Great Britain accidentally repeals anti-monarchy treason law

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, December 13, 2013 21:05 EDT
google plus icon
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (L), arrive for a visit to Southwark Cathedral in London on Nov. 21, 2013 [AFP]
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

It remains a crime in Britain to call for the abolition of the monarchy after the government admitted Friday it had blundered by including it on a list of repealed laws.

Section three of the Treason Felony Act 1848, which has not been used to prosecute anyone since 1879, was included on a list of 309 obsolete offences to be repealed in the year to May, published by the Ministry of Justice on Thursday.

However, the ministry admitted it was on the list in error as it had not actually been removed from the statue books.

“Section three of the Treason Felony Act 1848 has not been repealed,” a spokeswoman for the ministry said.

That means in theory it is still punishable by life imprisonment to “imagine” overthrowing the crown or waging war against Queen Elizabeth II, as described in the act.

The law applies to anyone “within the United Kingdom or without”.

Anyone convicted is liable to be “transported beyond the seas for the term of his or her natural life”.

Britain’s law lords had concluded in 2001 that the law was “a relic of a bygone age” that did not fit into the modern legal system — but officially it remains a crime nonetheless.

The crime of being an “incorrigible rogue” was among the 309 laws recently struck from the statute books.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.