How justice is tempered with mercy


An Indonesian judge by the name of Marzuki was sitting in judgment of an old lady who pleaded guilty of stealing some tapioca from a plantation.

In her defence, she admitted to the judge that she was indeed guilty of the crime because she was poor and her son was sick while her grandchild was hungry.

The plantation manager insisted that she be punished as a deterrent to others. The judge going through the documents then looked up and said to the old lady, “I’m sorry but I cannot make any exception to the law and you must be punished.”

The old lady was asked to pay a fine of 1 million rupiah (USD 100) and if she could not pay the fine then she will be jailed for two and a half years as demanded by the law.

The grandma was bowed, her heart crushed, while the judge Marzuki removed his cap, opened his pocket and then took his wallet and put 1 million rupiah into his hat and addressed the people in the court:

“I on behalf of the court, herewith fine each one attending this hearing 50’000 rupiah, for settling in this city and allowing someone living here to starve so that she is forced to steal to feed her children and grandchildren. The registrar will now collect the fines from all the accused.”

The court was able to collect 3.5 million rupiah (USD 200) and once the fine was paid off, the rest was given to the old lady including the fine collected from the plantation manager.


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