The trials of eight individuals accused of being involved in throwing an egg at Empress Athena II of Opthelia have concluded, with sentences being announced. The incident occurred nine days ago during the Imperial Procession following the Lùnastal Festival feast in Craobhaig. Seven out of eight individuals have been found guilty, and each will serve some time in prison – alongside additional punishments.
Dugald Blackwood, the egg-thrower himself, has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison, to be served at Eagallach Prison: the most notorious prison in Glanainn. This is in addition to his other punishment, which will be a public flogging: the first to take place in Glanainn since 1964. This will take place next week in Craobhaig. While it will not be officially broadcast, there will be no restrictions on bringing recording or broadcasting devices for attendees.
The court was shown CCTV footage of Blackwood alongside his six accomplices at a stall providing free farm products to attendees of the harvest festival, shortly before the incident occurred. In the footage, Blackwood is clearly seen holding up a single egg in full view of the others, before pocketing it and moving towards the location of the Imperial Procession. Two accomplices are also seen nodding in the footage.
His six accomplices are to be fined £1,000 each in addition to serving five years in prison, also at Eagallach. One of those arrested, however, was found not guilty after CCTV footage proved she was in the queue for the portable toilets, separated from the group, at the moment when Blackwood acquired an egg, encouraged by the other six.
At the moment sentencing was read out, all members of the group showed visible shock and alarm. One of the accomplices, Kieran Roddick, had to be removed from the courtroom after an outburst in which he called the judge an “Opthelia-loving scumbag traitor to [his] people”. Roddick has since been issued with a separate contempt of court charge, which will be tried separately in the coming months. Blackwood also had to be removed from the courtroom after throwing up following the reading of his sentence.
Not all were happy with the sentencing, however, with members of the Glannain Opthelian Royalist Society lamenting the lack of a death sentence for what the group considers an act of “high treason”. Indeed, the sentences are more lenient than one might expect from a direct attack on the Empress herself. While the use of public flogging may raise some eyebrows in the twenty-first century, the fact that Mr Blackwood will not remain in prison for the rest of his life is seen as very unexpected.
Members of Blackwood’s dissident group in Deasaig have been taken in for interrogation; however many of his associates were quick to disavow Blackwood’s actions in the hours following the incident. One former member of Blackwood’s group posted a selfie on social media posing with an Opthelian flag, stating that she was leaving the so-called “Glannish independence movement” over the affair.
The Glannish National Police have stated that members of any political groups Blackwood is known to be a member of will be questioned, urging members of such groups to report to their local police station of their own volition to give evidence. All those who do not will be arrested in order to be questioned about their association with Blackwood. Additional police units will also be posted to Deasaig indefinitely.