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Court refuses trial by combat
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 12/16/2002 | David Sapsted

Posted on 12/15/2002 5:13:38 PM PST by dighton

A court has rejected a 60-year-old man’s attempt to invoke the ancient right to trial by combat, rather than pay a £25 fine for a minor motoring offence.

Leon Humphreys remained adamant yesterday that his right to fight a champion nominated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) was still valid under European human rights legislation. He said it would have been a “reasonable” way to settle the matter.

Magistrates sitting at Bury St Edmunds on Friday had disagreed and instead of accepting his offer to take on a clerk from Swansea with “samurai swords, Ghurka knives or heavy hammers”, fined him £200 with £100 costs.

Humphreys, an unemployed mechanic, was taken to court after refusing to pay the original £25 fixed penalty for failing to notify the DVLA that his Suzuki motorcycle was off the road.

After entering a not guilty plea, he threw down his unconventional challenge. Humphreys, from Bury St Edmunds, said: “I was willing to fight a champion put up by the DVLA, but it would have been a fight to the death.”

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2002.


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/15/2002 5:13:38 PM PST by dighton
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To: dighton
classic
2 posted on 12/15/2002 5:15:20 PM PST by Maedhros
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To: dighton
"Leon Humphreys remained adamant yesterday that his right to fight a champion nominated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) was still valid under European human rights legislation."

Anyone know if this method of settling a legal dispute is still legal as he claims?

3 posted on 12/15/2002 5:20:14 PM PST by etcetera
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To: Maedhros
"Humphreys, an unemployed mechanic, was taken to court after refusing to pay the original £25 fixed penalty for failing to notify the DVLA that his Suzuki motorcycle was off the road."

Sometimes you can't win for lose-first ya gotta register the damn thing to get it on the road,then ya gotta pay to let the thing sit in the garage.Samari Swords sounds reasonable in this situation-the court officers are just chicken.
4 posted on 12/15/2002 5:21:12 PM PST by Drippy
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To: etcetera; aculeus; general_re; BlueLancer; hellinahandcart; Poohbah; Thinkin' Gal; MadIvan
Anyone know if this method of settling a legal dispute is still legal as he claims?

I'll ping my distinguished panel of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . experts.

5 posted on 12/15/2002 5:25:01 PM PST by dighton
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To: dighton
his offer to take on a clerk from Swansea with “samurai swords, Ghurka knives or heavy hammers”

Oh sure, he goes for that wuss from Swansea.

6 posted on 12/15/2002 5:32:09 PM PST by Trailerpark Badass
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To: Drippy

Yes, Suzuki troubles to be worked out with samurai swords.
Sounds OK, but most of the swords are in collections?
May be better off with claw hammers from K-mart.
7 posted on 12/15/2002 5:33:30 PM PST by DUMBGRUNT
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To: dighton
£25 fixed penalty for failing to notify the DVLA that his Suzuki motorcycle was off the road.

I wonder if they billed T.E. Lawrence's estate for that one.


8 posted on 12/15/2002 5:34:58 PM PST by Thinkin' Gal
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To: etcetera
I believe trial by combat only applied to felonies, which this is obviously not.
9 posted on 12/15/2002 5:44:17 PM PST by proxy_user
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To: dighton
According to Blackstone's Commentary, the last trial by wager of battel (that's how it's spelled) was in the thirteenth year of the reign of Elizabeth I (about 1570)

This method of trial had been introduced into England by William the Conqueror.

Apparently abolished during the reign of George III (the king during the American Revolution).

So, the dude doesn't know his own law.
10 posted on 12/15/2002 5:44:39 PM PST by fqued
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To: fqued; etcetera
Thank you.

Etcetera, see #10.

11 posted on 12/15/2002 5:49:15 PM PST by dighton
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To: DUMBGRUNT
Claw Hammers would be less glamorous than Samari Swords,but the guy said hammers would be fine,I'm sure he could have accomplished his job with one of those just fine.
12 posted on 12/15/2002 5:50:15 PM PST by Drippy
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To: dighton
This is the finest article I have ever read. Huzzah! for the ol' boy....

Who do I gotta f%$# to get on your ping list?

13 posted on 12/15/2002 5:52:14 PM PST by Cogadh na Sith
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To: chookter
Who do I gotta f%$# to get on your ping list?

No one. A bribe gratuity of $5,000 will suffice.

14 posted on 12/15/2002 5:55:48 PM PST by dighton
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To: dighton
Just dug this up

The Many Variations of Trial by Combat

------------------------------------------------------------

The variations of Medieval trial by combat were enormous. For example, 13th century English law required a robber turned "kings Evidence" to pledge to convict all his accomplices before recieving his pardon. These convictions were to be obtained via trial by combat if necessary, and the accused could challenge the turncoat robber to trial by combat before that testimony was proven. The court was pledged to pay for his outfitting to do such combat by sustaining him with a stipend and equipment for battle until his freedom or death was attained. A "bill" noted from 1190 in Lincolnshire showed an expence of one thousand ducats (15s 10d) for a certain man plus fifty ducats (1s) per diem, in addition to the 300 ducats (6s) for three combats and charges for the carts and horses to bring the accused criminals from Lincoln to London for the combat.

As this was all part of the judicial process, there were many stipulations that had to be met. Each "country" or region had its own pecularities. One fairly universal requirement was the avowing that no "soceries" were employed by either combatant. In 1355 a case developed between the Bishop of Salisbury and the Earl of Salisbury, both contesting ownership of certain lands. Upon examining the combatants personages, the judges found that the champion for the Bishop had secreted many scripts and prayers into his garb. He was disqualified and the Bishop made to pay 187,500 ducats (1,500) marks for the property.

A typical pledge before combat went something like this: "This hear you Justices, that I have this day neither eaten, drunk, nor have upon me either bone, stone, ne glass, or any enchantment, socery or witchcraft where-through the power of God might be strengthened or diminished, nor the devils power increased, and that my appeal is true, so help me God and his saints, and by this book." (circa 1571)

The 13th century English could only bring about combat in "doubtful" cases where jury decisions were not possible. Cases of violence were settled by jury but cases of suspected poisoning had the choice of confession or combat.

15 posted on 12/15/2002 5:56:17 PM PST by Colorado Doug
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To: dighton
This could get ugly. click.

1) A part of the Maryland Constitution defines the common law of Maryland as the Common Law of England as of July 4, 1776

2) In A celebrated case in England in the 1850's a litigant who was due to lose a huge case in desperation issued a challenge for trial by combat to his opponents and showed up in front of the courthouse in full armor at the appointed time. When the other side failed to show up he demanded (and got) a victory by default. A reluctant judge concluded that since it never been altered by statute, trial by combat was still a valid part of English Common Law. An emergency session of Parliment was called the next week to formally outlaw the practice once and for all.

3) Maryland however, never followed suit, so technically Trial by combat remains "on the books" of MD Common Law...

(Note to self, bring an armored suit when visiting Maryland.)

16 posted on 12/15/2002 6:07:11 PM PST by xJones
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To: xJones
I believe that Senator Barbara Ann Mikulski is a DemonRAT. Any FReeper from Maryland want to challenge her to trial by combat?
17 posted on 12/15/2002 6:26:12 PM PST by dark_lord
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To: xJones
..........technically Trial by Combat remains "on the books" of MD Common Law...

Very interesting.

If Spendenning had'nt had to leave the Governors love nest maybe we could have gotten Dr. Raoul or Sauropod to try it out.

18 posted on 12/15/2002 6:31:45 PM PST by jimtorr
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To: etcetera
... still valid under European human rights legislation.

There is some precedent. Rich twins (Scotish publishers) who own an island under the control of the Baliwick of Guernsey challenged the Baliwick's application of (interestingly) medieval law to twart the twins' inheritence scheme. They argued that the European Convention on Human Rights trumped the Baliwick law. The Channel Islands are still legally part of the Duchy of Normandy, not the UK, and thus some medieval law still prevails. I think the twins won (of course the only reason they lived in the Baliwick was to avoid income tax). This case appears opposite - defendant is attmepting to use the Convention to invoke a medieval right. I give him about as much chance as a Montana Freeman invoking (non-existent) Common Law Courts.

19 posted on 12/15/2002 6:32:14 PM PST by Martin Tell
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To: dighton
RPGs at 20 paces
20 posted on 12/15/2002 6:42:54 PM PST by joesnuffy
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To: dark_lord
I knew it would get ugly. Here's Mikuski's photo from her website.

.

Would you challege her in Maryland with a full suit of armor AND abestos undies?

21 posted on 12/15/2002 6:44:37 PM PST by xJones
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To: Gunslingr3; FLdeputy
A court has rejected a 60-year-old man’s attempt to invoke the ancient right to trial by combat, rather than pay a £25 fine for a minor motoring offence.

Possible best post ever ping.

22 posted on 12/15/2002 7:14:37 PM PST by Jonathon Spectre
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To: Clemenza; rmlew; PARodrig; RaceBannon; Yehuda
Trial by combat, now there is a concept that we should resurect.
23 posted on 12/15/2002 7:27:45 PM PST by Cacique
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To: MadIvan
How could you miss this one?
24 posted on 12/15/2002 7:30:35 PM PST by Cacique
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To: Thinkin' Gal
LOL
That may be the cruelest (and funniest) historical reference I've ever read on Freerepublic!
25 posted on 12/15/2002 8:17:26 PM PST by Maximum Leader
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To: dighton; etcetera; aculeus
The hell with legal - the "fun factor" alone is enough for me. I do believe the chap might have been serious, in which case, the battle of Everyman versus the Motor Vehicles Department would have had widespread appeal, as Everyman finally gets his chance to beat the tar out of that snotty b*st*rd behind the counter. The one who wants to play the Great and Powerful Oz for the hapless customers who only want to renew their damn licenses. "Fetch me her broom, peon! And then you may have your license!"

Hey, guess where I was last week? ;)

26 posted on 12/15/2002 10:58:07 PM PST by general_re
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To: general_re
" Hey, guess where I was last week?"

Dont' tell me! Don't tell me! Let me guess...you were in Honolulu running the marathon?

27 posted on 12/15/2002 11:22:53 PM PST by etcetera
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To: etcetera
Let me guess...you were in Honolulu running the marathon?

Close, very close. Okay, I'll give you two guesses ;)

28 posted on 12/15/2002 11:29:14 PM PST by general_re
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To: general_re
" Close, very close. Okay, I'll give you two guesses"

OK...you were in Kona running the Triathlon?

29 posted on 12/15/2002 11:39:26 PM PST by etcetera
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To: etcetera
Dealing with NY DMV has been known to take on that feeling ;)
30 posted on 12/15/2002 11:43:21 PM PST by general_re
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To: dighton
Hold my sword alert. :)


31 posted on 12/18/2002 7:27:54 AM PST by anymouse
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To: etcetera; proxy_user; Martin Tell
In certain types of cases--apparently not restricted to felonies--trial by wager of law or by wager of battle was possible.

The latter was abolished in 1819 in Act to abolish Appeals of Murder, Treason, Felony or Other Offenses, and Wager of Battle, or joining Issue and Trial by Battle, in Writs of Right, 59 Geo. 3, ch. 46 § 2 (1819)(Eng.).

The former [which I imagine to be the adversarial paradigm of American legal practise] was abolished in 1833 in An Act for the further Amendment of the Law and the better Advancement of Justice, 3 & 4 Will. 4, ch. 42 § 13 (1833)(Eng.).

32 posted on 01/19/2012 2:10:55 AM PST by patronanejo
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