How could the judge and jurors have kept a straight face?

Such was the questioning and answering about a missing horse unfolded after a police officer found John Mitchell sitting on the animal which had no bridle and saddle on a country road near Salisbury at 3am!

Officer - "What are you doing with that horse?"

Mitchell - "I am not going to do anything with it. I only got on it to have a nap of sleep."

Officer - "Whose horse is it?"

Mitchell - "If you want to know, go and find out."

The judge, Lord Campbell - "Was he snoring on the horse?"

Officer - "No, My Lord. I asked him where he had found the horse and he said by the side of the road and he got on it to keep himself warm."

There was no dispute who owned it.

Bill Munday told Wiltshire Assizes it belonged to him and the night before he had locked it up in his field.

Lord Campbell then asked a question which in 1850 was not considered prejudicial. Today it would.

"Do you know about the prisoner?"

Munday replied: "Oh, yes, My Lord. We know him well enough. His brother was transported at the Sessions."

Judge - "Does he live in your parish?"

Munday - "Why I can't exactly say that he does because he do chiefly live under hedges and ricks."

The guilty returned, the judge then embellished on his record.

"This is the 13th time you have undergone the sentence of the laws and the time has now come when you must go to your brother in a distant land. The sentence is that you will be transported for 10 years."