A man who shot and killed a complete stranger in Chester with a bow and arrow has had his foot imprisoned by a judge at The Old Bailey.
The accused, John Doyley, claimed he had only intended to wound the victim, 47 year old David Anwyl, and that his unprovoked attack was merely a protest at ridiculous laws that have not been repealed. An obscure British law does indeed state that in Chester, it is legal to shoot a Welsh person with a bow and arrow inside city walls after midnight. Though considered ridiculous by today's standards, the ancient law is still in force.
Doyley's defence counsel went to great lengths and used eye witness accounts and forensic tests to prove beyond a doubt that Mr. Anwyl was indeed Welsh and had been killed by a bow and arrow after midnight and was within an area that would have been within the ancient city's walls.
Though Doyley freely admitted that he had intended to shoot Mr. Anwyl with the murder weapon, the judge stated that: "It would be most prejudicial to continue with a case for manslaughter, as to implement one piece of legislation while ignoring another, however archaic, would not be a good precedent to set within the British Justice System."
Just as the judge was instructing the clerk of the court to dismiss the case, the prosecution stunned the court by announcing they had come into possession of some eleventh hour medical evidence that could turn the whole case around.
According to a more thorough review of the medical data, David Anwyl was not purely Welsh, but had a small amount of Scottish blood in his veins. When presented with the technical details of exactly how much blood was Scots, the already frustrated judge demanded to hear in simple terms how much of the overall body this blood would have taken up. The medical witness on the stand hesitated and then answered, "I should say about as much as there is in a human foot, your honour."
It was at this point that the jury were dismissed and a heated debate began at the bar. The dismissal of the jury was in fact coincidental and unconnected with the new evidence; the judge was heard by one journalist to mutter, "bunch of halfwits," but quickly scolded the clerk and demanded this be scrubbed from the record.
The bar itself was called O'Flannagan's and was situated just across the road from the Court Building.
The defence moved to quickly reject the medical evidence, stating that a bit of Scotch thrown into the cocktail in no way diminished Mr. Anwyl's obvious Welsh ethnicity, but the prosecution countered that, even if Doyley had been completely lawful in killing the rest of the Welshman, he was guilty of murdering the Scottish bit, albeit the equivalent of a foot.
The judge listened carefully to the arguments and then said, "After much sober reflection, I have reached a verdict." This statement alone, due to the mere mention of 'sober' in O'Flannagans received a barrage of objections from both sides.
The judge decided that the only fair option was that Doyley should be found guilty of murdering a foot and so ordered that one of his feet be imprisoned.
Doyley was then fitted with a large wooden box over his left foot, similar in size to a shoebox, and then clumped away down the street, an otherwise free man.