Definitions

Embracery

Embracery

[em-brey-suh-ree]
Embracery is the attempt to influence a juror corruptly to give his verdict in favour of one side or the other in a trial, by promise, persuasions, entreaties, money, entertainments and the like.

In English law, it was an offence both at common law and by statute, punishable by fine and imprisonment. As a statutory offence it dates back to 1360. The offence is complete, whether any verdict has been given or not, and whether the verdict is in accordance with the weight of evidence or otherwise. The person making the attempt, and any juryman who consents, are equally punishable.

The false verdict of a jury, whether occasioned by embracery or otherwise, was formerly considered criminal, and jurors were severely punished, being proceeded against by writ of attaint. The Juries Act 1825, in abolishing writs of attaint, made a special exemption as regards jurors guilty of embracery (s.61). Prosecution for the offence has been so extremely rare that when a case occurred in 1891 (R v Baker 113, Cent. Crim. Ct. Sess. Pap. 374) it was stated that no precedent could be found for the indictment. The defendant was fined £200, afterwards reduced to £100.

As of 2006, the offence is regarded as obsolescent and such misconduct is now more likely to be charged as perverting the course of justice.

The word embracery comes from the O Fr. embraseour, an embracer, ie one who excites or instigates, literally one who sets on fire, from embraser, to kindle a fire; "embrace," ie to hold or clasp in the arms, is from O Fr. embracer, Latin and bracchia, arms.

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