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Colonial Cases

Ionian jurisdiction

The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria), 5 August 1858

Some difficulties have arisen about the jurisdiction of the Supreme Consular Court at Constantinople over Ionian subjects.  It appears that Ionians, although enjoying the full benefit of British protection, are not subject in the same way to the Consular jurisdiction as other subjects of the Empire.  They are supposed to be responsible only to their own native authorities.  In order to smooth this difficulty the Ionian Parliament has as it were, delegated the power of judging Ionians to the British Consulates, and conferred on them the power of sentencing them, but only up to one years' imprisonment.  For all offences deserving more severe punishment Ionians are to be sent to their islands, and jugged there. Now, as you will remember, the Order in Council establishing the Supreme Consular Court extends the power of the latter to transportation for life, and to imprisonment, with or without forced labour, for a period not exceeding two years.  The specials position of the Ionians seems to have been overlooked, and no provision was made in connection with the Ionian Government and Parliament to apply this extension of the power of the Consular Courts to Ionian subjects.

   Nor was this oversight perceived until very lately, in the case of an Ionian who is in gaol for a daring burglary which deserves the application of a greater penalty than that granted by the Ionian Parliament to the British Consular Courts in the Levant.  In this perplexity, application has been made to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for a decision, which with the co-operation of the Ionian authorities, can be easily come to, for it is but fair that, if Ionians are to enjoy all the privileges and protection granted to other British subjects, they should likewise be put in all other respects on the same footing. [Continues with a criticism of the Constantinople Court buildings.]

Empire (Sydney), 25 August 1859


(From The Times).

The 12 Ionian prisoners brought down from Sulna in February last by her Majesty's ship Wanderer were on the 28th ult. tried by the Minister of Police and the Judge of her Majesty's Supreme Consular Court.  They were all convicted of having been more or less active in a riot at Sulina, and were sentenced to terms of imprisonment varying from two years to two months.  Deli Constantinindi, the ringleader, is also sentenced to banishment at the expiration of his two years' sentence.  The fray in question appears to have been a general fight between the Greeks and the Ionian inhabitants of the town.  Three Greeks and two Ionians were killed, and a number of both parties wounded.  Pistols and knives were the weapons used.


Otago Witness (NZ), 21 May 1864


[From the Times' Correspondent.]

Constantinople, Feb. 11.

The cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece will necessarily occasion some important modifications in the Consular Service in the Levant, and especially in the Consulate-General and the Supreme Consular Court at Constantinople.   ...




Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School