The Laboratorium (3d ser.)

A blog by James Grimmelmann

Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire afin
d'être violent et original dans vos oeuvres.

Defrauding a Robot Circa 1887

R. v. Hands, [1887] 16 Cox C.C. 188 (Crown Cas. Res.):

Lord Coleridge, C.J. In this case a person was indicted for committing a larceny from what is known as an “automatic box,” which was so constructed that, if you put a penny into it and pushed a knob in accordance with the directions on the box, a cigarette was ejected onto a bracket and presented to the giver of the penny. Under these circumstances there is no doubt that the prisoners put in the box a piece of metal which was of no value, but which produced the same effect as the placing a penny in the box produced. A cigarette was ejected which the prisoners appropriated; and in a case of that class it appears to me there clearly was larceny. The means by which the cigarette was made to come out of the box were fraudulent, and the cigarette so made to come out was appropriated.

I never regret reading old case reports. Never.