1898 Obeah Law
[JAMAICA—LAW 5, 2nd June, 1898]
law as published
WHEREAS it is expedient to amend and consolidate the Law relating to Obeah and Myalism:
Be it enacted by the Governor and Legislative Council of Jamaica, as follows:—
1 - This Law may be cited as " The Obeah Law, 1898. "
2 - The Laws mentioned in the Schedule hereto are, to the
extent therein mentioned, hereby repealed; provided that
such repeal shall not affect any prosecution or appeal against
any conviction pending on the passing of this Law, but such
prosecution and appeal shall be proceeded with as if this Law
had not been passed.
3 - In this Law, unless the context otherwise requires
"Obeah "shall he deemed to be of one and the same
meaning as " Myalism;"
"Person practicing Obeah"
"A person practising Obeah" means any person who, to
effect any fraudulent or unlawful purpose, or for
gain, or for the purpose of frightening any person,
uses, or pretends to use any occult means, or pretends
to possess any supernatural power or knowledge;
"Instrument of Obeah"
"Instrument of Obeah" means any thing used, or intended
to be used by a person, and pretended by such
person to be possessed of any occult or supernatural
Punishment for practicing Obeah
4 - Every person practising Obeah shall be liable to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a period not exceeding twelve months, and in addition thereto, or in lieu
thereof, to whipping. Provided always that such whipping
shall be carried out subject to the provisions of 28 Victoria,
Chapter 18, and 29 Victoria, Chapter 7, and be inflicted at
a place to be named by the Resident Magistrate making the
Provided further, that it shall not be lawful to order more
than eighteen lashes in the case of a person of sixteen years
of age, or more than twelve lashes in the case of a person
under the age of sixteeen years and above the age of twelve
years, or more than six lashes in the case of a person under
the age of twelve years and above the age of ten years.
Punishment for consulting for fraudulent purpose, person practicing Obeah
5 - Whoever, for any fraudulent or unlawful purpose, consults any person practising Obeah shall be liable to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a period not exceeding
six months; and, in addition thereto, or in lieu thereof, to
whipping, subject as regards such whipping to the proviso
contained in section four of this Law.
Provided, that nothing in this law shall be deemed to
authorize the infliction of a sentence of whipping on a
Penalty for consulting person practising Obeah.
6 - Whoever, for the purpose of effecting any object, or of
bringing about any event, by the use of occult means or any
supernatural power or knowledge, consults any person practising Obeah and agrees to reward the person so consulted for such consultation, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding
Fifty Pounds, or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a period not exceeding twelve months.
Power to search
for Instrument of
7 - Whenever it is made to appear upon oath that there is
reasonable cause to suspect that any person is in possession of
any instrument of Obeah, it shall be lawful for any Justice of
the Peace by warrant to authorize any officer of constabulary,
constable, or rural policeman to enter and search any place,
either in the day or in the night, and if any instrument of
Obeah is found in any place so searched, to seize and bring it
before him to be secured for the purpose of being produced
in evidence in any proceeding before any Court of Justice
in which it may be required.
8 - Whenever upon any such search as aforesaid, any instrument of Obeah is found, the person in whose possession
it is found shall be deemed, unless and until the contrary is
proved, to be a person practising Obeah within the meaning
of this Law, at the time at which the instrument of Obeah
was so found.
Power to arrest.
9 - It shall be lawful for any Officer of Constabulary, constable, or rural policeman to arrest without warrant any person practising Obeah.
Obeah literature suppressed.
10 - If any person shall compose, print, sell, or distribute
any pamphlet, or printed matter calculated to promote the
superstition of Obeah, he shall be guilty of an offence against
this Law, and shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding
Twenty Pounds, or in default, to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, not exceeding six months.
11 - All offences under this Law shall be tried in a summary manner before the Resident Magistrate for the parish in which the same shall be committed.
Schedule of Laws repealed
||Extent of Repeal
|19 Viet. c. 30
||An Act for the more effectual punishment of persons convicted of dealing in and practising Obeah and Myalism.
||The whole Act.|
|21 Viet. c. 24
||An Act to explain the fourth Victoria, chapter forty-two, and the nineteenth Victoria, chapter thirty, and for the more effectual punishment of Obeah and Myalism.
|Law 28 of 1892
||The Obeah and Myalism Acts Amendment Law, 1892
|Law 1 of 1893
||The Obeah and Myalism Acts, Further Amendment Law, 1893.