Prison Sentences

 The following is from The Times report, dated 16 August 1839, on the conclusion of the trial:

“The Jury acquitted the prisoner of the charge of murder, and found him Guilty of manslaughter.
 
The learned JUDGE said he quite agreed in the propriety of
the verdict, for although, in the absence of preconceived malice, there was no
evidence to support the charge of murder, yet the facts disclosed a
considerable degree of malignity on the part of the prisoner. He could not
sufficiently deprecate the un-English and unmanly practice of resorting to the
use of a knife in sudden quarrel, and it was with deep regret he found that the
offence of stabbing was on the increase in this country. It became the bounden
duty, therefore, both of judges and magistrates to check so disgraceful a
practice as far as the law could do so. The Court, however, felt some
difficulty in the present case, chiefly on account of the disparity in the ages
of the deceased and the prisoner; but under all circumstances it was felt
necessary to pass a severe sentence upon the prisoner, and the sentence was,
that he should be transported beyond the seas for the term of his natural life.
 
The prisoner dropped senseless in the dock, on hearing the
sentence.”

Read in isolation, one could almost think this was a report from a present day trial, apart from the sentence.

And the sentence was right.

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