Settler Justice and Aboriginal Homicide in Late Colonial Australia

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Title Settler Justice and Aboriginal Homicide in Late Colonial Australia
Author Finnane, Mark
Journal Name Australian Historical Studies
Editor Richard Broome Diane Kirkby
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Australia
Publisher Routledge
Abstract This article examines the hidden history of criminal justice in late colonial Australia by focussing on Aboriginal inter-se offending. Most Aboriginal defendants appearing in late colonial criminal courts were prosecuted for violent crimes against other Aboriginal people. The article explores how common such cases were and the degree to which the acknowledgment of cultural difference affected justice process and outcomes. The frequent invocation of ‘custom’ commonly led juries to recommend the mercy of the Crown to those Aboriginal defendants found guilty of committing a homicide. I argue that ‘custom’ was increasingly used by settler judicial processes as a shorthand way of explaining what was otherwise seen as unexplainable. In the twentieth century ‘custom’ would receive greater attention through the development of jurisprudence and policy around the idea of customary law.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI
Copyright Statement Copyright 2011 Routledge. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Volume 42
Issue Number 2
Page from 244
Page to 259
ISSN 1031-461X
Date Accessioned 2011-09-12
Language en_US
Research Centre ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History; Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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