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‘A Gang of Judicial Assassins’: George Bateson and Colonial Sodomy Laws

INTIMACY, VIOLENCE AND ACTIVISM: GAY AND LESBIAN PERSPECTIVES ON AUSTRALIAN HISTORY AND SOCIETY, Graham Willett and Yorick Smaal, eds., Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2013

12 Pages Posted: 25 Dec 2013  

John Waugh

Melbourne Law School

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

One night in November 1860, Melbourne police burst into the room where George Bateson, a 42-year-old Englishman, was in bed with a young man. Bateson was arrested and later convicted of sodomy. In prison, he poured out his outrage in a long series of letters in which he claimed to be the innocent victim of a conspiracy.

This paper puts Bateson’s case in its legal context by outlining the laws that applied to sex between men in colonial Australia, and considers two highly unusual aspects of the case: the police entrapment of Bateson, and the cache of letters in which he gives his version of the events leading to his conviction.

Keywords: Australia, homosexuality, legal history

Suggested Citation

Waugh, John, ‘A Gang of Judicial Assassins’: George Bateson and Colonial Sodomy Laws (2013). INTIMACY, VIOLENCE AND ACTIVISM: GAY AND LESBIAN PERSPECTIVES ON AUSTRALIAN HISTORY AND SOCIETY, Graham Willett and Yorick Smaal, eds., Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2371450

John Waugh (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/staff/John%20Waugh

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