The wheels of justice sometimes turn slowly - as was evident in the Wellington District Court on Friday when a case was called relating to a burglary in 1977.
The court clerk was mystified when the case turned up in her paperwork, as were the judge and police prosecutor.
Not surprisingly, there was no appearance by the defendant - a Mr Jamieson.
Judge Anne Gaskell sought advice from prosecutor Senior Sergeant Colin McGillivray, who suggested the file might need to be sent to the national museum, Te Papa.
Mr McGillivray asked for the charge to be withdrawn, saying the Bill of Rights guaranteed defendants the right to have their cases heard speedily and the 33-year delay was likely to have breached that.
Judge Gaskell agreed, cancelling a warrant on the file and formally withdrawing the charge.