Aboriginal People of Brisbane Water District and the Courts

Aboriginal People of Brisbane Water District and the Courts. While early colonial governors are instructed to conciliate and protect the natives, Aborigines held an unclear position before the courts. On the one hand they were entitled to the protections of the legal system, and on the other, because they did not believe in the Christian God, they could not take the oath and give evidence. Courts in which Aborigines from Brisbane Water District appeared had trouble deciding whether they should be treated as subjects of the Crown or foreign enemies who could be hunted in punitive raids and shot. By 1835, Judge Burton in the Supreme Court had identified impediments to equal and indiscriminative justice for Aboriginal people like Monkey. (Burton, Notes of Criminal Cases, 1835; Blair, 2003, 34). Aborigines of Brisbane Water District could not give testimony, not press charges, juries were exclusively white, and mostly unsympathetic – even prejudicial -- towards them.