In 1829 at the Supreme Court in Sydney, the bewitching Jane New was sentenced to death. Her crime: shoplifting a bolt of printed French silk. But was she guilty? Many had their doubts.
Although a legal technicality soon quashed Jane's sentence, the autocratic Governor Ralph Darling refused to set her free. Like bees to the honey pot, the gentlemen of Sydney swarmed to Jane's defence including barrister and political agitator William Charles Wentworth and Supreme Court Registrar John Stephen Jr, who were both vigorous and manipulative in their appeals to set her free.