(Traffic) Trial By Combat

I’m a big Games of Thrones fan and am excited to see how Tyrion’s “trial by combat” works out this week.   I therefore could not resist sharing one motorist’s attempt to resolve his case using this ancient Medieval procedure.

Accordingly to Wikipedia:  Trial by combat is “a method of Germanic law to settle accusations in the absence of witnesses or a confession in which two parties in dispute fought in single combat; the winner of the fight was proclaimed to be right. In essence, it was a judicially sanctioned duel. It remained in use throughout the European Middle Ages, gradually disappearing in the course of the 16th century.”

I share this historic information because a 60-year motorist from England recently tried to invoked “trial by combat” to resolve a minor traffic ticket.  The traffic court rejected Leon Humphreys’s attempt to invoke this ancient right rather than pay a £25 fine.  Humphreys adamantly demanded to fight a champion nominated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to resolve his ticket.  He proposed taking on a clerk with “samurai swords, Ghurka knives or heavy hammers”.

Despite his insistence that this dispute-resolution mechanism was still valid under European human rights legislation, the Magistrate fined him £200 with £100 costs.   No surprise here.

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