On 6 September 2021, Lord Matthews sentenced Nathan Shaw and John Lawrie to imprisonment. The report of his sentencing statement reveals that the two had earlier pled guilty to the crime of Hamesucken. The facts reveal that the accused did indeed pursue someone into his house in order to assault him, classic hamesucken. The report of the sentencing statement https://www.judiciary.scot/home/sentences-judgments/sentences-and-opinions/2021/09/06/hma-v-nathan-shaw-and-john-lawrie suggests that the indictment had used “hamesucken” as a nomen juris rather setting out an assault that was aggravated as to place. Hamesucken was a capital crime until 1887. The requirement of a nomen juris in an indictment was also abolished in 1887. The term has lingered on, however, often in references by judges to the formerly capital nature of offences committed by accused before them. The brief report of this on the twitter account of Judges Scotland elicited some comments of astonishment at the term. Indeed none of the newspaper reports that your blogger has found use the term, talking instead of the accused “pouncing” or “ambushing”.
The word was well known in Scots law in the past, and is an interesting example of the survival in Scots law of an Anglo-Saxon term and legal concept. It is interesting to note that the modern Danish “hjemsøge” and German “heimsuchen”, as well as their literal meaning, have the connotations of “hounding”, plaguing”, “persecuting” and “pestering” (I owe this insight to Professor Knud Haakonssen). The etymology can be further explored by reading Colman “Hamsocn: Its meaning and significance in early English law” (1981) 25 American Journal of Legal History, 95. Your blogger has always found hamesucken of interest and has discussed it in the past. That the term is found in Danish reminds your blogger of the fact that any Scot listening to popular “Scandi-noir” programmes on T.V. realises that Scots shares quite a number of words with the Nordic languages.