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To 'imagine' the end of the monarchy still a crime in Britain

Dec. 14, 2013 at 1:00 AM

LONDON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- While no one has been prosecuted under the law since 1879, advocating the abolition of the British monarchy is still a crime, the government admitted Friday.

The Treason Felony Act 1848 was included Thursday on a list of about 300 outdated statutes that were recently purged, the Guardian reported. The Ministry of Justice said that was incorrect.

Being an "incorrigible rogue," made a crime in the Vagrancy Act 1824, is no longer illegal. But the law says that to "imagine" the end of the monarchy by violent or peaceful means is still theoretically punishable by life imprisonment.

The Guardian, which supports an elected head of state and regularly uses its editorial pages to imagine the end of the monarchy, challenged the law in 2001. The law lords rejected the action, saying the law is dead letter because the Human Rights Act of 1898 guarantees freedom of speech.

Judge John Steyn also chastised the newspaper for trying to use the courts to "chivvy Parliament into spring-cleaning the statute book."

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