Dismissed! No sweet revenge against Biblical king


A Spanish court has thrown out a woman’s attempt to prosecute one of the Bible’s three wise men for minor assault, arguing that given the time lapse since the birth of Jesus, it was impossible to establish conclusively the nationality of King Balthasar.

The woman, from Huelva, Andalusia, was struck in the eye last year during the traditional sweet-throwing that accompanies Christmas parades in the region. Spanish media reported that she then filed the complaint in June 2010 in Huelva’s court.

It was not clear why she sued a historical figure rather than parade organisers, but the judge presiding over the case – which names “King Balthasar” as the official suspect – said in his summing-up that all three kings are outside his jurisdiction as they are foreigners from an unspecified country.

“While it is well-known that he is of Oriental origin, the debate over which country King Balthasar comes from has now lasted more than 2,000 years,” the somewhat tongue-in-cheek dismissal points out.

Traditionally the present-givers, the three kings take part in noisy, carnival-like processions through Spanish towns and cities on 5 January, when tons of boiled sweets are flung at the public. Parents often take umbrellas to catch the sweets for their children – but also for protection against the deluge of hard-edged goodies.