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Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act

Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act



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After the 1874 General Election, Benjamin Disraeli and the Conservative Party formed the government. As promised, Disraeli passed new legislation concerning trade unions. The Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act established the principle that a trade union could not be prosecuted for an act which would be legal if performed by an individual. For example, it was not illegal for an individual to stop work, therefore a union could not be prosecuted if it organised a strike. Under this act peaceful picketing was allowed to take place during industrial disputes.


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Conspiracy, and Protection of Property Act 1875

The Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875 (38 & 39 Vict. c.86) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom relating to labour relations, which together with the Employers and Workmen Act 1875, fully decriminalised the work of trade unions. Based on an extension of the conclusions of the Cockburn Commission, it was introduced by a Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli. [1]

The Act held that a trade union could not be prosecuted for act which would be legal if conducted by an individual. [2] This meant that labour disputes were civil matters, not for consideration by criminal courts. [1] One result of this was that picketing was decriminalised. [3] The law also made certain forms of stalking illegal. [4]

Sections 6 and 7 of this Act were repealed for the Republic of Ireland by the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, section 31 and Schedule.

The Act has been repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2008 (c.12), Schedule 1, Part 3.


The Mystery of Nikola Tesla’s Missing Files

After Nikola Tesla was found dead in January 1943 in his hotel room in New York City, representatives of the U.S. government’s Office of Alien Property seized many documents relating to the brilliant and prolific 86-year-old inventor’s work.

It was the height of World War II, and Tesla had claimed to have invented a powerful particle-beam weapon, known as the �th Ray,” that could have proved invaluable in the ongoing conflict. So rather than risk Tesla’s technology falling into the hands of America’s enemies, the government swooped in and took possession of all the property and documents from his room at the New Yorker Hotel.

What happened to Tesla’s files from there, as well as what exactly was in those files, remains shrouded in mystery𠅊nd ripe for conspiracy theories. After years of fielding questions about possible cover-ups, the FBI finally declassified some 250 pages of Tesla-related documents under the Freedom of Information Act in 2016. The bureau followed up with two additional releases, the latest in March 2018. But even with the publication of these documents, many questions still remain unanswered𠅊nd some of Tesla’s files are still missing.

Three weeks after the Serbian-American inventor’s death, an electrical engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was tasked with evaluating his papers to determine whether they contained 𠇊ny ideas of significant value.” According to the declassified files, Dr. John G. Trump reported that his analysis showed Tesla’s efforts to be “primarily of a speculative, philosophical and promotional character” and said the papers did “not include new sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”

John Trump, head of research at MIT, in high voltage research lab of MIT, 1949. (Credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

The scientist’s name undoubtedly rings a bell, as John G. Trump was the uncle of the 45th U.S. president, Donald J. Trump. The younger brother of Trump’s father, Fred, he helped design X-ray machines that greatly helped cancer patients and worked on radar research for the Allies during World War II. Donald Trump himself cited his uncle’s credentials often during his presidential campaign. “My uncle used to tell me about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear,” he once toldਊn interviewer.

At the time, the FBI pointed to Dr. Trump’s report as evidence that Tesla’s vaunted �th Ray” particle beam weapon didn’t exist, outside of rumors and speculation. But in fact, the U.S. government itself was split in its response to Tesla’s technology. Marc Seifer, author of the biography Wizard: The Life & Times of Nikola Tesla, says a group of military personnel at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, including Brigadier General L.C. Craigee, had a very different opinion of Tesla’s ideas.

𠇌raigee was the first person to ever fly a jet plane for the military, so he was like the John Glenn of the day,” Seifer says. “He said, ‘there’s something to this—the particle beam weapon is real.’ So you have two different groups, one group dismissing Tesla’s invention, and another group saying there’s really something to it.”  

Then there’s the nagging question of the missing files. When Tesla died, his estate was to go to his nephew, Sava Kosanovic, who at the time was the Yugoslav ambassador to the U.S. (thanks to his familial connection with Serbia’s most celebrated inventor). According to the recently declassified documents, some in the FBI feared Kosanovic was trying to wrest control of Tesla’s technology in order to “make such information available to the enemy,” and even considered arresting him to prevent this.

Yugoslavan Ambassador Sava N. Kosanovic in his study. (Credit: George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

In 1952, after a U.S. court declared Kosanovic the rightful heir to his uncle’s estate, Tesla’s files and other materials were sent to Belgrade, Serbia, where they now reside in the Nikola Tesla Museum there. But while the FBI originally recorded some 80 trunks among Tesla’s effects, only 60 arrived in Belgrade, Seifer says. “Maybe they packed the 80 into 60, but there is the possibility that…the government did keep the missing trunks.”  

For the five-part HISTORY series The Tesla Files, Seifer joined forces with Dr. Travis Taylor, an astrophysicist, and Jason Stapleton, an investigative reporter, to search for these missing files and seek out the truth of the government’s views on the �th Ray” particle-beam weapon and Tesla’s other ideas.

Despite John G. Trump’s dismissive assessment of Tesla’s ideas immediately after his death, the military did try and incorporate particle-beam weaponry in the decades following World War II, Seifer says. Notably, the inspiration of the �th Ray” fueled Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars” program, in the 1980s. If the government is still using Tesla’s ideas to power its technology, Seifer explains, that could explain why some files related to the inventor still remain classified.

Nilkola Tesla sitting in his Colorado Spring laboratory. (Credit: Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis via Getty Images)

There is evidence that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president, Henry Wallace, discussed “the effects of TESLA, particularly those dealing with the wireless transmission of electrical energy and the �th ray’” with his advisors, according to FBI documents released in 2016. Along the same lines, Seifer and his colleagues in The Tesla Files uncovered the role played by Vannevar Bush, whom FDR appointed as head of the Manhattan Project, in the evaluation of Tesla’s papers. They also lookedਊt the possibility thatꃽR himself may have sought a meeting with the inventor just before he died.

By visiting some of the key places in Tesla’s life𠅏rom his laboratory in Colorado Springs to his last living quarters at the Hotel New Yorker to the mysterious wireless tower he built at Wardenclyffe, Long Island—Seifer, Taylor and Stapleton sought to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the celebrated, enigmatic inventor. They also traveled to California, where some of Tesla’s other groundbreaking ideas —many of which were seen as unrealistic or even crackpot during his own lifetime—now fuel some of the most dominant industries in Silicon Valley.


Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act - History

Western Australia

Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1900

Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1900

2.Amendment of law as to conspiracy in trade disputes1

3.Breach of contract by persons employed in supply of light, gas or water2

4.Breach of contract involving injury to persons or property3

6.Penalty for neglect by master to provide food, clothing, etc., for servant or apprentice4

11.Saving as to sea service4

12.Master not to act as magistrate, etc.4

13.Definition of “municipal authority”4

Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1900

An Act amending the Law relating to Conspiracy and Protection of Property.

Whereas doubts have arisen as to whether the Acts relating to Conspiracy and Protection of Property, and like subjects, in force in England at the time of the settlement of Western Australia are in force in this Colony: And whereas it is desirable that such doubt should be removed by the introduction of legislation in lieu of the provisions of the said Acts:

Be it enacted by the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: —

This Act may be cited as the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1900 1 .

2 .Amendment of law as to conspiracy in trade disputes

An agreement or combination by 2 or more persons to do or procure to be done any act in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute between employers and workmen shall not be indictable as a conspiracy if such act committed by one person would not be punishable as a crime.

Nothing in this section shall affect the law relating to riot, unlawful assembly, breach of the peace, or sedition, or any offence against the State or the Sovereign.

A crime, for the purposes of this section, means an offence punishable on indictment, or an offence which is punishable on summary conviction, and for the commission of which the offender is liable, under the statute making the offence punishable, to be imprisoned, either absolutely or at the discretion of the Court, as an alternative for some other punishment.

Where a person is convicted of any such agreement or combination as aforesaid to do or procure to be done an act which is punishable only on summary conviction, and is sentenced to imprisonment, the imprisonment shall not exceed 3 months, or such longer time, if any, as may have been prescribed by the statute for the punishment of the said act when committed by one person.

3 .Breach of contract by persons employed in supply of light, gas or water

Where a person employed by a municipal authority or by any company or contractor upon whom is imposed, by Act of Parliament, the duty, or who have otherwise assumed the duty, of supplying any city, borough, town, or place, or any part thereof, with electric light, gas, or water, breaks a contract of service, without giving 7 days’ notice of his intention so to do, with that authority, or company, or contractor, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the probable consequences of his so doing, either alone or in combination with others, will be to deprive the inhabitants of that city, borough, town, place, or part, wholly or to a great extent of their supply of electric light, gas, or water, he shall, on conviction thereof by a court of summary jurisdiction be liable to a penalty of $300.

Every such municipal authority, company, or contractor as is mentioned in this section shall cause to be posted up at the gasworks or waterworks, as the case may be, belonging to such authority, or company, or contractor, a printed copy of this section in some conspicuous place where the same may be conveniently read by the persons employed, and as often as such copy becomes defaced, obliterated, or destroyed, shall cause it to be renewed with all reasonable despatch.

If any municipal authority or company or contractor make default in complying with the provisions of this section in relation to such notice as aforesaid, they or he shall incur, on summary conviction, a penalty not exceeding $10 for every day during which such default continues, and every person who unlawfully injures, defaces, or covers up any notice so posted up as aforesaid in pursuance of this Act shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a penalty not exceeding $4.

[Section 3 amended: 1 and 2 Edw. VII No. 14 s. 3 No. 113 of 1965 s. 8 No. 51 of 1992 s. 16(1) No. 78 of 1995 s. 147.]

4 .Breach of contract involving injury to persons or property

Where any person breaks a contract of service or of hiring, without giving 7 days’ notice of his intention so to do, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the probable consequences of his so doing, either alone or in combination with others, will be to endanger human life or cause serious bodily injury, or to expose valuable property, whether real or personal, to destruction or serious injury, he shall, on conviction thereof by a court of summary jurisdiction, be liable to a penalty of $300.

[Section 4 amended: 1 and 2 Edw. VII No. 14 s. 3 No. 113 of 1965 s. 8 No. 51 of 1992 s. 16(1) No. 78 of 1995 s. 147.]

The purposes of any trade union shall not, by reason merely that they are in restraint of trade, be deemed to be unlawful, so as to render any member of such trade union liable to a criminal prosecution for conspiracy or otherwise.

6 .Penalty for neglect by master to provide food, clothing, etc., for servant or apprentice

Where a master, being legally liable to provide for his servant or apprentice necessary food, clothing, medical aid, or lodging, wilfully, and without lawful excuse, refuses or neglects to provide the same, whereby the health of the servant or apprentice is or is likely to be seriously or permanently injured, he shall, on summary conviction, be liable to pay a penalty not exceeding $40.

[Section 6 amended: No. 113 of 1965 s. 8 No. 51 of 1992 s. 16(1) No. 50 of 2003 s. 48(2) No. 8 of 2009 s. 36.]

[ 7 and 8. Deleted: 1 and 2 Edw. VII No. 14 s. 3.]

[ 9, 10. Deleted: No. 59 of 2004 s. 141.]

11 .Saving as to sea service

Nothing in this Act shall apply to seamen or to apprentices to the sea service.

12 .Master not to act as magistrate, etc.

No person who is an owner, part owner, master, or manager of or in a similar trade, occupation, business, or calling in connection with which any charge or prosecution under this Act may arise shall be competent to sit either as a magistrate or juror on the hearing of such charge or prosecution.

13 .Definition of “municipal authority”

In this Act the expression municipal authority means any of the following authorities, that is to say:

The Town Council of any borough, for the time being, subject to the Municipal Institutions Act 1895 3 , and any Act amending the same, any commissioners, trustees, or other persons invested by any local Act of Parliament with powers of improving, cleansing, lighting, or paving any town, and any local board.

Any municipal authority, or company, or contractor who has obtained authority by or in pursuance of any general or local Act of Parliament to supply the streets of any city, borough, town, or place, or of any part thereof with electric light, gas, or which is required, by or in pursuance of any general or local Act of Parliament, to supply water on demand to the inhabitants of any city, borough, town, or place, or any part thereof, shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a municipal authority, or company, or contractor upon whom is imposed, by Act of Parliament, the duty of supplying such city, borough, town, or place, or part thereof, with electric light, gas, or water.

1 This is a compilation of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1900 and includes the amendments made by the other written laws referred to in the following table. The table also contains information about any reprint.


Conspiracy, and Protection of Property Act 1875

The Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875 (38 & 39 Vict. c.86) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom relating to labour relations, which together with the Employers and Workmen Act 1875, fully decriminalised the work of trade unions. Based on an extension of the conclusions of the Cockburn Commission, it was introduced by a Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli. [ 1 ]

The Act held that a trade union could not be prosecuted for act which would be legal if conducted by an individual. [ 2 ] This meant that labour disputes were civil matters, not for consideration by criminal courts. [ 1 ] One result of this was that picketing was decriminalised. [ 3 ] The law also made certain forms of stalking illegal. [ 4 ]

Sections 6 and 7 of this Act were repealed for the Republic of Ireland by the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, section 31 and Schedule.

The Act has been repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2008 (c.12), Schedule 1, Part 3.


Conspiracy Against Rights

Section 241 of Title 18 is the civil rights conspiracy statute. Section 241 makes it unlawful for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same). Unlike most conspiracy statutes, Section 241 does not require that one of the conspirators commit an overt act prior to the conspiracy becoming a crime.

The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 241

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same.

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.


1630. Protection Of Government Property -- Real Property -- 18 U.S.C. 7

The Federal government is the single largest holder of real estate in the United States. Federal custody and control over this property brings with it a host of responsibilities, including in some cases federal criminal jurisdiction. Yet it is clear that federal criminal jurisdiction does not exist over real property simply because the United States owns it. See Adams v. United States, 319 U.S. 312 (1943).

For purposes of federal criminal jurisdiction, government property can be categorized in three ways. First, certain lands fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. As this term implies, on these lands federal criminal law applies to the exclusion of state law. Other properties acquired by the United States fall within the concurrent criminal jurisdiction of the state and Federal governments. Finally, the United States may acquire property without accepting any special criminal jurisdiction over it. In this situation the United States simply retains proprietary jurisdiction over the property.

The jurisdictional status of property acquired by the United States, is important because it triggers the application of a series of federal laws, known as federal enclave statutes. These statutes apply to lands within the "special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States," a term which includes "(a)ny lands reserved or acquired for the use of the United States, and under the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction thereof . . . . See 18 U.S.C. § 7(3). Therefore any property under the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction of the United States is subject to these federal enclave laws.

The federal enclave laws provide two forms of protection to property found on federal land. At the outset these laws specifically forbid certain property crimes. For example, arson, theft, receiving stolen goods, destruction of property and robbery are all prohibited within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 81 (arson), 661 (theft), 662 (receiving stolen goods), 1363 (destruction of property), 2111 (robbery). In addition, 18 U.S.C. § 13 incorporates state law into the law of the federal enclave. Thus, property offenses which violate state law but are not otherwise punishable under federal law become federal crimes when committed on a federal enclave within the state.

Through these two means the federal enclave statutes add significantly to the body of law protecting government property. While these laws are not expressly limited to crimes involving government property, much of the property crime occurring in a federal enclave will involve property belonging to the United States. Therefore, United States Attorneys should be aware of the jurisdictional status of all federal property within their respective districts.


42 U.S. Code § 1985. Conspiracy to interfere with civil rights

If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave any State, district, or place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties

If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to deter, by force, intimidation, or threat, any party or witness in any court of the United States from attending such court, or from testifying to any matter pending therein, freely, fully, and truthfully, or to injure such party or witness in his person or property on account of his having so attended or testified, or to influence the verdict, presentment, or indictment of any grand or petit juror in any such court, or to injure such juror in his person or property on account of any verdict, presentment, or indictment lawfully assented to by him, or of his being or having been such juror or if two or more persons conspire for the purpose of impeding, hindering, obstructing, or defeating, in any manner, the due course of justice in any State or Territory, with intent to deny to any citizen the equal protection of the laws, or to injure him or his property for lawfully enforcing, or attempting to enforce, the right of any person, or class of persons, to the equal protection of the laws

If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire or go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another, for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State or Territory from giving or securing to all persons within such State or Territory the equal protection of the laws or if two or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner, toward or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President or Vice President , or as a Member of Congress of the United States or to injure any citizen in person or property on account of such support or advocacy in any case of conspiracy set forth in this section, if one or more persons engaged therein do, or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property, or deprived of having and exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States, the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damages occasioned by such injury or deprivation, against any one or more of the conspirators.


Arrest And Charge

In October 1972, following receipt of a dossier from the National Federation of Building Trades Employers (NFBTE), the then Home Secretary, Robert Carr, instructed the Chief Constables of West Mercia and Gwynedd to investigate the events in Shrewsbury. More than two months later, on 14 th November 1972, thirty-one pickets were arrested and questioned. They were released without charge. Then, on 14 th February 1973, five months after the end of the strike, twenty-four of the pickets were arrested and charged with over 242 offences between them. They included unlawful assembly, affray, intimidation, criminal damage and assault.

The Financial Times dismissed the dodgy dossier of the NFBTE: “This document is itself flawed since it suggests the existence of a sinister plot without being able to substantiate the allegations. Many of the incidents that have been listed seem to be little more than the ordinary spontaneous angry behaviour that might be expected on a building site at any time (and especially during an industrial dispute)….the publication reads more like a politically motivated pamphlet than a serious study.”

Despite all the hostile press coverage during and after the trials not a single picket was convicted of assault.

All 24 pickets were charged with the offence of “intimidation” under section 7 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875. These charges were never proceeded with by the prosecution although much of the focus of the campaigning after the convictions was for the repeal of this Act. In reality the far more serious charge, which was confused with the Act, was the common law offence of conspiracy.

The six pickets in the first trial were all charged with ‘conspiracy to intimidate contrary to common law’. This gave the prosecution and the judge the opportunity to impose lengthy prison terms on anyone convicted of conspiring to intimidate. In contrast, the maximum sentence for anyone convicted of actual intimidation contrary to section 7 of the 1875 Act was three months.

The prosecution wanted to criminalise legitimate trade union activity, in particular picketing.


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