Theft on trial: Prosecution, conviction and sentencing patterns in colonial Victoria and Western Australia

From Ned Kelly to Waltzing Matilda, tales of thievery dominate Australia's colonial history. Yet while theft represents one of the most pervasive forms of criminal activity, it remains an under-researched area in Australian historical scholarship. This article draws on detailed inter-jurisdicti...

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Published in:The Australian and New Zealand journal of criminology
Main Author: Piper, Alana (Author)
Other Authors: Durnian, Lisa (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2017
In:The Australian and New Zealand journal of criminology
Year: 2017, Volume: 50, Issue: 1, Pages: 5-22
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:From Ned Kelly to Waltzing Matilda, tales of thievery dominate Australia's colonial history. Yet while theft represents one of the most pervasive forms of criminal activity, it remains an under-researched area in Australian historical scholarship. This article draws on detailed inter-jurisdictional research from Victoria and Western Australia to elaborate trends in the prosecution, conviction and sentencing of theft in colonial Australia. In particular, we use these patterns to explore courtroom attitudes towards different forms of theft by situating such statistics within the context of contemporary commentaries. We examine the way responses to theft and the protection of property were affected by colonial conditions, and consider the influence of a variety of factors on the outcomes of theft trials.
ISSN:1837-9273
DOI:10.1177/0004865815620684