THIS WEEK IN 1970: Court given wrong verdict by mistake

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A jury foreman at Portsmouth Quarter Sessions made a mistake in announcing the jury’s findings.

He at first announced a verdict of not guilty against a prisoner, who was then discharged by the deputy recorder.

The defendant, a 38-year-old man, was about to leave the dock when he was recalled and the foreman said he made a mistake.

The jury found the man – a factory loader – guilty of stealing £25 from the wallet of his supervisor. He was then conditionally discharged for 18 months and ordered to repay the money.

After the defendant was found guilty, Det Con Pearce said the man was described as a good worker and his employers were prepared to allow him to continue his work at the Slumberland factory at High Street, Old Portsmouth.

The man’s supervisor bore no malice against him and neither did his workmates.

When passing sentence, the deputy recorder told the man: ‘I shall not send you to prison because your employers are very kindly prepared to have you back, and that speaks well of them.’

G W Cheyne, prosecuting, said the wallet was inside the supervisor’s pocket.