evidence at any trial to be had thereupon; and if the verdict shall be for the defendant or defendants in any such action or suit, or if the plaintiff or plaintiffs be nonsuited, or discontinue his or her, or their action or suit, after the defendant or defendants shall have appeared, or if upon demurrer, judgment shall be given against plaintiff or plaintiffs, the defendant or defendants shall have treble costs and shall have like remedy for the same, as any other defendant or defendants hath or have in any other case to recover costs by law.

X. And be it further enacted, That this Law or Ordinance shall continue in force for two years from the passing and publication thereof.