Nora Johnson: Help! Are you guilty too?

Nora Johnson: Help! Are you guilty too?

Image: r.classen/

A young man arrested at Windsor Castle with a crossbow on Christmas Day last year was charged under the 180-year-old Treason Act (introduced under Queen Victoria after two men fired at her in the space of two days in 1842. It created a new offence that’s less serious than high treason, the punishment for which was death.)

Well, what about other ancient UK laws that have never been repealed – even though statutes may have rendered some obsolete? Among the weirdest are the ones banning you from eating mince pies on Christmas Day. Guilty as charged, m’lud! But if you lock me up, you’ll have to imprison at least half the UK population too…

Other bizarre laws still in existence include a ban on firing a cannon close to a house, the use of any slide upon ice or snow, or driving cattle through the streets of London. But a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants!

Finally, it’s illegal not to tell the tax man anything you don’t want him to know, but it’s perfectly legal not to give him information you don’t mind him knowing (umm, yeah. I think I’ve got that).


Nora Johnson’s 11 critically acclaimed psychological crime thrillers ( all available online including eBooks (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.

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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.