Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pardon for "Breaker" Morant?

It is reported that the Attorney General of Australia has at last sent a petition to the Queen of England, requesting a posthumous pardon for Lieutenant Harry "Breaker" Morant. Morant was charged with murder and executed by firing squad in 1902, during the Boer War. Says one Commander Unkles:
“The passing of time and the fact that Morant, Handcock and Witton are deceased does not diminish the errors and these injustices must be addressed. The issue is not whether Morant and Handcock shot Boer prisoners, which they admitted to, but whether they were properly represented and military law properly and evenly applied.”
Morant, who actually volunteered to fight for Britain, was charged along with two others when his unit killed 12 prisoners of war and a German witness. The Australians admitted to the shooting, but there were substantial questions regarding the nature of their orders and standard practice. In addition, they were provided no representation until the day before trial and were not allowed to communicate with the Australian government throughout the procedings. One author says, however, that Morant and his co-defendants should not be honored for committing Rule 303 "war crimes." See story here.

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