Object #1021695 from MS-Papers-0032-0016
From: Miscellaneous native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0016 (29 digitised items). Includes a letter in Maori regarding the sale of land in the Manawatu
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A native, commonly known as Kai Keroro, of the Ngatitama tribe, and intimately connected with some of the Puketapu tribe, shot a native named Parata, in Port Nicholson, about six years ago, for adultery. The act of shooting this man was witnessed by both natives and Europeans; and depositions were taken, but from that time until the last few days, Kai Keroro has kept out of the way.
About a week since, he was captured in Wellington, and committed for trial, on a charge of murder, the trial coming on, on the 1st. September.
A good deal of excitement exists amongst the natives, in consequence of Kai Keroro's apprehension; and they say that it is now so long since the murder was committed, and that at the time they knew so little of our laws and customs, and scarcely recognised them at all that the case ought not to be dealt with under them, especially as the Act was strictly in accordance with
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their laws and customs.
Both the friends of the prisoner, and the friends of the man who was shot, agree in opinion on that point.
The naswer to the arguments of the natives is - first - that no lapse of time makes any difference in the degree of guilt attaching to the crime; and that therefore whenever a person who has committed one, however long a time may have elapsrd since he is taken, he must be brought to trial. Secondly - that the law is supreme in its operation in criminal cases, such as that Kai Keroro is chsrged with, and cannot be stayed, or interfered with by anyone, until its due course is run, and the prisoner either found guilty, or acquitted. Thirdly - that although a long lapse of time, since an offence was committed, makes no difference in the heniousness of that crime, and does not lead to a mitigation of punishment; yet the other circumstances urged by the natives, viz:- their knowing little of, and scarcely recognising our
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laws, so long ago as six years, do make a great difference, and will be taken into consideration, and doubtless carry great weight with the jury, who will have to try the case, and with the Governor afterwards, should the prisoner be brought in guilty. The natives, therefore, must not think that the Europeans regard Kai Keroro's act in the same light as they would a similar one, if such were to be committed now, with the full knowledge they have of our habits and laws.
But rather let them have confidence in the just and impartial administration of our laws; and believe that in dealing with the matter, all the circumstances of the case will be fully taken into consideration, and every weight given to the mitigating circumstances.
7th. August 1849.
Miscellaneous native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0016 (29 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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