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This analysis is based on the proceedings of the Old Bailey trial of Mary Price alias Hartington and concerns an accusation made against her of sodomy with her dog It is an original document from 1704 and so it is considered a primary source document Mary was indicted for sodomy committed with a dog an action brought against her by an upstairs neighbour on the statement and testimony of events she claims her daughter saw the defendant commit on 25th March 1704The case was eventually dismissed and Mary Price was acquitted by the jury of the day due to the lack of evidence that could be substantiated against her and after an investigation by a local constable at the scene of where the alleged crime took place There also seemed to be attestation from the testimony of other witnesses that there had been previous private altercations between defendant and plaintiff and the jury apparently have come to the decision that the evidence given was not able to be substantiated as credible testimony The crime of sodomy is a capital offence also known as a felony offence and can at its most extreme be punishable by the death penalty if found guilty The death penalty was used only in extreme cases and only when the jury thought that such a sentence handed down by the judge would be fitting If a jury felt that the person being charged did not warrant death for example for theft of items over a certain amount of value that would warrant the death then they might be inclined to reduce the value of the goods stolen to below the value tariffs for automatic death penalty levels This case is an excellent example of highlighting the way in which everyday ordinary people were able to make use of the court system in place at this time Even minor problems were able to be dealt with by use of the petty
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