The Whitehaven Magistrates dealt uncommonly leniently with the sixteen
years old draper's apprentice who confessed to having appropriated his
employer's cash, to dispose of in betting. The wonder is why such a case should ever
have been brought before them if it was to be dealt with as this was.
Many cases of juvenile delinquency are never given into the hands of
the police at all; and it is easy to understand the leniency that would rather
err on the side of mercy, and not only save from prison but from publicity.
But from the Judicial standpoint, all the more reason is there that when such a
case is brought before the Bench, it should not go forth that justice also is
sentimental. It is rather a serious matter when an apprentice boy exhibits
such singular vice as to indulge in betting to the prodigal extent indicated by
the evidence on Thursday, and abstracting the moneys of his employer to do so.
Recently we drew a distinction between betting and the vice of
betting. This is an example of the vice; and it is this vice which is the subject of
condemnation by judges and others. On may stake a trifle on one's superior
knowledge of racing, horses, dogs, politics, stock and share market, or pig iron
warrants, and sometimes do a good "deal" in any of these, without wrong. But
the precocity that imagines itself possessed of shrewd judgment and superior
knowledge at 16, and is willing to bet his master's money on it wants treatment.