The Quarter Sessions at St Albans were held on Tuesday 4th January 1910. The Chairman of the Magistrates bench on this auspicious day was the Rt Hon. T.F. Halsey and Lord Verulam was amongst those serving on the Bench.
On this day there were eight prisoners, concerned in five cases. Two particular cases that were brought before the court that day illustrated contrasting outcomes, thus demonstrating that the Magistrates were capable of showing leniency as well as their capacity to deliver stiff sentences to habitual criminals.
HIS FIFTIETH CONVICTION
James Vickers, aged 52, and described as a hawker, was indicted for stealing five wash leathers at a total value of 2s.6d. The theft took place in the shop belonging to Charles Bennington, of George Street, St Albans, on the 30th October, 1909. James Vickers pleaded guilty to the charge.
Mr Forrest Fulton, appearing for the prosecution, stated that James Vickers had spent twelve years of his life in prison and that this would be his fiftieth conviction.
The Magistrates sentenced Vickers to twelve months’ hard labour.
THE VALUE OF A GOOD CHARACTER
A plea of ‘guilty’ was also entered by Sidney Humphreys, described in court as a 23 year old labourer.
Humphreys was charged with breaking and entering the shop belonging to James Benjamin Bailey, at Bushey, and stealing a total of 383 golf balls, valued at £4, on the night of November 1st, 1909.
Mr Forrest Fulton, again for the prosecution, stated that that the prisoner had been “given good character”. Sidney Humphreys had served in both the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Bedfordshire Regiment, and they had both given him “good testimonials”.
The Court bound Sidney Humphreys over in his own recognisances of £5, to come up for judgement if subsequently called upon.