Court Martial of Breaker Morant - Attack On Pietersburg

Attack On Pietersburg

While the trial was underway, Boer commandos launched a surprise attack on Pietersburg. Morant and his co-accused were released from their cells and given arms in order to participate in the defence. It is reported that they fought bravely, in the direct line of fire, and assisted in the defeat of the attackers. Although Major Thomas filed a "plea of condonation", which should have earned them clemency because of their roles in the defence, his request was dismissed by the court.

The principle of condonation in military law is traced back to the "Memorandum on Corporal Punishment" issued by the Duke of Wellington on 4 March 1832:

"The performance of a duty of honour or of trust, after the knowledge of an offence committed by a soldier, ought to convey a pardon for the offence.

According to Clode's Military Forces of the Crown (1869):

"The principle of condonation for criminal offences is peculiar to the Military Code, and is of comparatively modern origin . Sir Walter Raleigh served the Crown under a special Commission, giving him Supreme Command, with the power of life and death over others, but he was afterwards executed upon his former conviction — the doctrine then laid down being "that the King might use the service of any of his subjects in what employment he pleased, and it should not be any dispensation for former offences". The rule is not so now, as applied to Military offences. "The performance of a duty of honour or of trust, after the knowledge of an offence committed, ought," said the late Duke of Wellington, "to convey a pardon for the offence"…

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Famous quotes containing the word attack:

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    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)