The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 1889 THE CHEMIS CASE.
By the exercise of the Governor's prerogative the sentence of the condemned man Chemis has been commuted to imprisonment for life. The only logical conclusion which can bo come to on this decision is that the executive concluded that Chemis actually committed the murder, and that tho offence was not of a nature to call for the infliction of the capital penalty. How these conclusions have been arrived at may never be known, bnt their utter inconsistency has led to the case being brought before Parliament, and it is probable that tho production of the affidavits and other documents l&id before his Excellency will ba demanded. Discussion of tho matter m the House was stopped, as the reprieve was technically the action of the Crown, and tlierek.ro could not be discussed. From the Premier's remarks the Ministry fell the terrible responsibility cast upon them by having to review the case; aud seeing the helplessness which they have dis played m dealing with other matters it is no wonder that such a case as this proved beyond their judicial capacity, The question before the Executive was simply whether the evidence adduced at the trial justified tho sentence. Of the degree of the crime there could be no tffo opinions. The murder, by whomsoever committed, was as deliberately planned and coldblooded and brutal m perpetration as ha 9 ever been recorded, and if ever there was a case m which the murderer merited the extreme sentence of the law it was that of tho Kaiwarra murder. Jt is cvidect that the fresh evidence which Mr Jellicoe has been able to adduce has been of comparatively little weight, or the conviction must have been quashed ami Chemis released. Tho Ministry have characteristically taken refuge m a weak compromise, which has neither justice, logic nor common so.nse to support it.
One gleam of reason seems to have struck the Ministry during their deliberations on tbe case — probably it was a suggestion of his Excellency— namely, that it is desir able that a Court of Crimiual Appoal should be established. There can be no doubt of the undesirablonesa of the pre sent system, under which appeals m such oasflß as this aro dealt with by the Ministry of the day, and the sooner some cnangii is made the better lor the dignity and efficiency of the law. it needs no Committee, such as Sir H. Atkinson speaks of setting up, to establish this fact ; and we trust that legislation may be invoked at the earliest possible period to establish a state of affairs more m accordance with the times.