Firstly, thank you for adding to this forum and web site. I hope I can make stimulating contributions to the history of the Boer War and Australia's involvement.
I am an experienced barrister and solicitor, having worked as a Police and Crown prosecutor and as a military lawyer. I have served in the RAN for about 40 years as a legal officer I first became involved in the case of Harry Morant this case in 2009.
I researched the history of Major James Francis Thomas, the Australian lawyer who defended Lieutenants Morant, Handcock and Witton on charges of killing Boer prisoners during the Boer War.
I published a book about Thomas; Ready, Aim, Fire - Major James Francis Thomas - The Fourth Victim in the Execution of Harry 'Breaker' Morant[
In my research, I discovered that Lieutenants Morant, Peter Handcock and Witton were not tried in accordance with military law of 1902 and suffered great injustice as a result. The convictions were unsafe and the sentences illegal as appeal was denied. I decided that a review process had to be initiated. The case had never been reviewed and despite extensive literature on the Boer war and the life of Morant, no one had ever examined the details of the trials, questioned the legitimacy of the evidence produced and the conduct of the trials.
In October 2009, I forwarded two petitions for review, one to the Australian House of Representatives Petitions Committee and the other to the Queen. I followed the petitions by lobbying Australian politicians and writing letters to the British government. I appeared before the House of Representatives Petitions Committee on 15 March 2010 that described the grounds for review as ‘strong and compelling’.
On 12 February 2018, a motion was passed in the Australian House of Representatives that acknowledged the injustice and provided apologies to the descendants of these men. I am determined to secure an inquiry independent of Australian and British governments so the descendants of these men and Major J.F Thomas can rest knowing the matter has been reviewed aside from political agendas.
My web site is:
I am available to discuss and look forward sharing opinions about this matter.
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, QSAMIKE, azyeoman, Moranthorse1, Felix C
I have your book as part of my extensive BVC/PLH library. Surprised Alfred Taylor has not received more research as it appears he was a ruthless man and behind the culture of shooting unarmed persons pre-dating Morant.
Thanks Felix, the legal.opinion of Col James St Clair, Judge Advocate who reviewed the investigation of the incidents involving Morant, Handcock and Witton made significant findings that British officers in particular Taylor gave orders not to take prisoners. This finding alone was a damning indictment of Taylor's ruthless behaviour in supporting his commander, Lord Kitchener. Taylor was treated lienently to suppress liability of Kitchener who should have been tried for conspiracy to murder. I will post an article tomorrow.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Moranthorse1
Thanks for the response.
I will attach some documents that reveal the compelling case for review independent, free of political bias and agendas to protect the interests of the British Government in protecting the reputation of the British Army, its conduct in a military invasion of the Boer Republics, its attempt to win an unwinnable war and the atrocities perpetuated by Commander Lord Kitchener. I have written extensively on this case and made parallels with the wars in the Middles East in the present day.
Regardless of those who claim Morant and Handcock got what they deserved, the evidence is compelling, Morant Handcock and Witton were not tried and sentenced in accordance with the requirements of Military Law of 1899 and were made scapegoats for a agenda to secure a peace treaty to end a war that was brutal, unpopular with the British public at the time and seek favor from the Boer Command.
Orders to take no prisoners were issued in accordance with the principle of reprisal, they were obeyed by these men and British regulars, yet 3 Australian irregulars were sacrificed to appease Boer Command.
The case for independent review is compelling, supported by notable legal counsel and community leaders, yet resistance continues, but the descendants of these men seek a fair hearing.
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