Acquit: Find not guilty.
Counterfeiting: Forgery, often of money.
Felony: a serious offence. Punishable by the death penalty.
Habitual Criminal: Defined by the 1869 Habitual Criminals Act as “suspicious persons” who had previously been convicted of more than one offence.
House of Correction: A prison where offenders accused of minor offences were put to hard labour.
Hulk: decommissioned war ship used to hold convicts prior to transportation.
Indictable offence: must be tried by a jury.
Indictment: Formal accusation charging someone with a crime. Takes the form of a written document containing brief details of the accusation.
Larceny: theft of personal property. Replaced as a statutory crime by theft in 1968.
Misdemeanour: A minor crime, which, unlike felonies, was not punishable by death.
Penal servitude: a long period of imprisonment
Penitentiary: Type of prison authorised by the 1779 Penitentiary Act, with strict discipline and hard labour, designed to reform as well as punish convicts.
Quarter Sessions: Courts held four times per year, presided over by Justices of the Peace where misdemeanors were tried.
Sessions Papers: Manuscript documents taken concerning accused criminals, which were kept by the courts and are now preserved in record offices.
Summary Jurisdiction: The power possessed by Justices of the Peace to try some types of crime acting alone, or in pairs, outside court, and to sentence those convicted to punishments.
Summary offence: tried by a magistrate only.
(The) Watch/Night Watch: Men who patrolled the streets at night to prevent crime.