|Guy Aldred in 1912|
Aldred was born in London on 5th November 1886 - hence his name (after Guy Fawkes). He was raised by his mother and grandfather, both of whom were involved in radical political movements. In his early life he was involved in various forms of radical Christian movements, but from 1906 onwards became involved with Anarchist and socialist groups, regularly writing for their newspapers and speaking at public meetings. His first prosecution for sedition came in 1909 when he took over the publication of a journal called the Indian Sociologist.
This was an Indian nationalist newspaper published in London. The editor, Shyamji Krishnavarma, fled to Paris in 1907, fearing persecution for the beliefs published in the paper, but the paper continued to be printed in England. The first printer, Arthur Horsley, was prosecuted for sedition, but in spite of a warning from the Lord Chief Justice (Alverstone) in this trial that further prosecutions would follow if the paper continued to be published, the printing was then taken over by Aldred, who also contrbuted to the paper. His prosecution followed in 1909. What was particularly notable about this was that the prosecution focused on a particularly striking passage in the paper in which Aldred compared political assassination and judicial execution. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 months hard labour.
It appears that Aldred had two further encounter with Scots criminal law, as he was prosecuted twice in 1924. The first was for obstructing a public highway, while holding a public meeting. Aldred sought to argue that there was a right to hold public meetings, but the Court held that this public right was subject to the limitation that it not obstruct the public highway. The second was for holding an illegal public meeting on Glasgow Green. Here Aldred's attempt to argue that the bye-laws regulating such meetings were ultra vires was met with little success.
He spent the rest of life in Glasgow, speaking at meetings, publishing and offering legal advice to working people. He died on Thursday 17th October 1963.