Daniel Maclise (1806-1870) created an artistic impression of what William Wallace may have faced during his "trial" in August of 1305. The painting is known as “The Trial of William Wallace at Westminster.”


So it was that the great legal reformer, King Edward I, conducted a show trial on August 23, 1305. It wasn't really a trial, though, as we shall soon see.

As he was taken to Westminster Hall, Wallace was led through the streets of London where people jeered and pelted him with rotten food. He was charged with treason, among other things. When he arrived at Westminster Hall, a crown of laurel was placed on his head. Wasn't he, after all, trying to wear the Scottish crown? Didn't he once say that he'd wear a crown at Westminster?

Since the English considered Wallace to be an "outlaw," he was treated outside the boundaries of the law. He had no lawyer. He was not even allowed to speak on his own behalf.  Peter Mallorie (Mallory), Justiciar of England at the time, merely read the indictments against Wallace.

The outcome of the trial (a guilty verdict) and the punishment (death) was assured long before Wallace was captured.

The great law-giver of The Middle Ages, Edward I, who created the system of barristers still in use today, did not allow a barrister to speak for Wallace. Trial was a mockery of justice. Only once did Wallace speak, when he shouted out at Sir Peter Mallorie who formally accused Wallace of treason:

I can not be a traitor, for I owe him [Edward I] no allegiance. He is not my Sovereign; he never received my homage; and whilst life is in this persecuted body, he shall never receive it.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Jun 18, 2019

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"A TRIAL WITHOUT JUSTICE" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2001. Jan 20, 2020.
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