This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It appears that in England as well as in America, there are lawyers and judges who do not know the law. In a recent trial for stealing hot-house grapes, the prosecuting attorney said:
" It was a part of our law that a man could not be charged with stealing growing grapes, and as these had been cut from a vine, the prisoner could not be charged on that account. But a pair of scissors had been stolen from the same place and at the same time, and therefore he would be tried on that charge".
The judge regarded this as good law, and for stealing a pair of grape scissors the prisoner was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.
In spite of this "whipping the devil around the stump," the English law stands as follows :
"Sec. 24th and 25th, Vic, Chap. 96: Whosoever shall steal or destroy, or damage with intent to steal, any plant, root, fruit, or vegetable production growing in any garden, orchard, pleasure ground, nursery ground, hot-house, green-house or conservatory, shall on conviction thereof before a justice, either be committed to the common gaol or house of correction, there to be imprisoned and kept to hard labor for any term not exceeding six calendar months, or else shall forfeit and pay over and above the value of the articles stolen or the amount of the injury done, such sum of money, not exceeding twenty pounds, as to the justice shall seem meet".