Sometimes the punishment simply doesn't fit the crime. In September 1873, John Walker stole some onions from the man he had been working for (the motive for the theft remains unknown). The police were informed and they arrested Walker for the crime of stealing items valued at between four and five shillings, which meant the offence was considered grand larceny had the goods been worth less than a shilling, it would have been petty larceny.
When the case came to trial, Walker was sentenced to seven years of penal servitude and seven years of police supervision. The governor of Bedford Prison, Robert Evans Roberts, maintained that the harsh sentencing was justified on the grounds of Walker's previous convictions he had been in trouble with the law before saying that he believed society should be "delivered from his malpractices for some time."
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