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In compiling this analysis of the criminal statutes, the author intended it principally as an auxiliary to magistrates having jurisdiction to dispense the criminal law; and to them he trusts, that it will be found of particular utility, whether acting singly or at petty sessions, or attending the assizes or sessions of gaol delivery.
An index like this becomes a matter of almost indispensable necessity, since the recent alterations in the criminal code, which have rendered nearly all the provisions in the previous criminal statutes a dead letter.
This little book will accordingly refer to the criminal law as it exists at the present time, and supply an accurate directory to the penalties, forfeitures, fines and punishments, enacted by the late statutes, in lieu of those of the former ones which have been repealed or altered.
The magistrate will therefore find a prompt and easy reference to the subject of his enquiry, and ascertain with precision what penalty, forfeiture, fine or imprisonment is to be levied or inflicted for any specific offence brought before him, arranged under distinct heads, and likewise enable him to act with that promptitude and decision, which his multifarious duties require.
This analysis then may be regarded as a digested index to the criminal statutes, and as such, the author has been induced by many of his legal friends to believe, that it would be a useful appendage to the more voluminous works on that subject.
Though precedents* of proceedings before magistrates formed no part of the author's plan, he has nevertheless thought it adviseable to add the vagrant and riot acts, and also a table of the numerous acts of parliament repealed or altered by the recent statutes, pointing out the provisions in the new statutes,+ which are substituted for those in the late ones, chronologically arranged, as both a useful and necessary accompaniment to
* There are already published many very useful books, containing all the forms required for the use of magistrates, and amongst the number The Formularies, or the Magistrates’ Assistant, will be found exceedingly useful, as it comprehends almost every form that a magistrate may require in exercising his jurisdiction, either in his own justice room, or at petty sessions.
+ By the new acts, are meant the five acts, generally denomirated Mr. Peel's acts, namely, the 7 & 8 Geo. 4. c. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. which at once struck out from the statute book no less than 148 acts of parliament, though some of the provisions have been re-enacted ; and the act of 7 Geo. 4. c. 64. which passed in the session preceding Mr. Peel's acts, and the act of 9 Geo. 4. c. 69, relating to Night Poaching, which passed late in the last session of parliament.