From the Freeman’s Journal, 7 June 1853:
“A man named John Whitaker was… charged with having stolen a large number of briefs and a law book the property of Messrs. Robinson, QC, Robert Owen Lawson, JF Martley and McCarthy, barristers.
It appeared that a person named McDonnell had been employed by several barristers to carry their brief bags to the Four Courts every morning during term. Having called as usual some mornings since he got four of these bags into his care, and having to go to another house he left the four bags at the doorway, from which they had been stolen by the prisoner, who threw them into a cart which he was driving at the time.
[T]he police… succeeded in tracing the missing papers to the shop of Mrs Kelly, Cook Street, where they had been sold as old paper by the prisoner for seven pence. The papers, which were all recovered, having been identified by the gentlemen to whom they belonged, and the police having stated that they found the four missing brief bags in the lodgings of the prisoner, he was fully committed for trial…”
A barrister’s worst nightmare! Almost certainly there were wigs and gowns in the bags, too. I wonder if they got them back?!