Government Is as Government Does

by Mike on February 26, 2010

in Stupid government

Nine-year old Kate Harding of Worcestershire, UK was probably excited after digging in her backyard garden back in 1996.  Sure it wasn’t worth much, but it isn’t everyday a little girl finds a 700 year old “coin” depicting the 1322 ascension of King Charles IV to the French throne.  Not a bad haul for that kind of childhood “dig for buried treasure.”  Fourteen years later, twenty-three year old Kate Harding is paying a price for her childhood memento.  That’s because she was prosecuted and convicted under the Treasure Act of 1996 for failing to report her find to the local coroner within 14 days.

Technically Harding violated a law, but that does not prevent prosecutors from exercising a little bit of prosecutorial discretion.  The Treasure Act was passed to prevent people from scouring other peoples’ property with metal detectors and taking truly valuable items without there consent or knowledge.  Here, a young woman had to endure the stress associated with the possibility of jail time because she didn’t tell her nanny state about a little coin she found while digging in her garden as a little girl.

I can’t really say I’m surprised that something like this could happen anywhere.  Government is as government does.

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