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British Sikh on trial for threatening late Queen apologises to King Charles

Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, who claimed he wanted to “assassinate” the late monarch as revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar

Jaswant Singh Chail

By: Pramod Thomas

A British Sikh crossbow-armed intruder who has admitted to committing treason after telling royal guards at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day 2021 that he was there to kill Queen Elizabeth II has apologised to King Charles III and the royal family, a UK court heard on Friday (15).

Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, who claimed he wanted to “assassinate” the late monarch as revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, according to a social media video that emerged soon after his arrest, has written a letter to express his “distress and sadness”.

Justice Nicholas Hilliard has been hearing evidence in the case at the Old Bailey court in London, where he will hand down the sentence early next month.

“He has apologised to the royal family and His Majesty King Charles. He is embarrassed and ashamed he brought such horrific and worrying times to their front door,” Chail’s barrister Nadia Chbat told the court.

According to court reports from the hearing this week, Chail’s “strong family unit” includes his father, a software consultant working in aerospace; his mother, a special needs teacher; and his twin sister, a university student.

Chail was said to be suffering from mental health issues, and the threat to the late Queen was instigated by an artificial intelligence “girlfriend” named Sarai and inspired by his ‘Star Wars’ fascination.

The prosecution, meanwhile, described it as a serious crime and is seeking the maximum sentence. Chail appeared in court by video link from the high-security psychiatric hospital Broadmoor in Berkshire.

Friday’s hearing follows evidence from psychiatrists about Chail’s mental state as the judge considers whether he should be imprisoned, detained under the UK mental health act or face a mix of the two.

Earlier, the 21-year-old had pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 2 of the Treason Act, 1842; an offence of threats to kill contrary to Section 16 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; and an offence of possession of an offensive weapon contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953.

“He had made a video of himself stating his desire to harm the late Queen, which he sent to a group of contacts shortly before he was arrested. Further enquiries into Chail uncovered further evidence of his planning and motives. Evidence recovered by officers showed that he harboured ill-feeling towards the British empire for its past treatment of Indian people,” a Met Police statement noted.

The Queen, who died in September last year, was in her private apartments at Windsor Castle at the time of Chail’s intrusion on the morning of December 25, 2021. Two officers saw the intruder within the grounds of the Castle, and one approached him.

He was wearing black clothing and a handmade metal mask and said to the officers he was there to kill Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Chail was carrying a crossbow loaded with a bolt, and the officers drew their Taser gun and arrested him.

The social media video that emerged later showed a masked man identifying himself as Indian Sikh Jaswant Singh Chail and saying he wanted to “assassinate” the Queen as revenge for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919.

Under the 1842 Treason Act, it is an offence to assault the British Sovereign or have a firearm or offensive weapon in their presence with intent to injure or alarm them or to cause a breach of peace.

(PTI)

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