The Imperial Majesty vs. Lady Sophia Albina, Countess of Nova Albion
|26–27 June 2021
|HIM Emperor Jonathan I
|Lord Ashley Jaax, Baron of Kingeston
|Lady Sophia Albina, Countess of Nova Albion
|Defendant found guilty of treason
|Indefinite exile at the discretion of the Monarch.
The Imperial Majesty vs. Lady Sophia Albina, Countess of Nova Albion was a judicial trial that took place in the Empire of Austenasia in June 2021, only the third in the history of that nation. The case was heard by the Imperial Court, and was begun after Lady Sophia Albina, an Austenasian former governor, was charged with treason for encouraging New Virginia to declare Austenasia an "enemy" and claim two of its territories.
The trial itself - which took place over Discord - was a heated affair, with Albina failing to present a coherent defence and mostly insulting the other members of the court. She was found guilty, was banished indefinitely by the Court, and had her Austenasian nationality and titles revoked by Parliament.
In June 2019, Sophia Albina approached Emperor Jonathan I of Austenasia with a request to join the Empire alongside a claim of uninhabited land. Campo Del Sol - part of her garden - was accordingly annexed on 29 June, with Albina granted non-residential Austenasian subjectship and appointed its Governor. She served as Governor until her resignation from the position on 29 July 2020, although she remained an Austenasian national, and administration of the territory passed to her father, James Braidwood. In February 2020, the majority of the Austenasian Duchy of New Virginia amicably seceded to form an independent Commonwealth, which entered into an alliance with Austenasia. Albina also joined this new nation, and became a member of its legislature.
In late June 2021, the Austenasian government was made aware that Albina was using her position in the New Virginian legislature to make inflammatory statements regarding the Empire, including false accusations against Austenasia as a whole and Emperor Jonathan I specifically. She also proposed legislation by which New Virginia would declare the Empire an "enemy" and "threat", and unilaterally claim not only Campo Del Sol, but also Fraternitas, another Austenasian Territory. Senior New Virginian politicians downplayed Albina's actions and rhetoric as that of a radical, unrepresentative of the New Virginian government. However, Albina then spammed a Discord server hosted by the Austenasian government with images comparing herself to the Carolinians.
This resulted in a bill being introduced in Parliament to strip Albina of her nationality and titles and to dissolve Campo Del Sol, preventing it from being used as "leverage" against the Empire. However, objections were raised given that action was being taken despite Albina not having been tried for her actions, especially given the bill's preamble described her as a "traitor". Due to encouraging another country to seize Austenasian land and actively working against Austenasia's national security and international standing, treason charges were formally brought against Albina on 26 June 2021 by Lord Ashley Jaax, Baron of Kingeston, who agreed to serve as prosecutor.
Lady Albina was charged with contravening Paragraph 6 of the Treason Act 2015, namely "Encouraging the invasion of Austenasia by a foreign power... inciting violent insurrection against the constitutional government of the Empire... [and] Committing an action with the intention of damaging the national security of the Empire." Albina was not charged with individual counts of treason, but her actions were rather argued to constitute such by going against the provisions of Paragraph 6 as a whole.
After a jury was confirmed by the Monarch and Prime Minister, the trial begun, with those taking part added to a chatroom on Discord in which to conduct it. As ex officio judge of the Imperial Court, Jonathan I began the trial by informing Albina of the charges made against her, and inviting her to either defend herself against them or to appoint somebody to do so on her behalf.
Albina made no attempt to make a sound legal argument in her own defence, responding instead with various unrelated or nonsensical accusations and insults against Austenasia, the jurors, and MicroWiki administrators. Albina was given a second opportunity to present a defence, but responded with profanity.
Lord Jaax was then given an opportunity to present evidence in support of the charges made. He first provided the court with the bill presented by Albina to the New Virginian Parliament, which called on the Commonwealth to declare the Empire an "enemy" and "threat" and to unilaterally claim the aforementioned territories. Second, he quoted a speech made by Albina in the same venue in which she insulted Austenasia and made fanciful accusations against both the Empire and Emperor. Third, he provided images with which Albina spammed various Discord servers in which she not only called for said territories to be "liberated", but compared herself to the Carolinians, a rebel group that rejected parliamentary control over the line of succession and unsuccessfully fought against the Austenasian government in the 2010 civil war. Jaax argued that his evidence cumulatively provided proof that Albina had encouraged a foreign power to seize Austenasian land and attempted to damage Austenasian national security.
Albina responded to the presentation of evidence by insulting the members of the court, starting an argument with Lord Jaax and one of the jurors. The Emperor restored the court to order and gave Albina a further third opportunity to provide a legal defence, instead responding with a call for an unspecified "new Emperor" for Austenasia. The court was then adjourned while the jury deliberated.
Sentencing and aftermath
The jury presented a verdict of guilty the following morning. The Consuls agreed on a sentence of indefinite exile, with Albina forbidden to enter Austenasia until the Throne sees fit to allow it.
With Albina having been given a chance to defend her actions, the bill previously proposed in Parliament was passed, dissolving Campo Del Sol and stripping her of her Austenasian national status and titles.