Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/380

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-lU THE BRITISH EMPIRE: — U2<ITED KIKGDOxM for the prosecution, andii they think a prh7ia facie case for trial is made out they endorse the bill ' a tnie bill.' All criminal trials, except those which come before a court of summaiy jurisdiction, take place before a judge and a petty jury of twelve men. Except on some highly technical point of procedure there is no appeal in criminal cases. No man can be tried again for the same crime after a petty jury has found him ' not guilty. ' On a conviction the judge can, if he think tit, reserve a question of law (but not of fact) for the Court for Crown Cases Reserved. This Court is formed by five or more judges of the High Court, and can reverse, amend, or affirm the judgment. The only other method of securing the revision of a sentence is by the royal prerogative, exercised on the advice of the Home Secretary, by which a sentence can be modified or annulled. Nominally all the judges are appointed by the Queen, but in practice the Lord Chancellor (who is a Cabinet minister, ex-officio president of theHouse of Lords, and goes out with the ministiy) and the Lord Chief Justice are appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and all the other judges on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.

Scotland. The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland. It consists of all the judges of the Court of Session, and sits more or less fre- quently, as the number of cases before it may require, in Edinburgh or in the circuit towns. One judge can, and usually does, try cases, but two or more preside in cases of difficulty or importance. It is the only competent court in cases of treason, murder, robbeiy, rape, fire-raising, deforcement ot messengers, and generally in all cases in which a higher punishment than imprisonment is by statute directed to be inflicted; and it has moreover an inherent jurisdic- tion to punish all criminal acts, both those already established by common law or statute, and such as have never previously come before the courts and are not within any statute. The sheriif of each county is the proper criminal judge in all crimes occumng within the county which infer only an arbitraiy punishment, and if the case is tried with a jury the High Court has no power of review on the merits. Even in cases indicted to the High Court the accused is, under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act of 1887, regularly asked to plead in the sheriff court, and minor objections to the indictment can be wholly or in part disposed of there. Borough magistrates and justices of the peace have jurisdic- tion in petty cases occurring within the burgh or county, and in a number of minor offences under various statutes. Ireland. In Ireland persons charged with crime are first brought before the petty sessions court, which must consist of at least two ordinary justices of the peace, one of whom rnay be a stipendiary — commonly called a resident magistrate. Then if the charge be trifling it may be disposed of, the prisoner, if convicted, having a right of appeal to the quarter sessions or recorder's court (according as it is in a borough or in the county), provided he is fined more than twenty shillings or sentenced to a longer imprisonment than one month (Petty Sessions Act, sec. 24). If the charge be of a more serious character it must either be dismissed or sent for trial to the quarter sessions or recorder's court, or to the assizes, as in England. There is this diflerence, however, between quarter sessions in Ireland and in England: in England they are presided over by an unpaid chairman, who need not be a lawyer and who is elected by his fellow