66 Jurist 483 (2006)
The Politics of Sodomy and Legal Process R v. Pons Hugh de Ampurias (1311)

handle is hein.journals/juristcu66 and id is 495 raw text is: THE JURIST 66 (2006) 483-491

THE POLITICS OF SODOMY AND LEGAL PROCESS
R V. PONS HUGH DE AMPURIAS (1311)t
MICHAEL MILGATE*
A number of years ago, the then Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister,
Anwar Ibrahim, was charged and convicted on what many saw as politi-
cally motivated trumped up charges of sodomy to remove him from the
political arena. 1 This may seem to have been something new in the polit-
ical landscape. However such is hardly the case. This article looks at a
Spanish case from 1311 where James II used similar actions to solve a
political situation and to acquire by force the estate of the Count of
Ampurias.
Among the litigation records in the Archives of the Crown of Aragon
in Barcelona is a small file containing a dozen paper folios in fragile con-
dition.2 The records in this file consist of the testimony in a criminal pro-
ceeding brought by King James II of Aragon (1291-1327) against Count
Pons Hugh IV of Ampurias (1277-1313) on a charge of sodomy. This
paper will examine both the law and what little is known of the facts of
this case, which was far from the routine criminal prosecution on a
morals charge that it might seem to have been at first glance.
The opening document in the file sets forth the prosecution's theory of
the case and the rationale on which the charge was alleged to be based:
Friday, the sixth of August, in the year of the Lord 1311 in the
city of Barcelona. Since through [common] fame and [general]
knowledge certain matters have come to the attention of Us,
James, by the grace of God King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia,
t The author and this paper do not make any judgment or express any views about
sodomy or homosexuality. This paper is focused on abuses of legal process for political
personal gain by the use of false charges against a person's opponent or adversary.
* Adjunct Professor of Law, University of New England, Strawberry Hills, Australia
Anwar Ibrahim was first arrested on September 20, 1998 under the Internal Securi-
ty Act (ISA). The crime was organizing a protest demonstration against the oppression,
corruption, cronyism, and nepotism that is so rampant in Malaysian society. Realizing that
the charge would not be upheld, and due to the unpopularity of the ISA even amongst the
ruling elite, the crime was changed to sodomy by the prosecutors in the case.
2 Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Arag6n Cancilleria reay, procesos, serie II lega-
jo 5, proceso 24 (olim Gerona, Sant Feliu 210; hereafter ACA). The documents are fairly
well preserved, although the upper right portion of all the folios has been badly worm-
eaten and in some cases completely destroyed.

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