But Your Honour, you stole a Rolex!
January 29, 2005
HE found a Rolex watch while shopping in a supermarket.
And since he's a magistrate, Geoffrey Rowlett should have known better, and handed it to the store.
Instead he pocketed it, gave it to his wife as a birthday present and, when he was found out, lied about how he'd got it.
The Guardian reported that Rowlett, 67, picked up the 3,200 ($9,850) lady's watch three years ago, after its owner lost it in a supermarket in Dorset, England.
Rather than hand it in, Mr Rowlett, a building surveyor who has been a magistrate for 30 years, presented it to his wife, Margaret, for her 60th birthday. He also insured it for 3,000.
In Britain magistrates are members of the local community appointed by the judiciary. They deal with criminal offences like crime and fraud.
Some two years after he'd found it, Rowlett took the watch to be repaired.
When the jeweller put its serial number into a database he discovered that it had been reported lost or stolen in January 2002.
When the jeweller questioned him, Rowlett concocted a bizarre story.
He said that he had bought the Rolex Oyster for 1,500 in a 'bric-a-brac shop' while on his way to a freemason lodge meeting in Portsmouth. But he didn't have a receipt nor could he name the store.
He even hired a private detective to make a show of finding the store.
But the police later proved that he had been at the supermarket within two hours of the victim on Jan 16, 2002 - the day she lost the watch.
He was charged with theft, fined 600 pounds and ordered to pay 400 costs.
Rowlett has also been suspended by Dorset magistrates' courts.