A Secret Barrister multipurpose piece on the law of treason in the UK and a rebuke of THAT MEP’s extreme view on anyone opposed to Brexit.

First published in July 2018.

An actual elected MEP, David Bannerman, tweeted these actual words:

“It is about time we brought the Treason Act (of 1372) up to date and made it apply to those seeking to destroy or undermine the British state. That means extreme jihadis. It also means those undermining the UK through extreme EU loyalty.”

Twitter / @DCBMEP.

He then deleted the tweet and posted a slightly corrected version of the very same tweet:

“It is about time we brought the Treason Act up to date and made it apply to those seeking to destroy or undermine the British state. That means extreme jihadis. It also means those in future actively working undemocratically against U.K. through extreme EU loyalty.”

Twitter / @DCBMEP.

To which I would say as follows:

1. A quick primer on the law of treason.

TalkRADIO breakfast show presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeted last year that, in her opinion, “Philip Hammond  shouldn’t just be sacked, he should be tried for treason”, after the Chancellor dared say ‘money would be spent on preparing for a failure to reach a deal with the EU only at the last possible moment.’

As a criminal lawyer, I then had a few questions to submit to Julia Hartley-Brewer...

There are a few options when it comes to treason. Should Philip Hammond be tried under the Treason Act 1351? I see some difficulties.

It is not immediately clear that the Chancellor has imagined the death of the Queen or her companion. Or violated her eldest daughter.

Treason Act 1351.

So, I think the 1351 Act (which is still active) is not our best route. How about the Treason Act 1702?

Again, I think we are in difficulty proving that Mr Hammond has endeavoured to hinder the succession to the Crown. So, let’s move on.

Treason Act 1702.

The Treason Act 1842 is another option. Has Philip Hammond thrown or used a weapon to injure or alarm Her Majesty? It is possible. But probably unlikely.

Treason Act 1842.

Six years later was the Treason Act 1848. Is this our golden ticket to transporting Philip Hammond “beyond the seas for his natural life”?

Upon reflection, it appears that “Felony Treason”, as it is called, may not quite be right. Does Philip Hammond want to levy war against Her Majesty?

If not, and if Hammond is not using force to intimidate or overawe Parliament, we may be left with another, less exciting conclusion.

Treason Act 1848.

Maybe the Chancellor is not guilty of treason, but had just expressed a political view and economic forecast that breakfast show presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer wished was not true.

2. There’s no such thing as the Treason Act of 1372.

My piece, unfortunately, omitted to deal with Tory MEP David Bannerman’s Treason Act 1372 quote. In mitigation, I would point out that there is no such Act.

But since Mr Bannerman has blocked me on Twitter, we will never be able to light a cigar and chew the fat over legislation that does not exist.🔷

Share this article now:

Tell us your story:

Have you got a story to share

with our readers?

You can share your experience today

by submitting your story to us:

Tell us your story now!

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 25 July 2018, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Pixabay.)



Author image

The Secret Barrister is a junior barrister specialising in criminal law. Wears a black cape and fights crime. Not Batman. Best Independent Blog Winner, Comment Awards 2016 & 2017.

UK Criminal Courts Articles in PMP Magazine Website