English Man Requested ‘Trial By Combat’ Instead Of Paying A Fine

The Telegraph reported way back in 2002, that a 60-year old man from a town in eastern England got a roughly 50$ fine from their DMV for failing to file some form. He’s unemployed, so he didn’t pay it and eventually had to go to court over the matter; there, he entered a not-guilty plea and requested trial by combat, to the death, with a champion clerk put up by the DMV. He was willing to fight with “samurai swords, Ghurka knives or heavy hammers”. The magistrates declined his offer, and instead fined him about 600$.

Tyrion Lannister's champion, Bronn, fights in trial by combat against Ser Vardis Egan, champion of House Arryn, in season 1 of Game of Thrones

Tyrion Lannister’s champion, Bronn, fights in trial by combat against Ser Vardis Egan, champion of House Arryn, in season 1 of Game of Thrones

 

Trial by combat disappeared from use in legal systems across Europe prior to the Renaissance. In Britain, the last trial by combat sanctioned by the monarch is thought to have taken place in 1583, in Dublin, under the auspices of Queen Elizabeth I. The last such type of trial probably took place in the early 1600s, but was not abolished by the British Parliament until 1819. Therefore, since US law prior to the 1776 Declaration of Independence comes from British common law, trial by combat is technically still legal in America. Someone should try it though, just to make sure.

From The Telegraph, via FAIL Blog

 

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