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Engines of TruthProducing Veracity in the Victorian Courtroom$
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Wendie E Schneider

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300125665

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300125665.001.0001

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The Rise and Fall of Perjury Prosecutions

The Rise and Fall of Perjury Prosecutions

(p.17) Chapter One The Rise and Fall of Perjury Prosecutions
Engines of Truth

Wendie Ellen Schneider

Yale University Press

This chapter investigates the midcentury turn to perjury prosecutions as the main guarantor of testimonial veracity, and the prosecution of perjurers over the ensuing decades, revealing how a ubiquitous offense came to be thought of as a lower-class crime and how prosecution came to be limited to offenders in a narrow range of cases. The chapter surveys perjury prosecutions in England and Wales from 1835 to 1900, using sampling of local newspapers, to determine what types of lies and what types of liars were punished. It also looks at law reformers’ high hopes for perjury prosecutions and the limitations that ultimately dashed those hopes, transforming perjury prosecutions into a marginal phenomenon.

Keywords:   Witness testimony/Disqualification for interest, Perjury, Affiliation cases, Poaching cases, Director of Public Prosecutions

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