It was applied to treason felony in 1848.
It recites that great delays have been used by sheriffs and gaolers in making returns of writs of habeas corpus directed to them; and for the prevention thereof, and the more speedy relief of all persons imprisoned for criminal or supposed criminal matters, it enacts in substance as follows: (r) When a writ of habeas corpus is directed to a sheriff or other person in charge of a prisoner, he must within 3, 10 or 20 days, according to the distance of the place of commitment, bring the body of his prisoner to the court, with the true cause of his detainer or imprisonment - unless the commitment was for treason or felony plainly expressed in the warrant of commitment.
Divorces may be obtained after residence of six months on the ground of adultery, cruelty, desertion or neglect for one year, habitual drunkenness for the same period, felony or insanity.
The desertion of a wife or of children under fifteen years of age is a felony punishable with imprisonment for not more than three years nor less than one year.
After receiving the opinion of the law officers the cabinet decided to introduce a bill into parliament increasing in England the punishment for a conspiracy to commit a felony either within or without the United Kingdom.
The land, therefore, escheated to the next heir, subject to the superior right of the crown to the forfeiture of the lands, - in the case of treason for ever, in the case of felony for a year and a day.
A petition for a divorce may be presented after a residence within the state of one year immediately preceding, and a decree may be granted against the defendant if judged guilty of adultery, desertion for two years without reasonable cause, habitual drunkenness, such inhuman treatment as to endanger the life of the plaintiff, or if convicted of felony after marriage.
The causes for a divorce are adultery, incompetency, conviction of a felony and sentence to imprisonment therefor after marriage, conviction of a felony or infamous crime before marriage provided it was unknown to the other party, habitual drunkenness, extreme cruelty, intolerable indignities, neglect of the husband to provide the common necessaries of life, vagrancy of the husband and pregnancy of the wife before marriage by another man than her husband and without his knowledge.
At this time also he exerted himself for the reform of justice in the ecclesiastical courts, for the uniformity of the law of marriage (which he held should be a purely civil contract) and for giving prisoners charged with felony the benefit of counsel.
These courts are competent to try cases of felony punishable with a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years.