Whatever Happened to Treason?


Amended several times over the centuries, Britain’s Treason Act of 1351 remains. However the last time it was used was in 1946 at the trial of William Joyce – otherwise known as Lord Haw-Haw. Joyce assisted Germany during World War II by broadcasting Nazi propaganda and was executed by hanging for treason.


While the 665-year-old act has not been used in the modern era, it has been highlighted as recently as 2014 when the then Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond suggested that British extremists who travel to Iraq and Syria and pledge allegiance to ISIS could be charged with high treason.

The claims of murder and torture of prisoners against British soldiers at the Battle of Danny Boy during the Iraq War in 2004 led to the £31m Al-Sweady inquiry, which lasted from 2009 until 2014. Phil Shiner’s Public Interest Lawyers, which folded in August last year, represented the families of dead Iraqis in the allegations against British soldiers. The claims were ultimately dismissed in the inquiry’s final report as ‘wholly without foundation’. Phil Shiner has been struck off and ordered to pay costs of £250,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and there are calls for him to be further prosecuted for fraud.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former infantry commander and veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, wrote last week that “Shiner’s accusations helped incite our jihadist enemies at home and around the world, providing ideal propaganda for terrorist leaders to inspire recruits and attract funders. It is certainly possible that people have died as a consequence of Shiner’s malpractice.”

In April, lawyers from Leigh Day are also set to face the tribunal. The SRA is bringing 19 charges related to the Al-Sweady inquiry against senior partner Martyn Day, partner Sapna Malik and solicitor Anna Crowther. Leigh Day, incidentally, are donors to Emily Thornberry, Corbyn’s Shadow Foreign Secretary.

On the 14th December last year the caliphate-seeking extremist conveyor belt Hizb ut Tahrir and the Muslim rights group CAGE blocked off a central London square to demand a caliphate while a crowd chanted ‘Allahu Akbar’. CAGE’s Director Asim Qureshi – a British Passport Holder – has form for taking to London’s streets calling for jihad, as well as calling ISIS executioner Jihadi John a beautiful man.

At the 14th December gathering a “poet” addressed the crowd and chanted:

We need a Caliph who will clean up these streets / Who will smack up armies and who will back beef [fighting]. / Backhand your missiles back to your land, that’s the plan. / World domination at hand. We can expand and take out these fools.

While the 1351 Treason Act currently declares as treasonable killing the Queen, counterfeiting the Great Seal of Scotland and attempting to hinder the succession to the British throne, it also declares helping out Britain’s enemies as a treasonable act.

The likes of Shiner, CAGE, Hizb ut Tahrir, Anjem Choudary and – let’s see what the tribunal says – Martyn Day would surely have been candidates for charges of treason when Lord Haw-Haw swung.

The Death Penalty was of course abolished in 1965. Britain’s Treason Act of 1351 is still in force.

What has changed since Haw-Haw’s conviction?

Are the Death Penalty and Treason being confused by the British Government?

Why is the Treason law not being enforced against these traitors and tank chasers today?

Do we, the Public, need to initiate civil proceedings against the enemy within to remind the British Government of the laws at its disposal which it chooses – so feebly – to ignore?

3 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to Treason?

  1. The relevant part of the statute concerns ‘adhering to’ or ‘giving aid and comfort to the enemies of [our lady the Queen]…’ which is difficult to do when not fighting a declared war. The problem with this act is that it is too archaic to be really useful in modern circumstances, hence its fall into disuse after WW2, and after a nasty scare when it seemed possible that Joyce would be acquitted having never actually been a British subject. Shiner may be pretty loathsome but it would be next to impossible to prove a charge of High Treason against him under the 1351 statute. A new Treason Act might be the way forwards to deal with individuals who go overseas to fight for our enemies but I doubt there is much enthusiasm in government for it.

    And finally… the death penalty for High Treason wasn’t actually abolished until 1998 when we incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into British law with the HRA.

  2. Shiner is a shyster. Rather than sticking him inside for a few months he should get to join the Marines for a year.

  3. Twenty-odd years ago, I sat in a conference hall in Liverpool University listening to Martyn Day explaining how environmental protest groups can set up conditions to mount a judicial review. It all hinged upon finding someone in the area who was on social security benefits and was eligible for legal aid. The benefit claimant would then act as the decoy around which funding and the challenge could then go ahead. All courtesy of the taxpayer.

    Since then, Leigh Day and Partners have made a fortune in mounting challenges against the government. They have moved from environmental challenges to mining the Ministry of Defence for circumstances in which to find ‘aggrieved’ persons who ‘remember’ crimes long ago committed – the charges of rape against British forces training in Kenya are particularly egregious examples.

    It really is time we found ways of preventing these vexatious cases from getting anywhere near the courts.

Leave a Reply