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.