Page images
PDF
EPUB

proceeded against with the numbers reported to be at large, we find that the activity of the police in repressing crime has, during the year 1861, greatly exceeded that indicated by the statistics for 1860.

Of the 57 heads of offences, upon conviction for any of which by justices an appeal may be brought before the court of quarter sessions, appeals were brought only under 17 heads. There were 49 appeals in all; in 31 the convictions were affirmed; in 18 they were quashed. As the total number of summary convictions was 263,510, the original decision was thus reversed only in one case out of every 14,639 decided out of sessions,

Sixty cases were submitted under the statute 20 and 21 Vict., c. 43, for the decision of the superior courts at West minster. Of the results of 45 of these which were submitted to the Court of Queen's Bench no return is given. Nine cases were submitted to the Court of Common Pleas; of these 6 were affirmed, and 3 reversed. Six cases were submitted to the Court of Exchequer; of these 2 were affirmed, and 4 were reversed.

The coroners' returns form the conclusion of the first division of the statistics.

The following table shows the total number of each description of verdict given at coroners' inquests for each of the last six years :

[blocks in formation]

Of this total, 69.9 per cent. were males; 30:1

[blocks in formation]

were females ; 27.8 per cent. were infants ; 8.0 per cent. were between the ages of seven and sixteen years ; 48:3 per cent. were adults ; and 15.9 per cent. were 60 years old and upwards.

We now come to the second branch-criminal proceedings --of the first part of the statistics. The decrease in the number of commitments observable in the statistics for each of the three last years does not continue its progress in the present returns. The number of commitments in the last year has exceeded the corresponding number for 1860 by 2,327, or 12-7 per cent., and the average of the three preceding years by 8.0 per cent. The commitments for murder and attempts to murder, taken separately, have respectively exceeded the like returns for 1860 by 30:6 per cent., and 26.0 per cent. There was a decrease, however, of 30.0 per cent. in those returns for 1860 as compared with the like returns for 1859. Excepting 1860, the returns for 1861, under this head, are less than the like returns for any

other
year

since 1855. The report states that the crime of concealing the birth of infants shows a tendency to increase every year. Taking the average of the ten preceding years, there was a decrease in the commitments for manslaughter in 1861 of 11:3

per

cent. There has been a considerable increase in the present returns over those for 1860 of unnatural offences, rape, and assaults, aggravated and common; but a comparatively slight decrease of the number of offences of bigamy. Violent offences against property have greatly increased, although this class of offences had shown a decrease for each of the three

preceding years.

The number of cases of horse stealing is smaller than the same item for any other year for which we have had returns.

The number of persons tried before the various courts having jurisdiction to try criminal cases, and the proportions of the numbers before each court for trial to the total number for trial in 1861 were as follows:

[blocks in formation]

These proportions are almost constant for each year, so that the practitioner about making choice of a district has steady data for determining his selection.

The following was the result of the proceedings against those committed, or bailed to appear, for trial in the years 1861 and 1860 :--

1861.

1860, Not prosecuted and admitted evidence

56

77 No bills found against

929

769 Not guilty on trial

3,438

3,061 Acquitted and discharged

4,423

3,907 Acquitted on the ground of insanity

16

12 Found insane

8

12 Detained as insane

24

24 Sentenced to death

50

48 to penal servitude 2,450

2,229 to imprisonment. 11,233

9,656 to whipping, fine, &c. 146

145 Convicted

13,879

12,068 Total committed, &c. .

18,326 15,999

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The proportion of the number of capital sentences in 1861 to the total convictions is somewhat less than the like proportion for 1860. If no change had been made in our capital code in the latter year, the number of capital sentences for 1861 would have been fifty-three. Of the fifty capital convictions, twenty-six only were for murder. The proportion of the number of persons sentenced to reformatories or to whipping, fine, &c., to the total convictions, was 2.9 in 1861; 3:3 in 1860. It appears that during 1861 only 610 convicts were removed to Western Australia.

The number of capital sentences for murder in 1861 was 27; in 1860 it was 17. Of attempts to murder, attended by dangerous bodily injuries, in 1861, five; in 1860, nine; of sodomy, in 1861, ten; in 1860, twelve; of burglary, with violence to persons, in 1861, three; in 1860, six; of robbery attended with wounds, in 1861, five; in 1860, three; of arson of dwelling-houses, persons being therein, in 1861, one; in 1860, one; the total for 1861 was thus 50; for 1860 it was 48. In fifteen of the capital convictions the sentence of death was carried into execution. All of those executed were under forty-six years of age.

Of the twenty-two cases brought before the Court of Criminal Appeal under the Act 11 & 12 Vict., c. 78, the judgments in three only were reversed.

Under the head of costs of prosecutions, we find that the average of these costs were, for 1859, for each on indictment, £7 12s. 5d. ; on summary proceedings, 178. 8d. The corresponding numbers were, for 1858, £8 5s. 11d., and 19s. 6d.; for 1857, £9 2s. 3d., and £1 lls. 5d.; and for 1856, £9 14s. 7d., and £1 12s. 6d. The number of Mint cases, in 1861, was 433; in 1860, it was 399.

The total number of persons committed for trial and tried at assizes and sessions in 1861 was 18,438; of these 14,050 were males, and 4,388 were females. The total number of commitments on summary conviction in 1861 was 78,871; of these 55,733 were males, and 23,138 were females; of males 12,945, and of females 646, were committed to prison for debt and on civil process. The number acquitted was less than one-fourth of the total number for trial. This proportion and also the proportion of the number not prosecuted has been for the last eight years almost constant.

The number of recommitted prisoners in 1861 exceeded

case tried

the corresponding number in 1860 by 3,401, or by 9.6 per cent. Making allowance, however, for the increased number of committals, the proportion of recommittals to the total number of commitments differs only by 0-4 per cent. in favour of 1861. Little variation appears to exist in the returns for the two years, 1860 and 1861, as to the proportion which the number of those born in each county respectively bears to the total number of commitments, and as to the state of instruction of the persons committed. It appears that 0:3 represents the number of males, and 0:1 the number of females committed who had received a superior education. A greater degree of instruction is always found amongst the males. It is obvious, therefore, that reformatory and educational measures would be likely to be productive of more extensive results in the cases of females than of males. The temptations to which the latter are exposed are, it is clear, less easily obviated than those incident to the employment of females, even assuming, which is not likely to be the case, that the ill-conducted class of both sexes are equally susceptible of moral discipline.

The numbers under detention and the removals during the

year were :

[blocks in formation]

These returns exceed the corresponding statistics for 1860 by 11,191, or 11.1 per cent. as regards the males, and by 1,207, or 3:4 per cent, as regards the females. There were

« PreviousContinue »