1902 Encyclopedia > Burglary


BURGLARY, or NOCTURNAL HOUSE-BREAKING (burgi latrocinium), which by the ancient English law was called hamesucken (a word also used in the law of Scotland, but in a somewhat different sense), has always been looked upon as a very heinous offence. The definition of a burglar, as given by Sir Edward Coke, is "he that by night breaketh and enterethin a mansion-house with intent to commit a felony." The offence and its punishment are regulated by 24 and 25 Vict. c. 96. Night, for the purposes of that Act (sec. 1), is deemed to commence at nine o'clock in the evening of each day, and to conclude at six o'clock in the morning. Sec. 51 extends the definition of burglary to cases in which a person enters another's dwelling-house with intent to commit felony, or being in such house commits felony therein, and in either case breaks out of such dwelling-house by night. The punishment is penal servitude for life, or any term not less than five years, or imprisonment not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour and solitary confinement.

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