Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Conspiracy, a combination or agreement between several persons to carry into effect a purpose hurtful to some individual or to particular classes of the community, or to the public at large; for example, to injure the public health by selling unwholesome provisions, to raise the funds by the propagation of false intelligence, to defraud some person or persons of his or their property, and the like, besides conspiracies to murder or to commit any other of the greater offences. One of the chief cases of this offence is that of falsely and maliciously conspiring to indict an innocent man. With respect to this offence of conspiracy in general (and not merely when it affects the administration of justice), it may be further remarked that it is deemed to consist rather in the guilty combination or agreement than in the act by which it is carried into effect, and therefore in an indictment for conspiring to do a thing in itself unlawful it has never been essential to allege that the thing was in fact done. A combination among workmen to raise the price of wages was once deemed to be a conspiracy, though the same object if contemplated by a single workman would not have been criminal or even actionable. The law, however, as to efforts to obtain a rise of wages has been materially altered by the "Trade Union Act, 1871," which enacts that the purposes of any trade-union shall not, by reason merely that they are in restraint of trade, be unlawful, so as to render the members liable to prosecution for conspiracy or otherwise; and by the "Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875," an agreement or combination by two 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 either by indictment or summary conviction.