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dc.contributor.authorFinnane, Mark
dc.description.abstractThe Prosecution Project1 had its beginnings in a paper on an obscure murder case. Not one of Australia’s famous trials, it deserves to be better known. In 2009 I was doing archival work in the State Records Office of Western Australia, looking for materials related to the nineteenth-century criminal prosecution of Aboriginal defendants for crimes committed against other Aborigines. This was not where I had started, in an inquiry into responses to violence in Australian history. The Australian historical literature on violence involving Indigenous people is almost entirely preoccupied with the national shame, the story of the violence done to the original inhabitants of the country during dispossession. This is a story whose narrative has been recounted in numerous histories and fictions, in a variety of media and for diverse places across the Australian continent and its islands. But what struck me in the early years of my research on Australian homicide was not just the relative absence of inter-racial killings resulting in criminal trials but also the relative frequency of colonial prosecution of Aborigines for killing other Aboriginal people. This was and remains an uncomfortable topic, but one that turned out to have some important ramifications for our understanding of what it meant to say that Australia had been settled under British law. In a study of the long history of contests over criminal jurisdiction in Australia Heather Douglas and I concluded that the practice of criminal law, found in the evidence of prosecution, judgment and sentencing, was always more pluralist than the presumption of a single criminal law had imagined.2
dc.relation.ispartofjournalHumanities Australia
dc.subject.fieldofresearchAustralian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
dc.subject.fieldofresearchLaw and Society
dc.titleThe Prosecution Project: investigating the criminal trial in Australian history
dc.typeJournal article
dc.type.descriptionC1 - Articles
dcterms.bibliographicCitationFinnane, M, The Prosecution Project: investigating the criminal trial in Australian history, Humanities Australia, 2016, 7, pp. 35-45
gro.hasfulltextNo Full Text
gro.griffith.authorFinnane, Mark J.

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