COVENTRY ACT, criminal law. The common name for the statute 22 and 23 Car. II. c. 1; it having been enacted in consequence of an assault on Sir John Coventry in the street, and slitting his nose, in revenge, as was supposed, for some obnoxious words uttered by him in parliament.
2. By this statute it is enacted, that if any person shall, of malice aforethought, and by laying in wait, unlawfully cut or disable the tongue, put out an eye, slit the nose, cut off the nose or lip, or cut off or disable any limb, or member of any other person, with intent to maim or disfigure him, such person, his counsellors, aiders and abettors, shall be guilty of felony, without benefit of clergy. 4 Bl. Com. 207. This statute is copied by the act of the legislature of Pennsylvania, of April 22, 1794, s. 6, 3 Smith's Laws of Pa. 188; and the offence is punished by fine and imprisonment. For the act of Connecticut, see 2 Swift's Dig. 293.