Boer War

‘Pardon bid’ for Boer war soldier

More than a century on, campaigners are to launch a legal bid at the High Court in London to force the Government to open an inquiry into the case with a view to securing a posthumous pardon.

The obvious question to ask is simply ‘Why?’ Earlier this week it was Alan Turing’s turn, and we’re now searching even further back in history (some 111 years ago) to ask whether a soldier should be pardoned for his apparent war crimes.

It’s clear that false convictions are abhorrent. But as Carl Cardner so eloquently argued in the matter of Turing earlier in the week:

The stain is not on him but [...] on the law, on our system of justice, and on those who made it what it was – including not just the police and judges but Parliament itself.

We should focus on the terrific injustices we see in our own time and word towards preventing them in the future, before we turn our attention to the past. We do all those who languish in our jail and with the stigma of a criminal conviction a disservice if we don’t.