Princess Anne, back in 2002, became the first member of the Royal Family to be charged and convicted of a criminal offence. The first in modern days, at least.
This was a black day for Alf, who holds the royals in high esteem.
The only daughter of Queen Elizabeth pleaded guilty to allowing her bull terrier to run loose and attack two children.
The Guardian reported at the time :
One of her dogs, a three-year-old English bull terrier called Dotty, bit two children as they walked in Windsor Great Park on April 1 this year.
Under the name Anne Elizabeth Alice Laurence, and pitted against Regina (her mother), the princess was charged with her husband, Commodore Tim Laurence, of being in charge of a dog that was dangerously out of control in a public place.
She was fined £500 for the attack and ordered to pay £250 in compensation and £148 in costs at a magistrates court in Slough.
The district judge, Penelope Hewitt, spared the dog’s life but said it must undergo training and be kept on a lead in all public places.
Going back a few centuries, of course, we find that King Charles 1 had a bit of a brush with the law, too.
It was 1649, according to the history Alf dug up here.
On 20 January, Charles was charged with high treason ‘against the realm of England’. Charles refused to plead, saying that he did not recognise the legality of the High Court (it had been established by a Commons purged of dissent, and without the House of Lords – nor had the Commons ever acted as a judicature).
The King was sentenced to death on 27 January. Three days later, Charles was beheaded on a scaffold outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.
Alf mentions these things to show that back in the country that gave us our system of law and order, all citizens are treated equally. This includes monarchs and their sprogs.
But the indigenous persons of this country have not gone along with the idea they should be treated as equals and have laid claim to being regarded as special.
They must increasingly be astonished to find that our non-indigenous authorities are prepared to agree with them about their special status.
They have chalked up their latest triumph in an Auckland court.
The son of Maori King Tuheitia Paki has been discharged without conviction today on charges of burglary, theft and drink driving, after his defence successfully argued a conviction would ruin his chances of succeeding to the throne.
Korotangi Paki, 19, had previously pleaded guilty to all the charges, which related to two separate incidents dating from March this year and October 2013.
So – he put his hands up and said it’s a fair cop, your honour.
More details can be found in umpteen reports on line and in Alf’s previous post.
But it’s the reason for letting the heir to the throne off without conviction that fascinates Alf.
Defence for Paki, Paul Wicks QC, said the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the seriousness of the crime, because it would render the teen — who will become a father in September — ineligible for the role of king.
He also said “any conviction for any criminal offending is considered unacceptable” for a potential king, who had to have an “unblemished record”.
“The chiefs around the country are often heard to say they [eligible candidates] must be ‘whiter than the dove’,” Mr Wicks told the court.
In sentencing, Judge Cunningham took this on board and said she was “driven to the conclusion” that he would lose out on being a successor if convicted.
“There’s only two sons and in my view it’s important that the king at the appropriate time has the widest possible choice of a successor and it’s important for Mr Paki, as one of those two sons, to have the potential to be a successor in time.”
If Maori want a king who is whiter than the dove, it seems to Alf, then perhaps he should be considered a prospect for the job.
But probably that’s not quite what they mean.
Whatever they are on about, Alf is bemused by the notion that the Crown Prince – or this particular aspirant to be the Crown Prince – can imagine he has an unblemished record after admitting being a boozed driver and a burglar, to boot.
An unblemished court record, maybe.
But an unblemished record?
He can get away with that – surely – only among people who have a very special world view. In this very special world view even a young pisshead who has admitted to his transgressions can be portrayed as whiter than a dove and a prince among men.