Michael Zeleny (larvatus) wrote,
Michael Zeleny

the leaky vessels of state

The best reason not to have sex in public is to avoid exposure to well-meaning second-guessers. Thus the late Robert Hughes ably illustrated the stupidity of judicial censure of sexual deviance:
Why so few [sodomy] convictions? Ernest Augustus Slade, who had been superintendent of the convict barracks at Hyde Park in Sydney from 1833 to 1834 (his resignation was forced by sexual scandal, though over a woman), testified that “among [the lower] class of convicts sodomy is as common as any other crime.” It was an ineradicable part of jail culture. But only about one case in thirty could be proven. Molested youths lodged complaints but then prevaricated in court; and other evidence tended to be vague, since “shirtlifters” were rarely caught in the act of buggery. “If you had it proved” Slade told the Molesworth Committee in 1838, “that men were found with their breeches down in secluded spots, and they stated that they had gone there to ease themselves, and upon examination it was found that they had not done so, what could have occurred?” But no jury would convict on such grounds. Out in the bush, the dreaded act became more obscure still, as there was nobody to watch the assigned convicts. Bishop Ullathorne believed that sodomy was less frequent among the shepherds, who tended to live alone, than among stockmen, “a much more dissolute set” who practiced “a great deal of that crime” and even taught it to the formerly innocent Aborigines. And if the Man from Snowy River’s convict forebear was not content with the brusque embraces of Jacky-Jacky, there were always sheep. “As a juryman,” one witness told the committee, ”I have had opportunities of hearing many trials for unnatural offences, with animals particularly. … I think they are much more common than in any other country inhabited by the English.” “That is, among the convicts?” interjected one committee member. “Yes,” said the witness, dispelling the thought of the colonial gentry practicing abominations on their own merinos.
—Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding, Vintage Books, 1988, p. 267
Would that the indicters of WikiLeaking condoms took heed of rapidly dwindling chances of securing a jury conviction of Julian Assange.
Tags: law, lawyers, politics, sex, sodomy

Posts from This Journal “sodomy” Tag

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