A man has stolen some beef, saying that it reminded him of his dead grandma, according to reports this week.
Shoplifter, John Casey, 51, tried to take the joint of beef, worth about $20, from an Asda supermarket in England last October, but was caught on camera and arrested.
However, Casey has claimed that he was not trying to steal the meat at all, but was instead just trying to move the beef because it reminded him and was giving him flashbacks of his dead grandmother, who died of a blot clot when he was just a child.
His excuse was not accepted though, and he was arrested for theft.
He was due to stand trial in one of Britain's lower courts, in front of magistrates. However, under British law the accused is entitled to elect to be tried at a higher court, where punishments often can be more severe.
The main difference between the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court, where he chose to be tried, was that in front of the Crown Court he would be tried by a jury, where as in the Magistrates he would be tried just by magistrates.
Prosecutor Michael Hodson told the court: "The defendant accepts placing the joint of beef in his bag deliberately. He says he did so because he was experiencing a flashback to his grandmother's traumatic death, which had been triggered by the sight of the joint of beef. He says it was necessary to conceal the beef in order to control the effects of the flashback. Such flashbacks are very disturbing says the defendant, who takes medication for depression and anxiety. His grandmother passed away when the defendant was a child."
However, after a two day hearing by jury at Newcastle Crown Court, the unemployed father of eight lost his case and the jury found him guilty. Casey was rebuked by the judge for electing to have such a minor case heard in the higher court, where the cost of a trial is about $15,000 a day.
It took the jury just over an hour of deliberations before they came back with a guilty verdict.
Judge Milford said at the conclusion of the trial: "Ordinarily this is a case that would be dealt with in the lower court but he has elected trial. He has the right to be tried by a jury and he has been."
Casey was sentenced to a conditional discharge for two years and told: "You have caused a huge amount of unnecessary expense to be incurred by electing trial and you have got no means from which you can cover the costs of this expensive trial.
'If you come in front of me again I will be a lot less sympathetic."
Eleanor McGrath, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, has said: "It's ridiculous that that this case was allowed go as far as the Crown Court and leave taxpayers footing such a massive bill for the trial. People will be staggered that the judicial system permitted Casey to be tried in this way rather than in the lower court. While the authorities have a duty to ensure that justice is delivered fairly, they must also ensure that it is done in a reasonable way which doesn't lead to exorbitant costs," according to The Daily Mail.