Blodläge by Johan Theorin

By Johan Theorin

"Blodläge är den tredje fristående spänningsromanen av Johan Theorin. Liksom föregångarna Skumtimmen och Nattfåk är det en berättelse om konflikter mellan gammalt och nytt, mellan öbor och fastlänningar, mellan traditioner och turism, och om hur nästan bortglömd folktro bryter in i det moderna samhället."

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But in 1835, when Governor Stirling and Advocate-General Moore decided that Mackail could not go free just because Aboriginal evidence would be inadmissible before a jury, they also recognized the reality of Indigenous jurisdiction. When they authorized the young interpreter Francis Armstrong to negotiate with those Aboriginal groups a settlement that would satisfy Indigenous expectations of justice, they did more than acknowledge the serious threat of continuing violence. The settlement reached was one that embraced Indigenous expectations of compensation.

Changing attitudes towards violence against women in the cultures from which the settlers came may well have played their part in this intervention. 2 Although women continued to be subject to the death penalty for the remainder of its time as a judicial sentence, the corporal punishment of women had been abolished in Britain in 1820, some years before the establishment of the colony at Swan River (Radzinowicz and Hood, 1990; Wiener, 2004). When George Shenton and his colleagues sought to rescue Yatoobung and detain at least one of her assailants, their act of chivalry was also an expression of a culture that was wrestling with itself over the status of women in violent encounters in the public or private realm (Glenn, 1984; Atkinson, 1997; Hunt, 2008).

That displacement was never wholly satisfactory to colonial administration, for reasons that Moore had singled out in giving advice on the punishment of Helia – of policy, humanity and justice. So law itself was changed in the very effort of displacement of another’s law. We will see further that anxiety about the standing of Indigenous subjects before the law persisted beyond the colonial decades into the conditions of a self-consciously modern Australia.

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