Tuesday, March 08, 2005

1795 Treason Act

I was listening to Radio 4 in bed this morning to an odd story on the Today programme that seems to have been somewhat overshadowed by the bloody nose that the House of Lords have given the government over their anti-terrorism bill.

It has emerged from questions tabled by Lord Tebbit that the 1795 Treason Act was repealed in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, without the Government being aware of it.

This seems to be an extraordinary state of affairs and makes me wonder how much competent scrutiny legislation actually undergoes these days and what other oversights may be unearthed.

It bizarre to hear Lady Whoever-it-was (I was half asleep at the time) apologising to their Lordships but reassuring them that the 1351 Act was still applicable.

I can't find any timely coverage of this at all on the Internet. Maybe I don't know where to look.

It struck me as I was writing this that Christopher Marlowe, the bizarre accusations against whom I was noting yesterday, lived almost exactly half way between 1351 and 1795. The 1351 Act would have been old news when the Privy Council was being told that he held that "he had as good Right to Coine as the Queen of England, and that he was aquanited with one Poole a prisoner in Newgate who hath greate skill in mixture of mettals and hauing learned some thinges of him he ment through help of a Cunninge stamp maker to Coin ffrench Crownes pistoletes and English shillinges",

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