Why was Charles I not pressed by peine forte et dure to force him to plead to treason in front of the High Court of Justice for the trial of King Charles I?
Under English common law, peine forte et dure was an ancient punishment compelling an accused to enter a plea. Refusal to do so could stop the court from proceeding. An accused might not enter a plea to avoid having his property (inheritance) forfeited upon conviction. In order that the court could proceed, the court will try to compel an accused to do so on pain of peine forte et dure, i.e. the accused was weighed down with stones pressing on their body until the torture forced a plea or they died. Source: Parliamentary Debates (1828)
Charles I was aware of this. Additionally, aristocrats accused of crimes other than treason used the refusal to plea to die before conviction, such that their property could be passed on. Brittanica and other sources claim that standing mute on treason was considered a guilty plea, but without explanation.
Additionally, the innovation of trying a king with a newly created court indicated the capacity for innovative law in the majority faction of the rump of the commons. This means that regardless of the common law on treason pleas (which without explanation is difficult to ascertain whether it would have applied to Charles), that innovation could have occurred.
George Smith Green (1752) Oliver Cromwell an historical play seems to be under a similar delusion to me, in that he proposes that the King be pressed in his action. Richard Lee Bradshaw (2010) God’s Battleaxe: The Life of Lord President John Bradshawe 205-6 makes the claim that this is incorrect as treason accusations took standing mute as guilty. Again, without explanation of the emergence of this reading of standing mute. Nor does it address the innovative law making of the rump / commission / High Court.
Why was Charles I not pressed to plea or death?