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 defense, 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 fined Rp.1 million (USD 100) and if she could not pay the fine then she will be jailed for 2 and a half years as demanded by the law. She wept as she could not pay the fine.
The judge then took off his hat and put in Rp. 1 million into the hat and said, “In the name of justice, I fine all who are in the court Rp.50 thousand (USD 5.50) as dwellers of this city for letting a child to starve until her grandmother has to steal to feed her grandchild. The registrar will now collect the fines from all present.”
The court managed to collect Rp 3.5 million (USD 350) whereby once the fine was paid off, the rest was given to the old lady … including the fine collected from the plantation manager.