An alleged thief, who has endured the ignominy of many years of accusations that he stole a quantity of vegetables, has finally been cleared of the offence by a court in Peterborough.
The falsely-accused man, who would now be 227, went by the name of Peter Piper, and was first blamed for the disappearance of 'a peck of pickled peppers' way back in 1813. Jurors were told, however, that there was no longer any evidence to support the scurrilous accusation, and the judge ruled that people should desist from making it, especially if they tend to slaver whilst doing so.
Also, nobody in the court could properly explain why the terms 'pick' and 'peck' were used, instead of 'pinch' and 'pack', although this may have been because 'pick' and 'peck' were words that meant 'pinch' and 'pack', but which have fallen out of use since 1813.
It was a very confusing case, admitted the prosecution.
The presiding judge, the Rt. Honorable Justice Piers P. Pickles QC., summed-up by pronouncing:
"Peter Piper is alleged to have pinched a pack of pickled peppers, and a pack of pickled peppers Peter Piper may well have pinched. But, if Peter Piper did, indeed, pinch that pack of pickled peppers, where is it?"
The defendant was cleared, and the court dismissed.