About The Program
Presented by historian Michael Cathcart, Australia On Trial is a thought-provoking three-part series, recreating three historic trials that throw light on the Australia of colonial times.
Based on actual court reports, the series provides a unique take on how Australia's national identity has evolved - and how the moral, social and political questions raised by these three trials still resonate in the present day.
Each episode covers a separate trial. The trials featured are The Mount Rennie Rape Trial (1886), The Eureka 13 Trial (1855), and the Myall Creek Massacre Trial (1838).
Each case caused a sensation at the time and attracted enormous public interest. Each triggered unprecedented social and political debate about subjects at the very heart of Australian society: democracy and justice, the identity and behaviour of Australia's men, and attitudes towards women and Indigenous people.
It's 1886 and in Darlinghurst Courthouse nine young men glare down from the dock as an apprehensive but determined young woman is called to the witness box. This is 16-year-old orphan Mary Jane Hicks, and these 'larrikins' stand accused of serially raping and possibly torturing her in a crime that has obsessed Sydney since the story broke.
Miss Hicks, a stranger to Sydney, was looking for work when a cab driver stopped and offered to take her to the registry office. The driver then took her to Waterloo where he tried to assault her. When she screamed, some youths - whom she believed to be her rescuers - came to the cab. This gang, members of a group known as the 'Waterloo Push', then led her to nearby bushland on Mount Rennie (now Moore Park) and repeatedly raped her.
Presided over by Justice Windeyer, the trial attracts unprecedented press coverage. As it plays out, colonies all over Australia erupt into a whirl of passionate debate and fevered accusation. Mary Jane Hicks is either a strumpet or an innocent girl; the young men are savages or they are virile Australian-born men; the judge is incompetent or his verdict will stamp out the plague of sexual violence once and for all.
Here is a link to episode 1 of 3.
Brother falah this might interest you due to your historical background in the Australian context.
Thread: Australia On Trial
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06-Apr-2012 10:27 PM
07-Apr-2012 01:35 AM
I just watched episode 1 and I recommend it to others. It gives a good insight of the court procedures - particularly the cross examination of witnesses.
Please take notice of the start contrast in the sentencing over 100 years ago compared to modern day. Rape of a woman was a big thing back then, but it's become a common occurrence today, to the extent that we have mostly become desensitized to the gravity of the crime. If the legal system does not receive a much needed overhaul immediately, it will only get worse by the day.
I'm looking forward to the next 2 episodes.
07-Apr-2012 09:42 AM
InshAllah I'll watch it on iView, seems really interesting.Religion is all about moral character; therefore, whoever beats you in character beats you in religion."
O people who take pleasure in a life that will vanish, falling in love with a faded shadow is sheer stupidity!
- Ibn Qaiyim rahimuhAllaah
09-Apr-2012 03:19 AM
Not really interested in the first case, but the second and third are ones which I will try not to miss.Singapore: oppresses Muslims, bans athaan, bans hijab in schools, prevents building of madrassahs or muslim schools, puts limit on the percentage of Muslims allowed in each apartment building, and bans Muslims from joining Singapore's elite military forces. Singapore; Israel's best buddy!