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Victorian Crime and Punishment
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  • Capital Offence:
    A crime which carried the death penalty; before 1827 all felonies were automatically capital offences unless 'benefit of clergy' was allowed. The Criminal Justice Act, 1827, reduced the number of capital offences and abolished 'benefit of clergy'. In 1837 most capital offences were removed from the statute books and by 1861 the death penalty remained only for murder, treason piracy, and arson in Her Majesty's dockyards.
  • Capital Punishment:
    Punishment of a crime by the sentence of death; after 1836, in practice, only murderers and those who attempted murder were executed. Public executions ceased in 1868.
  • Commit:
    To confine officially or to take into custody (arrest).
  • Commute:
    To reduce a sentence to one less severe, e.g. reduce a sentence of death to one of life imprisonment
  • Conviction:
    Being found guilty of a crime
  • Counterfeit:
    To make an imitation of something genuine (coin, picture, etc.) with the intent to deceive or defraud.