The Prosecution Project
Professor Mark Finnane was the opening speaker on Saturday morning. He spoke about the Prosecution Project where he is part of a group digitising and unlocking criminal records. Eventually they plan to make the records publicly available. This material will be of value to historians researching Australia.
He gave us examples of significant and interesting pieces that they have been working on. In 1842 a Perth man, convicted of manslaughter of an aboriginal child, was fined 1 shilling. Clearly obscene and an indication if the views of the day. While manslaughter was not acceptable so he was found guilty and fined however the punishment was inappropriate.
The person being prosecuted, lawyers, witnesses, judges, magistrates names and more are part of the records being indexed. For family historians, access to the criminal justice history records will become important as any material that adds more context to our ancestors and relatives lives will be a great resource to family historians.
If you are interested in this project more details, including the projects scope and sources information, can be found online at the Prosecution Project website. You can become part of the data entry community and too.
Speaker: Mark Finnane
ARC Laureate Fellow
Professor, School of Humanities
Extracted from his bio from the Griffith University website
Mark Finnane is ARC Laureate Fellow at Griffith University and Professor of History in the School of Humanities. Currently he directs the Prosecution Project, hosted in the Griffith Criminology Institute. He is a former Dean of Humanities and Dean of Graduate Studies at Griffith. He was Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS) in 2009, and a Chief Investigator in CEPS (2007-13). A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities (elected 2001), and of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (2013).