It is a key factor in the dispensation of justice, civil or racing, that the punishment should fit the crime. And that no one should be subject to double jeopardy - charged with the same crime twice, or punished twice. The case of trainer Ivan Allan last week raises several issues, none reflecting any credit on those who sat in judgment of him. Allan needs no defenders inside or outside the media, and has proved more than once that he is more than capable of looking after his own interests. He did the stipendiary stewards' panel a favour by not appealing against fines totalling $60,000 for breaching rules relating to the working of horses that have bled. It is hard to believe that the Jockey Club stewards would have agreed with the severity of the punishment - in direct relation to the crime. Allan erred in working Inner Circle and Smiling Knight within a period proscribed by the rules covering horses that have bled, as both these had done. Allan, who was in Australia at yearling sales when the offences occurred, was responsible for ordering the horses to work. It was a genuine error and he accepted full responsibility. And it was simply that: a mistake. There was no attempt to pull a fast one, switch saddlecloth numbers or work in the dark. It is quite likely that the names of the horses figured in the daily trackwork timings. The horses worked on three occasions each in front of a stipendiary steward who was on duty. But Allan's breach of the rules was not discovered until he actually entered the horses - although there was no intention to run them, as was stated on the entry form. This reserve status only gives preference for later races in which it is intended to run and is permitted by the relevant rules. Ironically, those who passed ultimate sentence on Allan were themselves in the dark, as they had attempted to charge him for entering the horses in breach of the rules. Allan was, in fact, fully entitled to enter the horses and the rules do state that a bleeder can be entered. It reflects no credit on the panel that they did not apparently know the rules under which they operate. But the fines were punitive for the offence committed - and admitted. It is all very well taking a tough stance - in fact that is welcome - but it must surely be relative to the offences committed. Allan was fined a total of $60,000 because the horses had worked three times each, although an alert stewards' panel should have spotted the breach of the rules when the horses first worked. They did not, and Allan is then punished repeatedly for the same offence. There is little justice in that. By fining him this amount for what is a relatively minor breach of the rules, the stipendiary stewards have established a benchmark or precedent. Let us hark back a few months to the occasion when suspended trainer Steven S. L. Leung was fined $100,000 for his part in the incident when an apprentice-ridden horse was not allowed to run on its merits. It was the third occasion in a relatively short space of time that the trainer had been involved in a similar inquiry - with a similar result in relation to the jockeys involved being stood down. Two wrongs do not make a right - and the fines levied in Leung's case and that of Allan last week were both unjust for widely different reasons. But what happens next? By fining Allan as they did, the stipendiary stewards will themselves now be judged on their future actions, and it does raise the spectre afresh of punishments being far too harsh for the crime. Heaven forbid, but what happens if Patrick Biancone is found guilty of a more serious breach of the rules? If, for instance, it rains sputolosin again? Wheel out the guillotine for summary justice at a Sha Tin Sunday meeting? It would certainly ensure a full house - but that's another issue.