Surreal law facts
The truth is always stranger than fiction.
50 year sentence for a whistle
Seldon was followed by the strange case of the 22-year old Marie-Augustin, Marquis de Pélier of Brittany who whistled at Marie-Antoinette as she took her seat in a Paris theatre, circa 1786. Again, a lettre de cachet and Marie-Augustin found himself on the inside of a French prison, with his property forfeited to the French Crown.
Marie-Antoinette and the signatory of the lettre de cachet, Louis XVI has both been beheaded and the French Revolution came and went and still the Marquis de Pélier languished in jail, forgotten.
In 1814, he was ordered released but as Napoleon made his break for a second tour as emperor, the Marquis was again forgotten. Finally, in 1834, at the age of 72, after 50 years in prison, he was released. As a belated act of decency, his property in Brittany was restored to him.
From dungeon to law-maker in minutes
The beginnings of the future Byzantine Emperor Michael II were inauspicious but while he was a nobody, he had the fortune of befriending a man who became Leo V. Once Leo ascended to the throne, he and Michael had a falling-out and Michael was sentenced to death. He was chained and jailed while awaiting his execution, set for just after Christmas 820. And thus occurred the events which thrust Michael onto the throne of the Byzantine Empire.
On Christmas Day, 820, Michael was rescued by his allies but they were unable to completely remove the chains from his wrists and ankles. But Michael's mob found Leo at the altar of the great church Haiga Sophia (still stands in present-day Istanbul), after first killing his guards. Leo V fought valiantly but soon succumbed and Michael was quickly proclaimed emperor, styled Michael II, with his prison chains still dangling.
Sir John Robertson (1816-1891) was five times premier of New South Wales, Australia, from 1860 to 1886. He lived in Watson's Bay, a seven-mile horseback ride he took every morning and night, back and forth from the seat of the NSW legislative assembly in Sydney.
But this lawmaker was, well, different. He loved his rum and visitors to the legislative assembly noted the strong smell of liquor. Of him was said that his "voice (was) the loudest, his language the most violent and his attitudes the most distorted."
Everyday, before embarking on this long ride, Premier Robertson would buy three pints of rum at the King Street Tea Rooms in Sydney. One, he would drink on the spot. The other he would give to his horse, and the third he would pour into his tall riding boots to prevent rheumatism.