Druid Gets Her Blade Back

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 3, 2006 — 3 Comments

Back in July I reported on a case concerning Arch Druidess Debbie King, of the Insular Order of Druids, who had her ritual blade confiscated and was arrested after she left it in a bundle with security at the courthouse.

“When she went to collect the bag later she was kept waiting for an hour before two police officers arrived and arrested her. Miss King, 44, said she had the Druid kit with her as she was due to carry out a television interview later in the day, and didn’t know if she would have time to return home and collect her belongings after supporting a family member in court. Miss King, of Furze Lane, Milton, Portsmouth, said: ‘It would have the same status as a crucifix to Christians. It represents truth, honour, justice and protection. ‘I was told if I signed a disclaimer and gave up the athame I would just be given a caution, but I had to stand my ground. ‘If it was just for me I wouldn’t mind so much, but it’s for all the other pagans who carry a knife – this could create a precedent.'”Portsmouth Today, 29 June 2006

Now it is being reported that the blade has been returned to her, and no charges against her will be filed.

“Cate Sussex, area communications manager for the CPS, said: ‘We took into account the reasons put forward by Miss King for possessing the item on that day and had to consider whether a court might find her explanation credible. ‘We concluded that there was not a realistic prospect of conviction against Miss King on this occasion and accordingly advised the police that no further action should be taken.’ Miss King had taken the knife to court while she was accompanying a family member and reported it straight away to security staff.”

This case could set a precedent for the legal transport of ritual blades to and from events in the UK. Currently, laws regarding blades are very strict, and the provisions made for religious reasons have usually only applied to the Sikh population. But cases like this could re-interpret the law to include Wiccans, Druids, and other faiths that utilize a ritual blade.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Luna

    I’m glad this woman has had the charges dropped, but I have to say something that might not be popular. What was she doing walking around with a ritual blade in the first place? You can’t bring a knife into a courthouse, period. If she was in such a hurry, as described in the post, then she should have kept the thing in the car. An athame is not like a cross — no one mistakes a cross for a weapon. If there is something I’m missing, I’m all ears, but I think she sounds like someone eager to create controversy.

  • Jason

    According to her story, she never brought it into the court house. She instead checked it along with her ritual garb at the door. When she left and tried to reclaim the items, they wanted to permanently confiscate the blade, hence the arrest when she refused.

  • Lolair

    The laws are pretty much the same in Canada, Sikhs are allowed to carry ritual knives, but not Pagans. I’m a cook and cook friends of mine have gotten in trouble for carrying their knife kits in their cars. A police officer told one of my friends she had to put her knives in the trunk when transporting them. I used to carry mine on the bus all the time! I’ve seen a few people in the SCA get away with carrying swords on the buses. There is actually an old law in Victoria, BC that a man can carry a sheathed sword around in public as long as he is escorting a lady. An SCAer told me that, good to know the loop holes….