The Court of Special Sessions tried cases of misdemeanors, with three justices deciding the outcome of prosecutions. Eighteen of those arrested in the disorder were referred directly from the Magistrate’s Court, to be prosecuted for more serious crimes than the Magistrate dealt with. Another eighteen were first referred by the Magistrate to the Grand Jury, which having determined that the charges against them did not constitute a more serious felony, referred them to the Court of Special Sessions.

The justices convicted almost all of those arrested in the disorder who appeared before them (although in one third of the cases there are no records of the outcome).

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The justices suspended the sentences of almost half of those they convicted for whom we have records – but there are almost as many cases for which there is no record of the sentence. Most of the others received terms of a few months in the workhouse, with one sixteen-year-old boy instead being sent to the Reformatory, and one older man charged with theft being sent to the Penitentiary for a longer term. Those sentences are broadly in line with those given to individuals arrested in the disorder prosecuted for felonies, and longer than the sentences of a few days in the workhouse given to those convicted in the Magistrates Courts.


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