Posts Tagged ‘jack ketch’

CATCH 22 – JAMES FREEMAN

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

 James Freeman – ‘Hang or be Hanged’. 

 

Part of the original document pardoning a convict if he acts as executioner

Extract showing a pardon on condition of becoming the public executioner. Dated 1 March 1788, signed by Governor Arthur Phillip.

‘For here was an opportunity of establishing a Jack Ketch who Should, in all future Executions, either Hang or be Hanged’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal.

 1788 – 29 February, Sydney Cove: Friday 29th February shaped as another busy day for the infant colony’s criminal court.

It was decided, after the long drawn-out dramas of the previous two (2) days, as well as to avoid Sydney’s intense midday sun and drenching humidity, court would convene earlier than usual. See: Blind Man’s Bluff

At 8 am convicts James Freeman and William Shearman, accused the previous day of stealing from government stores, appeared in the dock before a tribunal of six (6) military officers.

This judicial arrangement fed a deeply corrosive relationship already existing between the naval Governor Arthur Phillip RN and Marine Major Robert Ross commander of the Sydney Garrison. See: Rules of Engagement

Freeman and Shearman were found guilty as charged and sentenced to die later that same day 29 February 1788.

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