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Friday, October 15, 2021

UK Supreme Court decided on a Queen who ruled 2000 years ago !!

When parties in dispute seek legal opinion – the concern is how it could be decided, even when there could be legal precedence .. .. and more – how long would it take and when the Court decides, would the other party accept the verdict or go on appeal !!   ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’ is a well known legal maxim.  It is known that if redressal is not swift and does not come in time, the remedy could be of no avail.  There are cases that are heard well past the midnight and cases that takes years and years before they are heard !!

Perhaps nothing could beat imagination on when a case is heard !  - ie., can there be a case on an incident that occurred centuries ago !  -  British Judicial system shows us the way.   Boudica trial and her acquittal are moot points  .. .. ……….

Boudica  was a queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the conquering forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61.[yes almost 2000 years ago !] According to Roman sources, shortly after the uprising failed, she poisoned herself or died of her wounds, although there is no actual evidence of her fate. Boudica's husband Prasutagus, with whom she had two children whose names are unknown, ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome, and left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and to the Roman emperor in his will. However, when he died, his will was ignored, and the kingdom was annexed and his property taken.  .. .. and she was tried now under an enactment of 2000 !!  dizzy !!!

The Terrorism Act 2000 is the first of a number of general Terrorism Acts passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It superseded and repealed the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 and the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1996. The powers it provides the police have been controversial, leading to noted cases of alleged abuse, and to legal challenges in British and European courts.

Boudica, was accused that as Queen of the Iceni tribe, reportedly  burnt London to the ground and was responsible for the deaths of 80,000 civilians !  But yesterday, Boudica was acquitted in a 'trial' at the Supreme Court of having committed terrorist acts against a 'rotten and illegitimate Roman government' nearly 2,000 years ago. The female warrior led the Iceni's revolt against occupying Roman forces from AD60-61 after they reneged on a deal to let her people rule themselves. She is also believed to have been flogged and her daughters raped.

Thousands of members of the tribe marched from their home in what is now Norfolk to ravage the Roman cities of Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium and Verulamium, which was near what is now St Albans in Hertfordshire. In her trial, which was run by the education charity Classics for All and involved QC lawyers, the warrior queen was 'charged' under the Terrorism Act 2000. However, by a margin of ten to one, the 50-strong jury accepted that the atrocities committed by Boudica and her people were justified acts of self-defence, The Times reported. 

So UK Supreme Court heard and decided a trial on an act committed nearly 2000 years ago under an Act of 2000 !!  accused of having committed terrorist acts against a 'rotten and illegitimate Roman government'!!   Roman historian Tacitus described the subsequent march on the three ancient cities, saying that Boudica's tribe targeted places where 'loot was richest and protection weakest'.  She was accused of using 'action involving serious violence against persons, namely the inhabitants of Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium.'  The indictment added that her action was designed to 'influence the government of Rome or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, for the purpose of advancing a political or ideological cause, namely Iceni dissidence and secession.'

The prosecution, which was brought on behalf of the 'Senate and People of Rome', was led by high-flying QC Alison Morgan. She was the leading counsel in the case of Khairi Saadallah, who murdered three men in a terrorist attack in Reading last year. Morgan reportedly urged the jurors not to 'buy the hype'. She said that whilst the Romans had flogged the queen and raped her daughters after the death of her husband, Prasutagus, 'that cannot justify an act of mass murder'. However, defence lawyer Thomas Grant QC called Boudica a 'brave woman' who had been a victim of Roman 'propaganda'. 

                               After she was acquitted, judge Lord Justice Stephens said Boudica was free to leave 'without any stain on your character and remain as a national symbol of an inspirational hero'.  He added that he was 'confident' the jury would 'do justice to a Briton' because her actions were the only 'conceivable response' to the Romans' actions.

Before his death, Boudica's husband had been ruler of the Iceni people. The Romans had allowed him to continue as king, ruling on their behalf. He made a deal with the Romans that when he passed away, his heirs would be his two daughters and the Roman Emperor Nero. Prasutagus hoped that he could this way preserve his kingdom and his family fortune. But when he died, the Romans decided to rule the Iceni directly and confiscated the property and estates of his family, as well as allegedly abusing Boudica and her own children.  The marauding tribes’ major military victory came in Camulodunum, where they destroyed the city's Roman colony, including much of the famous Ninth Legion – which later disappeared entirely from the historical record. Boudica and her forces forced the Roman Governor of Britain, Paulinus to evacuate London, which was also destroyed. An estimated 70,000 people were killed there.

The warrior is said to have addressed her group from the back of a chariot, showing them her bruised body and her violated daughters. Tactitus records that her speech ended with the words: 'Win this battle or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do. Let the men live in slavery if they will.'  

That leaves with a fundamental Q – how long should jurisprudence go back – should things of the past be reopened and reviewed under present conditions and may be jaundiced views !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Oct 2021. 

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