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Colonial Cases

Re Elliott, 1932

[insulting language]

Re Elliott

Court of Appeal, Palestine
Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 6 November 1932





   The sequel to the incident in the Court of Appeal on Friday, October 28th, when Mr. Elliott, the Government Advocate, made a certain allegation about Jews, was heard at a special sitting of the Court this Friday morning.  Members of the Jewish Bar Association, which had submitted a strong protest to the Government, were invited to attend.

   Mr. Elliott rose in Court and addressed the Bench as follows:-

"I desire to thank Your Honours for according me the earliest opportunity of saying how grieved I am that certain wards and expressions of mine in a recent appeal hurt the susceptibilities of the Jewish Community in Palestine.

   In so far  as I stated to this Court that the fact that a man was a Jew was an element in the crime of arson I wish to disassociate  myself from such a proposition, which has no sanction in law or in fact.

   The statement itself was made unwittingly and inadvertently, and I wish to withdraw unreservedly that statement here and now.

Reproof from the Bench.

   Mr. Justice Frumkin then said:

"I have no doubt that it was not the intention of the learned Advocate to hurt the feelings of any Jew in particular, or of Jews in general yet I feel I must say one word more on the unprecedented way adopted by the Government Advocate in bringing home to the accused their religion and nationality (not in the political sense) as one of the elements bearing weight upon their guilt.  This was highly improper both as regards the accused and still more as regards the people to which they belong. The least I can do is to place on record my immense surprise and my grave  annoyance of the fact that a reorientation of such a serious nature could have been made in open Court by the representative of the Crown before the highest Tribunal of Palestine."

Chief Justice's remarks

His Honour the Chief Justice then made the following observations:

"Mr. Advocate,

I am glad to have been able to give you an opportunity of making the statement which I consider it was very proper that you should make.@

(Reference is made to the whole matter in our "Jerusalem Diary" on the back page.)

[... It was our considered opinion that a mistake could be wiped out in one way and one way only; Mr. Elliott should be transferred from Palestine.  To this view, we still adhere.]

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