Were your Scottish ancestors in trouble with the law or a victim of a crime? Search from them in this Court and Criminal Database, find out details of the crime, where the trial was held, and their incarceration
Each record includes a transcript of the original document. The amount of information will vary, you may be able to find a combination of the following:
Link to order copy of original document
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Additional Comments – These are narratives or comments added to the records by the licensor as opposed to being factual information included or taken from the records
The Scotland, Court & Criminal Database includes records of Scottish prisons, Crown Office Precognitions and High Court Trial Papers.
Crown Office Precognitions are factual statements that have been given by witnesses to both the prosecution and defence before the case goes to trial.
Precognitions differ from a witness statement, a witness statement is an account of what the witness has said or seen were as a precognition is an account of the witness’s evidence. Precognitions are not put the witnesses during a trial.
The High Court is the highest court in Scotland, it has jurisdiction over the most serious crimes such as murder, rape, treason, heresy, counterfeiting and crimes of a sexual nature. A single judge hears cases with a jury of 15 people.
Sitting in cities and larger towns around Scotland, the High Court also has a permanent base in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
The High Court is also a court of appeal from criminal proceedings in the sheriff courts. As an appeal court, it sits only in Edinburgh.
The collection also includes The Fife Kalendar of Convicts. The Fife Kalendar of Convicts is an indexing to many of the Courts in Fife 1708 to 1909, as well as the High Court Records.
Edward William Pritchard was a doctor who was convicted in 1865 for murdering his wife and mother-in-law by poison, his record is available in the High Court Trial Papers.
Dr Pritchard's wife Mary Jane became ill in early 1864 and her mother, Jane Taylor, was called in from Edinburgh in order to nurse her daughter back to health. His wife died in February 1864, followed less than a month later by 70-year-old Jane, Pritchard inherited a substantial sum.
An anonymous letter to the Fiscal prompted further investigation and an examination of the bodies concluded that both women had been poisoned.
Dr Pritchard was also suspected of murdering a servant girl however, was not tried for this crime.
On the 28 July 1865, Edward William Pritchard was executed by hanging in Glasgow. He was the last person to be publicly executed in Glasgow.
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