Public whipping

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It is widely known that the punishment for relatively minor thefts in days gone by could be hanging, but when a St John couple believed that they were the victims of a theft by policemen, they ended up with a particularly severe and barbarous punishment for daring to voice their concerns.

When St John's Honorary Police searched the home of David Brouard and Margaret Tome in 1787, looking for the proceeds of a robbery, a box of theirs containing 48 guineas went missing. Understandably believing that an official complaint would not get them anywhere, the unfortunate couple decided to let as many people as possible in their parish know what had happened.

When word reached the Constable of St John he was not amused, and took the couple to Court on 29 June charged with libelling his honorary officers. The couple were sentenced to the extreme punishment of being publicly whipped by the hangman the following saturday from the Courthouse door to the prison at Charing Cross. Following this Brouard was to have his right ear cut off and both of them were to be banished from the Island forever and their goods and property confiscated.

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