This chapter focuses on the law on compulsory vaccination, specifically the interpretation of the phrase ‘at any time’. In January 1864 William Stafford, a shoemaker living in Margate, had in the previous year been fined 2s. 6d., with 9s. costs, for failing to have his child vaccinated and had still not complied with the law. The local sub-registrar, Charles Pilcher launched a second prosecution in respect of the same child, submitting that the words ‘at any time’ must be construed to mean that a parent could be convicted again and again until he obeyed the law. Stafford countered with the claim that he had paid one penalty and could not be prosecuted a second time.
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