Tuesday, March 08, 2005

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The Saga of “Treason Act 1795”

The Saga of “Treason Act 1795”. By Anne Palmer, 8.3.2005.

As many of your are aware, I trail certain debates in our Parliament and also, from time to time, the European Parliament, and so it was on 17th November 2004 in a reply to Lord Tebbit’s question, “Whether, and if so by what statutory provision, treason remains a criminal offence?” [HL, 4921] to which the Baroness of Scotland replied, “Treason remains a criminal offence under the treason Acts of 1351, 1702, 1795 and 1842, and the Treason Felony Act 1848”.

Glaring out at me, and for very uncomfortable personal reasons was the 1795 Treason Act which I now know was repealed during the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, having heard this from the Judge sitting on a case of Misprision of Treason in the Walsall Court, September 2004.

I immediately wrote a letter to Lady Scotland with a copy to Lord Tebbit, and as always with a letter that concerns our Constitution, made absolutely clear it was an open letter. (In other words, it is not just MY Constitution)

The reply came from the Home Office, which as well as the points quoted by Lady Scotland during the debate, was this particular one, “The 1795 Act outlawed plots to kill, maim, imprison etc the Sovereign, his heirs and successors. In modern practice, such acts would be covered by conspiracy law which was placed on a statutory footing by the Criminal Law Act 1977. The maximum sentence for conspiracy is the same as the offence the defendant conspired to commit. For example, a person convicted of conspiracy to murder of conspiracy to commit another serious offence for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment, could be sentences to life imprisonment for the conspiracy too.”

In September 2004, Derek Bennett, (UKIP) attended the Magistrate’s Court in Walsall in an attempt to bring charges of Misprision of Treason against certain members of Government who intend to incorporate the proposed EU Constitution into our system. The use of the constitutional 1795 Treason Act thwarted his attempt because unbeknown to many (even Baroness Scotland in the House of Lords), it was repealed in the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act.

The 1795 Treason Act was last used by Rodney Atkinson and the late Norris McWhirter in the Misprison of Treason case at Hexham (Northumberland) Magistrates Court 9th September 1993. It was obviously the right Treason Act to use for the number of charges placed before the Court at that time, and would remain so now if still “active”. It therefore was not repealed in 1998 simply because ‘it had not been used for many years’. It had been. It was also used by many people who did not know of its repeal, trying to prevent the Nice Treaty from being ratified, in the year 2000 and 2001 and again by Derek in 2004 against the EU Constitution.

My reply from the Home Office also stated, “despite an extensive search of our records, we have not been able to ascertain why the 1795 Act was itself repealed at that time (All the officials who worked in this Unit during the passage of the Crime and Disorder Act have since moved on so we have not had the benefit of their knowledge)”. I find it difficult to comprehend that such an important department can muddle along in such a fashion!

Lord Tebbit raised a similar question in the House of Lords, on 7th March 2005 and there was still no satisfactory answer and no one seems to be fully aware of why the whole Act was repealed in what was mainly a Bill to do with youth, in fact the debates go from debating the “effect of child’s silence at trial” to “abolishing the death penalty for treason and piracy”. (31st March 1998) The switch makes no sense.

Lord Stoddart questioned whether, when becoming an EU Commissioner the making of an Oath to the European Union having previously made an oath of allegiance to the Queen, was treasonable, to which the Baroness of Scotland replied, “My Lords, I hesitate as always to give any disappointment to the noble Lord, but I have to tell him that the EU constitution is, unfortunately, not a treasonable document”. Quite right of course, for on its own it is not a treasonable document, however, incorporate it into our system, it would automatically override our own Constitution, (and states so in the Constitutional document) which, according to R v Thistlewood 1820, to destroy the constitution “is an act of treason”. Whereas it was established in 1932 that “No Parliament may bind its successors” etc, etc.

There are those that believe our entry into the European Community in 1972 was unlawful, even though it was a “Treaty”. The Treaty however, gave Community law supremacy over our law. There is the added problem that the people were also deliberately misled during the 1975 referendum campaign in an effort to persuade the people to vote to “remain in the European Community”. Lord Denning ruled (Macarthy’s Ltd V Smith) that “ultimate sovereignty still rests with Parliament: Community Law prevails only because Parliament wants it to prevail. Etc”. Government’s belief that Parliament is still sovereign and can come out of the now European Union by simply repealing the European Communities Act will end if ever the EU Constitution, signed by the Rt Hon Anthony Blair, is ratified.

Although there is an exit clause in the EU Constitution, it would require the agreement of the remaining 24 Countries to allow us to withdraw. Do not hold you breath for that to happen. They need us, far more than we need them for that to happen.

No Government has the right to sign our Country away to be governed forever, (or for an unlimited period) by anyone other than our own Government that we the people elect and whose sworn oath of allegiance by all British subjects, is to the Crown and this Country at all times.

As there appears to be no apparent reason why the recently used 1795 Treason Act has been repealed, I now suggest that the Treason Act 1795 be re-instated, for there may well come a time when it is needed in the future. Anne Palmer.


See here Shyster lawyers and charlatans the letter from the Home Office in response to Anne Palmer's original enquiry



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