DEPORTATION.) The punishments now in use under the English law for indict able offences are : I. Death, inflicted by hanging, and carried out within prison walls since 1868, with a provision that decapitation may be author ized by royal warrant in cases of high treason.
2. Penal servitude, which in 1853 was substituted for transporta tion to penal settlements outside Great Britain. The minimum term of penal servitude is three years (Penal Servitude Act, 1891), and the sentence is carried out in a convict prison, in Great Britain, but there is still power to send the convicts out of Great Britain.
3. Imprisonment in a local prison, which must be without hard labour unless a statute specially authorizes a sentence of hard labour. At common law there is no limit to a term of imprison ment without hard labour for misdemeanour; but for many offences (both felonies and misdemeanours) the term is limited by statute to two years, and in practice this limit is not exceeded for any offence. But where a person is liable to terms of imprison ment in the aggregate for three years or more, the court by the Penal Servitude Act, 1926, substitutes penal servitude for im prisonment. The treatment of prisoners is regulated by the prison acts and rules.
4. Police supervision under the Prevention of Crimes Act, 1871, and preventive detention on conviction as an habitual crim inal under the Prevention of Crimes Act, 1908. This statute also instituted Borstal treatment for youthful offenders between 16 and 21 years of age.
5. Pecuniary fine, a punishment appropriate only to misdemean ours and never imposed for a felony except under statutory author ity, e.g., manslaughter (Offences against the Person Act, sec. 5) . The amount of the fine is in the discretion of the judge, subject to the directions of Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights and of any statute limiting the maximum for a particular offence.
6. Whipping was a common law punishment for misdemeanants of either sex. The whipping of females was prohibited in 18 2o, and the punishment by the Criminal Justice Administration Act, 1914, may not be inflicted on males except under statutory author ity. That is given in the case of certain assaults on the sovereign, of certain forms of robbery with violence, of some offences against women and girls, of incorrigible rogues and certain other offences by youthful offenders.
7. Recognizances to keep peace and be of good behaviour, i.e., a bond with or without sureties creating a debt to the Crown not enforceable unless the conditions as to conduct therein made are broken. It may be required in addition to other punishment. This bond may be taken from any misdemeanant, and, under statutory authority, from persons convicted of felony (except murder). See the Malicious Damage, Coinage Offences, and Offences against the Person Acts of 1861, the Forgery Act, 1913, and the Larceny Act, 1916.
8. In the case of any offence which is not capital the court, if any grounds for mercy appear, may simply bind the offender over to come up for judgment when required, intimating to him that if his conduct is good no further steps will be taken to punish him. Provisions as to probation orders and recognizances are contained in the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907, the Criminal Justice Ad ministration Act, 1914, and the Criminal Justice Act, 1925. By the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act, 1926, the court may order the offender to pay costs, damages or compensation.
Except in the case of the death penalty, the court of trial has a discretion as to the quantum of a particular punishment, no minimum being fixed. In the case of offences punishable on sum mary conviction the maximum punishment is always fixed by statute. As to the punishment of youthful offenders and children see JUVENILE OFFENDERS.
In the criminal law of Europe the scale of punishments is on similar lines in most States, and is more elaborate than that of England, and less is left to the discretion of the court of trial.
2. For the counties of London and Middlesex and certain adjoining districts, a special court of assize known as the central criminal court sits monthly.
3. In all counties the justices of the peace sit quarterly or oftener under the commission of the peace to try the minor indictable offences. In cities and boroughs with a separate court of quarter sessions, cases are tried before the recorder (q.v.).
(See QUARTER SESSIONS, COURT oF.) 4. The High Court of Justice in the king's bench division tries a few special offences in its original jurisdiction, and where justice requires may transfer indictments from other courts for trial before itself.
5. The court of criminal appeal has been instituted by the Criminal Appeal Act, 1907; to it all persons convicted on indict ment have a right of appeal; and there is a limited right of appeal from this court to the House of Lords. (See APPEAL.) Summary jurisdiction in criminal cases is exercised by justices of the peace at petty session. It extends to all offences that can be dealt with summarily and certain minor indictable offences. In most cases the bench must consist of two or more justices, but a stipendiary magistrate, who is appointed under statute, can act alone.
The substantive law as to crime applies in England to all per sons except the reigning sovereign, and criminal procedure is the same for all subjects alike, except in the case of peers or peeresses charged with felony, who have the right of trial by their peers in the House of Lords if it be sitting, or in the court of the lord high steward.
There are in England no courts of a special character, such as exist in some foreign countries, for the determination of dis putes between the governing classes themselves or with the gov erned classes, whether of a civil or criminal character. There are a few exceptional courts with criminal jurisdiction. The court of chivalry, which used to punish offences committed within military lines outside the kingdom, is obsolete. Special tribunals exist for trying naval or military offences committed by members of the navy and army, but those members are not exempt from being tried by the ordinary tribunals for offences against the ordinary law, as though they were civilians. (See MILITARY LAW;