Crime and Justice in Georgian Cheshire: The Chester Court of Great Sessions 1760-1830

Walliss, John (2015) Crime and Justice in Georgian Cheshire: The Chester Court of Great Sessions 1760-1830. Journal on European History of Law, 6 (1). pp. 38-55. ISSN 2042-6402

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Official URL: http://www.historyoflaw.eu/english/journal_on_euro...

Abstract

The criminal justice system of Georgian England and Wales has generated a great deal of interest from historians of crime for several decades. To date, however, the majority of research has focused on the south east of England and, in particular, The Old Bailey. Consequently, outside of a growing body of work on the Courts of Great Sessions in Wales, there has been little work focusing on the operation of justice in the north of England during the period. This article aims to contribute towards a refocusing of the historiography towards the north of England by presenting a quantitative analysis of the administration of justice in Georgian Cheshire, focusing on the operation of the Chester Court of Great Sessions between 1760 and its abolishment in 1830. The article will argue that analysis of the Chester Court of Great Sessions reveals a system in which, if the accused was successfully indicted, he or she faced a strong likelihood of being found guilty. More than likely, they would have been indicted for a property offence, most commonly larceny, for which they would receive a brief period of imprisonment. The sex of the accused would appear not to have influenced the verdict of the jury, although it would appear to have impacted on the severity of sentence passed. Crucially, if they were a woman and had been convicted of any other crime than murder then it was highly unlikely that, even if capitally convicted, that they would die on the gallows. Men, in contrast, could find themselves on the gallows after being convicted of a far wider range of offences.

Item Type: Article
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Social Science
Depositing User: John WALLISS
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2018 09:28
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2018 12:07
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2460

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