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VARIOUS TEXTS: Language Power: Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

1. The crime
If you do something illegal, you commit a crime. Match the crimes listed in the left-hand column with the correct meaning on the right.

a, arson1. attacking somebody physically and violently
b. assault2. breaking into somebody’s house and stealing something
c. bribery3. forcing somebody to have sex
d. burglary4. giving an official money (or services) to obtain a favour
e. manslaughter5. killing somebody (on purpose)
f. murder6. killing somebody (without planning or intent)
g. rape7. setting fire to a building or house (on purpose)
h. shoplifting8. stealing goods from a shop


The Trial

Complete the text below, using the following words:

evidence – jury – sentence – trial – verdict

After someone has been charged with (formally accused of) a crime, a (a) _________________________ is held in court to determine whether he or she is guilty or innocent. In court, the person charged is called “the de- fendant".
The (b) _____________________________ , 12 members of the public, listen to the (c) ___________________________ and reach a decision, called a (d) _________________________________ .
If the jury decides that the defendant is guilty, the judge will determine the punishment, called the (e) _________________________ .


The Sentence

Join the correct two halves of each sentence together.

a. If someone is acquitted, ...

b. If someone is convicted, ...

c. If someone is sentenced to life imprisonment,...

d. If someone is fined, ...

e. If someone is put on probation,...


1. he spends at least ten years in prison.

2. he pays money for having done something wrong.

3. he is declared innocent of the crime.

4. he must report to the police regularly, but does not have to go to jail.

5. he is declared guilty of the crime.



Capital punishment

Read the following text for some useful vocabulary about the death sentence.

In the US, the death penalty is still legal in several states. When someone in those states commits a capital crime — a crime, such as murder, that is punishable by capital punishment — he can be sentenced or condemned to death, usually by lethal injection or in the electric chair. Prisoners waiting for execution are on death row. Their lawyers may hand in an appeal to have the cases looked at by another court. When all appeals fail, the governor of the state in which the prisoner is to be executed has the power to grant a stay of execution — meaning to prevent the execution and send the prisoner back to his cell. The death penalty has been abolished (abgeschafft) in most countries.
Source: Spotlight of Aug. 2001, p. 45






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