Unlawful Oaths to Commit Treason, Murder etc.

– section 316 of the Crimes Act 1958
HandsThis charge is generally laid in situations where a person administers, is present at and consents to the administering of any oath or engagement in the nature of an oath purporting to bind the person who takes it to commit treason or murder.

Examples of Unlawful Oaths to Commit Treason, Murder etc.
  • A person joins a cult and is made to take an oath to commit a murder or treason.
  • A group conspires to assassinate a political figure.
Questions in cases like this
  • Was there an Oath?
  • Who was present?
  • What was to be carried out.
What are some of the possible defences to Unlawful Oaths to Commit Treason, Murder etc.?

Defences to this could be that there was lack of intent, a factual dispute or compulsion.

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The court may impose a maximum penalty of level 5 imprisonment for this offence (10 years). Unlawful oaths to commit treason, murder etc is a very serious offence which is heard in the County Court.

What is the legal definition of Unlawful Oaths to Commit Treason, Murder etc.?

Unlawful oaths to commit treason, murder etc.

  1. Every person who—

S. 316(1)(a)

    1. administers or is present at and consents to the administering of any oath or engagement in the nature of an oath purporting to bind the person who takes it to commit treason or murder; or
    2. takes any such oath or engagement not being compelled to do so; or
    3. induces or attempts to induce any person to take any such oath or engagement—

Imprisonment

  • shall be guilty of an indictable offence, and shall be liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
  1. Every person who—
    1. administers or is present at and consents to the administering of any oath or engagement in the nature of an oath purporting to bind the person who takes it to act in any of the ways following (that is to say):—
      1. to engage in any mutinous or seditious enterprise;

S. 316(2)(a)(ii) amended by No. 9019 s. 2(1)(Sch. item 39).

      1. to commit any indictable offence other than treason or murder;
      2. to disturb the public peace;
      3. to be of any association society or confederacy formed for the purpose of doing any such act as aforesaid;
      4. to obey the order or commands of any committee or body of men not lawfully constituted or of any leader or commander or other person not having authority by law for that purpose;
      5. not to inform or give evidence against any associate confederate or other person;
      6. not to reveal or discover any unlawful association society or confederacy or any illegal act done or to be done or any illegal oath or engagement that may have been administered or tendered to or taken by himself or any other person or the import of any such oath or engagement; or
    1. takes any such oath or engagement not being compelled to do so; or
    2. induces or attempts to induce any person to take any such oath or engagement—
  • shall be guilty of an indictable offence, and shall be liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).
  1. A person who takes any such oath or engagement as is mentioned in the last two preceding subsections cannot set up as a defence that he was compelled to do so unless within fourteen days after taking it or if he is prevented by actual force or sickness within fourteen days after the termination of such prevention he declares by evidence on oath before some member of the Executive Council or a magistrate or if he is on actual service in Her Majesty’s forces by sea or land either by such evidence or by evidence on oath before his commanding officer the whole of what he knows concerning the matter, including the person or persons by whom and in whose presence and the place where and the time when the oath or engagement was administered or taken.
     
  2. A person who has been tried and convicted or acquitted on a charge of any of the offences mentioned in this section shall not be afterwards prosecuted upon the same facts for treason or for failing when he knows that any person intends to commit treason to give information thereof with all reasonable despatch to a magistrate or use other reasonable endeavours to prevent the commission of the crime.

Call Doogue + George

“Have you been accused of making an oath to commit murder or treason?”
Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 316 of Crimes Act 1958.

Elements of the offence

In essence to prove this charge the Prosecution must show that the accused administered or was present at or consented to the administering of any oath or engagement in the nature of an oath which purported to bind the person who took the oath to commit treason or murder.