If the man does not appear for the fifth court he

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“If the man does not appear for the fifth court he will be regarded as an outlaw, since he obeys neither the prince nor the law, and will thenceforth be outlawed...”(Jones 15) Kaufman gives a similar explanation when describing the trial of William Grunne, a man accused of robbery, “He is to appear at five successive court sittings to answer the charges against him. If he does not make an appearance within the time allowed, he will be placed outside the law and denied its protection and all his civil rights.” (Kaufman 28). If someone was willing to ignore the call of law then they were not entitled to its protections. In medieval times going outside the law to enforce the law was not seen as contradictory. Of course this process of outlawry based on a failure to appear before the court is far from ideal. The accused was given five hearings so that they could not claim that travel or illness had prevented them from attending at least one court date(Jones 25). Failure to arrive
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automatically put you into the category of people flagrantly defying the laws and resulted in outlawing. To this point Jones says,“Such avoidance, argues Bracton, is an act of disobedience and contempt and should be punished with outlawry just as contempt of the church is punished with excommunication(Jones 23)” Avoiding your court dates also carried with it the implication that you were in fact guilty. In the eyes of people of the middles ages if you were innocent then you had no reason to flee because the law would set things right. However, medieval courts were far from incorruptible or infallible. In many cases the accused may simply realize that there is no way that they can obtain a fair trial, and rather then wait for an unjust sentence they simply opt to flee instead. Failure to present oneself at an appointed court date was far from the only way to be declared an outlaw in the middle ages. Robbers were among the most feared outlaws in medieval society, because unlike thieves who waited for an opportunity to abscond with goods unnoticed, robbers took what they desired through force and violence.”Robbers were impatient thieves and did not wait for goods to be left unguarded. They set up ambushes for their for their victims.
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