HC Deb 26 July 1883 vol 282 cc527-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, with reference to the publication in the last New Guinea Papers of a letter of Sir C. Lilley to the "Times," stating that, whereas formerly the evidence of blacks was not receivable in courts of justice in Queensland, it was made receivable in all courts five or six years ago, Whether there is any truth in a subsequent statement made by an apparently competent authority in the "Times," to the effect that under the present law the evidence of blacks is not admissible of right in the Queensland courts, but only if the presiding judge or magistrate thinks the individual fit to give evidence, and that many cases between Europeans and coloured men are decided by unpaid magistrates and others, who are very likely to hold, and do often hold, blacks to be unfit, as the old law declared them to be?


Sir, I have had a search made, but have not succeeded in finding the Statute referred to by Sir C. Lilley in his letter, and, he being out of town, I have not been able to consult him; but, in this conflict of statement, until we can make inquiries, I prefer to rest on what is said by the Chief Justice of Queensland, in the letter referred to, on a matter of which He must have full and special knowledge.