THE NATIVE FOOTBALL TEAM
TO THB EDITOR. Sir,—lt seems to me that in the investigation of tho rumor regarding the conduct while in Queensland of some of the Native football team the Otago Rugby Union are taking a very high hand, and adopting a procedure that is not in accordance with precedent or common sense. The affair, if it occurred at all, took place in Queensland. To my mind, therefore, tho Queensland Union and tho management of tho team are tho only bodies who ought to investigate the matter, and punish or acquit as they may think fit, and other unions should act according to their decision. Now, sir, Queensland have considered the nutter and decided to allow it to drop, while the management of the team, although at first inclined to suspend, are willing now that the men should play. What right have tho Rugby Union to decide? It in effect says the people of Brisbane havo not investigated this matter sufficiently. We must took into it a little further. What would it have, I should like to know. The Union in Brisbane have shown by their action that the matter did not call for further investigation, and we, who know nothing about the affair, say we beg leavo to think otherwise? If this sort of thing goes on where is it to end ? The Canterbury Union may not b9 satitfjed with either tho Brisbane or our Union's investigation, and demand farther inquiry. Wellington and Auckland may ttUo l>a curious, and attempt to find cut something suspicious. Tho manner of the investigation also appears to mo to bo altogother improper. Neither the management of tho team nor the members of it most concerned have, as far as I know, made any complaint about this. But, I believe, that this is because they trust to the difficulty that the Committee will have in making something out of nothing. They don't, however, seem to appreciate tho probability of the prosecution conjuring up something which they can tako as proof of guilt. When a person is accused of a crime, he hj asked if ho is guilty or not guilty. If the reply is "Not guilty," the prosecution proceeds to prove, if it can, the guilt of the accused, leaving it to the accused to prove his innocence if a case is made out against him. Here the men are iu>ked to prove that they are not guilty before anything at all is evidenced against them. They are, in effect, asked to prove a negative—an impossibility. In English law accused are never made witnesses against themselves except in cases of voluntary confession. Here tho men have been separately crosE-examined wl lih. Again, none of the men have been allowed to hear tho evidence of the others, so that no opportunity is given to them of explaining apparent inconsistencies and apparent contradictions. Further, there has been no one present to hear and elicit facts in their own favor. From their unconcerned demeanor before and after their examination, I take it the men are conscious that their innoctnee will be sufficient bulwark against any investigation, however conducted.
I may say that I am not at all interested in the Native team, except as players, and that I have never spoken a word at any time to those implicated ; but I simply wish to point out that any decision of the Union will be intrinsically worthless.—l am, etc , Justice. Dunedin, August 9.
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THE NATIVE FOOTBALL TEAM, Evening Star, Issue 7981, 9 August 1889
THE NATIVE FOOTBALL TEAM Evening Star, Issue 7981, 9 August 1889
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