Page:Australian aborigines 1838.djvu/26
PAPERS RELATIVE TO THE
in No. 3. violent death in consequence of any collision with officers of the Government, or persons under their command, his Excellency requested the advice of the Council as to the best way in which such an inquiry could be instituted, for ascertaining the circumstances under which the recent loss of human life mentioned by Major Nunn had occurred.
The Council, after mature deliberation on the important subject submitted to them by his Excellency, are unanimously of opinion, that the fittest tribunal for the investigation into this, and all similar cases, will be a court composed of the police magistrate and bench of justices, in the district where any loss of life may have occurred; or of the nearest, or most convenient district, in the event of the occurrences having taken place beyond the boundaries of location.
His Excellency next requested the advice of the Council as to whether the investigation should take place before the police magistrate, and such justices as might in the ordinary routine of business attend, or whether it would be desirable to summon other police magistrates to assist in the inquiry, or to take measures to secure the attendance of any specified number of justices; and further, whether any law-officer of the Crown, or person on the part of the Attorney-general, should be appointed to assist the court in the investigation.
The Council having deliberated on the questions proposed to the, are unanimously of opinion, that a police magistrate and an ordinary bench of justices are perfectly corpetent to the duty of making such inquiries as are proposed, without the assistance of any extra magistrates; and as hitherto, upon inquests on the death of white persons, by violence or accident, the attendance of.members of the legal profession has not been usual, nor deemed requisite; the Council do not see that their attendance is necessary or advisable upon such inquiries as are now proposed.
These questions having reference to the occurrences reported by Major Nunn being thus disposed of, his Excellency drew the attention of the Council to the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons, which he had laid on the table, and particularly to the suggestions contained in pages 82, 83, and 84, of that Report; and requested to be informed whether, in the opinion of the Council, it might not be desirable to appoint protectors of the aboriginal natives, and to combine their duties with those of the commissioners of Crown lands; and whether it would be expedient to constitute them coroners or magistrates; and in the event of any such measure being judged advisable, whether a public notice, founded on Lord Glenelg's despatch, and announcing the:measures to be adopted, ought not to be published for general information in the colony.
The Council concurred with his Excellency in the expediency of declaring the commissioners of Crown lands to be protectors of the aboriginal blacks, and of charging them with the duty of making an inquiry into the circumstances under which in any case, either of a white or of a black man, the loss of life may have occurred, t beyond the present boundaries of location; but recommend deferring until further information on the subject is obtained consideration of the question whether the commissioners should be appointed coroners or magistrates.
The Council also concur with his Excellency in thinking that it will be advisable to publish, with as little delay as possible, a notice of the nature proposed by his Excellency.
(A true extract.)
Clerk of Councils.
— No. 4 —
Sir George Gipps
to Lord Glenelg,
27 April 1838.
Copy of a DESPATCH from Governor Sir George Gipps to Lord Glenelg.
My Lord, Government House, Sydney, 27 April 1838.
In my despatch, No. 67, of the 25th instant, I detailed to your Lordship the measures which I thought it right to adopt in consequence of a recent collision between a party of the mounted police and a tribe of the native blacks, and I have now the honour to acquaint you, that I have further deemed it necessary, with the advice of my Executive Council, to issue a Government notice, declaring that in all cases where any of the aboriginal inhabitants of this territory shall lose their lives in consequence of a quarrel or collision with white men, an inquest or inquiry shall be held, precisely similar to that which is held in the located parts of the territory when a white man comes to a violent or sudden death; and also declaring that the commissioners of Crown lands, beyond the boundaries of location, shall act as protectors of aborigines.
Minute of Council
———— Your Lordship will perceive by the copy which I enclose of the proposed notice, and which will appear in the Gazette of Wednesday next, that it is founded partly on your Lordship's despatch of the 26th July 1857, No. 353, and partly on the suggestions thrown out in the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons, on the treatment of the aborigines in British settlements, which Sat in the last session of Parliament.