Treachery towards the British Crown
On Tuesday, after a Scotland Yard counter-terrorism investigation, a 20-year-old British Sikh was charged under the Treason Act for attempting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth on Christmas Day while armed with a crossbow. Jaswant Singh Chail of Southampton in Southern England wore a hood and mask in a chilling video posted to Snapchat just 24 minutes before his arrest, lamenting about how he intended to “assassinate” the Queen to avenge the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a tragedy that happened 103 years ago in India. In the video, he makes several Star Wars references amid his threats saying,
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I’ve done and what I will do. I will attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, Queen of the Royal Family. This is revenge for those who have died in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It is also revenge for those who have been killed, humiliated, and discriminated on because of their race. I’m an Indian Sikh, a Sith. My name was Jaswant Singh Chail, my name is Darth Janus.”
On the morning of December 25, 2021, shortly after 8:30 am, Chail was apprehended and arrested after scaling an outer wall using a rope ladder and being spotted on CCTV walking around the gardens of Windsor Castle. The monarch was spending a quiet Christmas there due to pandemic precautions, the first since the passing of Prince Phillip, instead of the traditional royal family gathering at Sandringham House, the queen’s estate in Norfolk. The Queen was enjoying breakfast with other members of the royal family at the time she was informed of the invasion. The would-be attacker was able to get within 500 meters of the Queen’s private apartments on the castle grounds.
Chail is being charged under Section 2 of the 1842 Treason Act, for the crime of having a firearm or offensive weapon in the presence of the Queen with intent to injure or alarm her. The charge is lesser than treason, carrying up to seven years imprisonment, and flogging which has never been applied for violation of the Act. Other charges include making threats to kill and possession of an offensive weapon. Chail was held on a mental health section after his arrest and is currently in custody and set to appear at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 17.
The last conviction made under the Act was in 1981 when Marcus Sarjeant fired six blank rounds at Queen Elizabeth as she paraded horseback during Trooping of the Colour. Sarjeant claimed to be inspired by John Lennon’s assassination and the attempt on President Ronald Regan’s life that same year. Sarjeant pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Read More: John Hinckley, Jr., the Man Who Shot President Ronald Reagan, Has Obtained Unconditional Release
Through the Lens of January 6th Prosecutions
The British sentences under the Treason Act pale in comparison to Biden’s DOJ bringing seditious conspiracy charges against alleged leaders accused in the January 6th Capitol riots. Punishment for seditious conspiracy carries up to 20 years in prison and is theorized to carry an additional four to five years based on the alleged victims being federal officials.
Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta denied a request to delay the trial of defendants facing seditious conspiracy charges. Five of eleven defendants in the case, including Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, will go to trial September 24. Defense attorneys argued about pretrial publicity stemming from House Select Committee hearings. I have previously written about the congressional inquiry impacting fair trials in DC and the characterizations made about Rhodes. Judge Mehta said he could revisit the issue ahead of the trial.
“If transcripts are dropped on the eve of trial that pertain to these defendants and the allegations against them, I will revisit the issue. You have my word, the truth of the matter is the court’s docket cannot be dictated by how Congress is acting and what they are doing.“