Cases frequently occur, where prisoners are sentenced to capital punishment, and yet nothing transpires, the proof of guilt being short and inconclusive, and not of sufficient import to record in our Volumes. Such a trial would this: have proved to us, had it not been for the ignorant officiousness of a juryman. This, alone, induces us to give it a place, under the hope that it will be a lesson to other Jurors.
The proof against the prisoner being full, the judge charged the jury, that if they credited the testimony on the part of the prosecution, they must according to law find the prisoner guilty. It appeared that one of the jurymen, vain of his conceit in such matters, persuaded his fellow jurors that though there was no doubt the prisoner stole the sheep, yet as no one saw him steal them they must find him "not guilty;" and they actually brought in a verdict to the above effect. But after a philippic from the Court, these sages in the law were obliged to alter their verdict. Hughes was reprieved, and his sentence changed to transportation.
At Beaumaris on the same circuit an Irishman was to have been tried for horse-stealing; but Paddy contrived to make his escape just before, and left word that he was by no means desirous of giving the Jontlemen any trouble!