Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 255 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON. This expression is used in English law to classify crimes involving some form of assault or personal violence or physical injury, i.e. offences affecting the life, liberty or safety of an individual: but it is also extended to certain offences against morality which cannot technically be described as assaults. The bulk of the offences thus classified, so far as their definition or punishment depends upon statute law, are included in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (24 & 25 Vict. C. 100), and in the Criminal Law Amendment Acts of 188c and 1885, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act 1904. The classification in these statutes is not scientific: e.g. bigamy is within the act of 1861 (s. 57), and certain offences involving assault, e.g. robbery, are to be found in other statutes. The particular offences dealt with by the acts above named are discussed under their appropriate titles, e.g. abortion, assault, bigamy, homicide, rape, &c. In the Indian penal code most of the offences above referred to fall under the head " offences against the human body " (ch. xvi.). In his Digest of the Criminal Law Sir James Stephen includes most of these offences under the title " offences against the person, the conjugal and parental rights, and the reputation of individuals," a classification also to be found in the English draft code of 188o and adopted in the Queensland code of 1899. In working out this classification offences not involving assault are relegated to another and perhaps more appropriate title, " offences against morality."

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