The Times Report

The following is a copy of the report of the trials of the BVC officers on page 6 of The Times, 17 April, 1902. No corrections have been made to any misspellings and every effort has been made to avoid any transcription errors.

Reuter’s correspondent at Durban writes under date March 22:-
At Pietersburg on January 17 the trial by general Court-martial of Lieutenants H.H. Morant, P.J. Hancock, Picton, and Wilton, all of the Bushveld Carbineers, was begun. The Court was composed of Lieutenant-Colonel Denny (president) and five other officers. Major Copland was Judge Advocate, and Captain Burns-Begg, Public Prosecutor.

The prisoners were charged with the murder of a wounded Boer prisoner named Visser. They pleaded “Not Guilty”, and were defended by Major Thomas, New South Wales Mounted Rifles.

The prosecution called Sergeant S. Robertson, who stated that he remembered the fight at Devil’s Kloof, when Captain Hunt and Sergeant Hunt were killed. Captain Hunt’s body was found to have been stripped. He took the bodies back to Reuter’s farm, where the party was reinforced by Lieutenants Morant, Hancock, Picton and Wilton.

Next morning they went in pursuit of the Boers, overtook them, and captured their laager, finding one wounded Boer there. Next day the Boer accompanied the force some distance. During the dinner hour the accused held a conversation in which the Boer prisoner, who was in a Cape cart six yards away, appeared to take no part. Morant and an Intelligence officer named Ladybore went to Visser (the Boer prisoner) telling him that they were sorry, but he had been found guilty of being in possession of the late Captain Hunt’s clothing, and also of wearing khaki.  The witness did not catch what further was said, but was told to warn two men for duty. He refused, asking Picton by whose orders this man was to be shot. Lieutenant Picton replied that the orders were by Lord Kitchener, naming a certain date, and were to the effect that all Boers wearing khaki from that date were to be shot. The witness said he had never seen any such orders, which should have been posted or read regimentally.

Cross-examined, he said that Captain Hunt’s body bore marks of ill-treatment. The prisoner had a kind of khaki jacket on. Captain Hunt had previously told the witness that he had direct orders that no prisoners were to be taken. On one occasion Captain Hunt abused him for bringing in three prisoners against orders. The outrage on the train when Best was killed had embittered the men very much. Morant had previously been considerate to prisoners. He was in charge of the firing party that executed Visser.

Trooper Botha corroborated the previous witness, and said he was one of the firing party who carried out the sentence on Visser, who was carried down to a river and shot. The witness had previously lived with Visser on the same farm. He objected to forming one of the firing party.

Corporal Sharpe gave corroborative evidence, and said that after the firing party had fired Picton discharged his revolver apparently at the dead man’s head.

L. Ledeboer deposed that on August 10 last year he translated the sentence of a Court-martial that condemned Visser to be shot. Morant, Picton, Hancock, and Wilton formed the Court-martial.

The prisoners elected to give evidence on their own behalf.

Morant stated that he was under Captain Hunt with the force charged with clearing the northern district of Boers. It was regular guerilla warfare. Captain Hunt acted on orders he brought from Pretoria. On one occasion he brought in 30 prisoners, when Captain Hunt reprimanded him for bringing them in at all, and told him not to do it again. The witness took command after Captain Hunt was killed and went with reinforcements. When he learnt the circumstances of Captain Hunt’s death, and the way he had been maltreated, he followed the Boers and attacked their laager. The Boers cleared, leaving Visser, who had on a soldier’s shirt, and was using Captain Hunt’s trousers as a pillow. He was court-martialled and shot on this account. The others knew of Captain Hunt’s orders. Morant told them he had previously disregarded them, but after the way the Boers had treated Captain Hunt, he would carry out the orders which he regarded as lawful.

Cross-examined, the prisoner said that Captain Hunt’s orders were to clear Spelonken and take no prisoners. He had never seen these orders in writing. Captain Hunt quoted the action of Kitchener’s and Strathcona’s Horse as precedents. The prisoner had not previously carried out the orders because his captures were “a good lot.” He had shot no prisoners prior to Visser. No witnesses were called, as they were all eye-witnesses. Picton raised an objection to Visser being shot, on the ground that he should have been shot the night before. Captain Hunt told the witness not to take prisoners. He never questioned their validity.

The prisoner was asked whether he knew who gave the orders, but the Judge-Advocate protested against the question, and was upheld by the Court after consultation.

On the resumption of the trial next day, however, the Court allowed the question, and the prisoner Morant stated that Colonel Hamilton, Military Secretary, was the one who had given Captain Hunt the orders that no prisoners were to be taken. Others, including Hancock, received these orders from Captain Hunt. The Court-martial was reported to Colonel Hall within a fortnight after it was held. A report was also sent to Captain Taylor. The prisoner had only Captain Hunt’s word for it that Colonel Hamilton had given these orders. He had made no attempt to get his report of the Court-martial as evidence.

Picton, another of the accused, deposed  that he had previously done two years’ service in this war, and gained a D.C.M. under Le Gallais. After the capture of Visser, Morant said he was perfectly justified in shooting him. The prisoner said it would be hard lines to shoot him, and asked Morant to call the other officers together. A meeting was held, and it was decided to shoot Visser. Picton corroborated the statement that he had also received orders from Captain Hunt not to take prisoners. He never questioned the orders, and had been reprimanded by Hunt for bringing in prisoners. Captain Hunt was very bitter about the death of a friend of his, a lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders, who had been killed in a train wrecked by Boers. The prisoner reported the execution of Visser to Major Lenehan verbally immediately after, and then to Colonel Hall. Morant and Hunt had been old friends, and after Hunt’s death Morant was inclined to be more severe on the enemy. He had never previously shot a prisoner or seen one shot. Visser was not informed of the nature of the trial that was taking place. Prisoner opposed the shooting of Visser at the Court-martial. He had never obeyed the orders to take no prisoners, because he did not like the idea. He was in command of the firing party, and merely obeyed orders. On the whole Visser would be aware of the charge against him, as the prisoner had previously told him of the seriousness of his position. Hunt never had any chance to carry out his own orders about taking no prisoners.

Major Neatson, staff officer to Colonel Hall, Officer Commanding Lines of Communications, deposed that he had received certain reports from Captain Taylor with regard to engagements with Boers, but remembered nothing about a summary of a Court-martial.

P.J. Hancock, another of the prisoners, deposed that he had attended the trial of Visser at Morant’s request. He corroborated the previous evidence as to the reasons for executing Visser and the orders not to take prisoners.

Prisoner Wilton gave corroborative evidence, and said he was present at a conversation with a Mr. Reuter, from which he gathered that Hunt had been murdered. Reuter said Hunt’s neck was broken, and his eyes gouged out. The prisoner was guided by his superior officers in regard to the finding of the Court-martial. He believed Visser knew that he was being tried, but he was given no opportunity to speak or make a defence.

F. L. Reuter, missionary in charge of the German Berlin Mission station, deposed that Captain Hunt’s and Sergeant Eland’s bodies were brought to his place. Hunt’s body was much mutilated. The neck appeared to have been broken, and the face bore marks of boot nails.

Civil Surgeon Johnston testified that he heard Hunt reprimand Morant for bringing in prisoners. He was of opinion from the evidence that the injuries to Hunt’s body were caused before death.

Captain Taylor stated that he had received a message from the Boers through natives that if he were caught he would be given four days to die, which meant torture, because he had previously been hunting in the country. The Boers in that part of the country were more outlaws than part of a legal commando. He had heard Hunt reprimand Morant for bringing in prisoners. Morant had always behaved well to the Boers. He had transmitted a report of the expedition in which Hunt was killed, but did not know what was in it. Field Cornet Tom Kelly sent him a message saying that the first Englishman who came near his wagon would be shot.

Major Lenehan, in command of the Bushveld Carbineers, was next called. He said he had no direct control over the corps, which acted under headquarters at Pretoria. Captain Hunt took over the command from Robertson and got orders from the officer commanding the line of communication. From his knowledge of Morant he thought him incapable of murder or inciting thereto. Picton reported the shooting of Visser, and the witness reported it to Colonel Hall. He knew nothing of any order not to take prisoners.

Major Bolton denied any knowledge of a proclamation that Boers taken in khaki were to be shot.

Major Lenehan had never heard of orders that no prisoners were to be taken.

The evidence of Colonel Hamilton, taken in Pretoria, emphatically denied the issue of any order that no prisoners were to be taken.

On the 23rd the Court sat to hear the case against Major Lenehan. The charge against him was that, being on active service, he culpably neglected his duty by failing to report the shooting by men of his regiment, the Bushveld Carbineers, of one man and two boys, these being prisoners and unarmed.  The prisoner pleaded "Not Guilty."

Trooper Botha deposed that three Boers were being brought in by Captain Taylor's Police, and were shot at close quarters by five of his own corps. He reported what had been done to Morant in the presence of Lenehan.

Trooper Bonny testified to hearing the last witness make his report to Morant.

In his defence the accused denied having heard any such report made to Morant. He had heard Morant say to Taylor that he had had a scrap with the Boers and got three. The accused told them that he had come down to Spelonken expressly to make inquiries concerning rumours of the shooting of prisoners, and statements were taken. He had never had any reason to believe that these three Boers had not been killed in fair fight.

Lieutenant Edwards, who took down the evidence in connexion with the inquiry made by Lenehan, said that the report on the shooting of these three Boers was included in papers sent in on the subject.

Civil Surgeon Leonard deposed that Morant and Taylor were having an argument regarding the trustworthiness of the Boers, Morant maintaining the affirmative. He sent for Botha, who, in reply to questions by Morant, said he was a good soldier and had done his duty and shot Boers. There was no special mention of any particular Boers being shot.

The accused was further charged with having failed to report that a trooper of the Bushveld Carbineers had been shot by Lieutenant Hancock. He pleaded "Not Guilty."

Lieutenant Edwards deposed that he received a confidential letter from Captain Hunt, of which a copy was made, the original being forwarded to Pretoria. A postscript to the original had since been torn off. The postscript read:-“Will also write details of death of Van Burend; Hancock shot him.” The detachment in which Van Burend was was only nominally a detachment of the corps. No details of van Burend’s death were ever received. Lenehan sent word by witness that he would make a confidential report. It was Hancock who reported the death of van Burend.

Major Bolton gave evidence as to the searching of the prisoner’s kit and finding of the letter produced, minus the footnote.

Ex-Captain Robertson said he knew Van Burend, who was shot on July 4 last. The witness had been warned about van Burend as one who was not to be trusted and was suspected of thefts of whisky from an officer and of money from Kaffirs; and men refused to go on duty with him. He was always creating disturbances and abusing khakis. The witness, Taylor, arid Hancock had a talk over the man and it was decided he was to be shot. Hancock and four men went out on the left flank, and when it was finished the witness told Lenehan he was prepared to stand a Court-martial, as he had 30 prisoners, and Boers were near, and the man might give them the slip and give them away. The witness was superseded by Hunt. He made a report of this occurrence and of the shooting of six men to the accused. The report made to Lenehan of Van Burend's death was not a true one. He concealed the true facts in the interests of the corps. Taylor also knew the true facts. The witness also reported the true facts to Hunt. Lenehan had come down to inquire into the charges against the witness.

The prosecution was closed, and the defence claimed the discharge of the prisoner on the ground that it had not been shown who was the superior authority to whom the prisoner should have reported, and it was not shown, therefore, that a report had not been sent.

The Court decided that the case should proceed. The accused in his defence denied that Robertson had ever informed him of the manner of van Burend’s death. It never occurred to him that the postscript in Hunt’s letter indicated anything suspicious.

Captain Taylor denied that he was a party to the conversation when it was agreed that van Burend must be shot. Robertson mentioned casually that he would have to shoot him, but the witness never heard till afterwards that he was shot. The accused asked the witness if he knew anything about van Burend’s death. The witness replied “Not personally.” The accused said he would have to report the murder when he returned to Pietersburg.

Lieutenant Hancock denied that a meeting was held which decided on the shooting of van Burend. The witness carried out Robertson’s instructions in this matter, and Robertson ordered him to make a report, making it appear that van Burend had been shot in a brush with the Boers. The report which he prepared did not suit Robertson, who wrote one himself. The witness reported the true facts to Hunt, asking him to inform Lenehan. He told Robertson, who said he was a fool to have anything put in black and white. Robertson’s evidence was all a fabrication.

The counsel for the defence referred to the fact that the prisoner had already been under arrest for three months and protested against an officer’s being kept so long without trial. The prisoner was commander of the corps in name only. Robertson was the man who should have reported, and he had done so falsely. He and Taylor were the men who should have been prosecuted, but Robertson had been allowed to resign unconditionally.

The prosecution maintained that, Robertson having reported to the accused, the latter should have reported to his superior.

Lieutenants Morant, P.J. Hancock, and G. Wilton were then charged with having murdered, or instigated others to murder, eight men whose names were unknown. They pleaded “Not guilty.”

Major Bolton prosecuted.

L.H. Ledeboer deposed that about August 20 last he was in charge of a party who captured eight Boers. He handed the prisoners over to a patrol, and did not know what became of them.

Trooper Thompson stated that he and Troopers Duckett and Lucas were sent for by Morant, who asked them if they were friends of the late Frank Eland; if they knew the late Captain Hunt; and if they had seen Lord Kitchener’s proclamation to the effect that “those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” The Lord, he added, had delivered eight Boers into their hands, and they were going to shoot them. Lucas objected, but Morant said, “I have orders and must obey them, and you are making a mistake if you think you are going to run the show.” On the morning of the 23rd the witness saw a party with eight Boers. Morant gave orders, and the prisoners were taken off the road and shot, Hancock killing two with his revolver. Morant afterwards told the witness that they had to play into his hands, or else they would know what to expect. The witness said that the evidence which he had given at the Court of Inquiry was given under pressure and was untrue. He only knew about Hunt’s orders by hearsay. Wilton was present at the execution.

Sergeant-Major Hammett corroborated the evidence as to the shooting of the prisoners. Morant informed him on the previous evening that prisoners were being brought in and were to be shot. The witness asked Morant if he was sure he was not exceeding orders. Morant replied that he had hitherto disregarded them, and would do so no longer. The Boer prisoners were first asked to give information about Tom Kelly, and one of them made a rush at Wilton and caught him by the jacket, whereupon he was shot dead, and all the rest afterwards. Morant had always treated prisoners well till Hunt’s death, and then he became a different man altogether. Wilton shot the prisoner who seized hold of him.

Sergeant Wrench said it afterwards appeared that some objected to the shooting. Morant told him to find out who did not agree, and he would soon get rid of them, adding that he had been congratulated by headquarters over the last affair, and meant to go on with it.

The prosecution was then closed.

The counsel for the defence claimed the discharge of the prisoners on the ground that the charge was not proven, arguing that they should, if charged with anything, be charge with conspiracy.

The court overruled the objection.

The counsel for the defence then said he did not dispute the facts, but would call evidence to show – (1) the orders received; (2) the prevailing custom, having regard to the enemy they were fighting; (3) the practices adopted by other irregular corps against an enemy breaking the usages of war.

The prisoners having handed in their statements of defence, Civil Surgeon Johnson deposed to reprimands administered by Captain Hunt to men who brought in prisoners.

Lieutenant Hannam stated that when he was a trooper in the Queensland Mounted Infantry on one occasion at Bronkhorst Spruit in 1900 his squadron took some prisoners, and was reprimanded by Colonel Craddock for taking them.

Lieutenant B.F. Guy, R.S.O., handed in a statement as to trains wrecked on the Pietersburg line by Boers.

J.E. Tucker testified to Boers breaking into refugee camp and carrying off 141 of the inmates.

Other evidence showed that Captain Hunt gave distinct orders to sergeants not to take prisoners.

Sergeant Waller Ashton deposed to Brabant’s Horse receiving orders to take no prisoners in consequence of specific acts of treachery on the part of the Boers.

The Judge Advocate objected to such evidence as irrelevant.

Sergeant McArthur testified to seeing one Boer summarily shot for being caught in khaki.

Lieutenant Colin Philip said the Queensland Mounted Infantry were in disgrace on one occasion for bringing in prisoners caught sniping. Boers caught breaking the customs of war were shot summarily. Instructions were published in the orders in Colonel Garrett’s column that Boers caught in khaki were to be shot.

Captain King, of the Canadian Scouts, stated in evidence that Boers guilty of wearing British uniforms, train wrecking, or murdering soldiers were dealt with summarily.

Another witness deposed that Hunt’s and Eland’s bodies were found stripped and maltreated.

Sergeant Roberts said that on one occasion Hunt gave him orders to lead a false attack on a fort, during which some prisoners were to be shot. The witness objected, and the orders were not carried out.

Further testimony as to the good character of all the prisoners and their kindheartedness was given, and the case then closed.

The counsel for the defence pleaded justification, on the ground that the Boers in that district were gangs of train wreckers without a head, and their conduct had brought reprisals.

The prosecution submitted that the evidence was not denied. The eight men had been shot.

The Judge Advocate refused the plea of justification. The contention that other corps had done similarly did not make two wrongs right.

The court was cleared and on its reopening Major Lenehan was asked if he could give evidence regarding the character of the prisoners. He gave an excellent account of the pluck and good services of Morant, who was responsible for the capture of Tom Kelly. Hancock, he said, had an excellent record and was a simple-minded man with a strong sense of duty, obeying orders implicitly. Wilton was also a good soldier and officer.

Lieutenants Morant and Hancock were next charged with murder in instigating the killing of two Boers and one boy, names unknown. They again pleaded “Not guilty.”

Sergeant-Major Hammett deposed that he was one of the patrol which the prisoners accompanied in search of three Boers. It was reported that the Boers were discovered, and it was then agreed that when Morant asked, "Do you know Captain Hunt?" that was to be the signal for shooting them. This was done. The youngest Boer was about 17.

Other members of the patrol corroborated this evidence. The Boers, they stated, were discovered at a native kraal, were sent on, and at the signal shot. It was understood that no prisoners were to be taken.

For the defence, Morant deposed that he went out to look for the three Dutchmen. He found them, and never asked them to surrender. As they were Dutchmen with whom they  were at war and belonged to a party which had stripped and mutilated a brother officer, who was a friend of his, he had them shot.

Hancock gave evidence as to Hunt’s orders that no prisoners were to be taken. The Boers in that district were simply a scattered band of marauders.

The counsel for the defence urged that it must have been a matter of military knowledge that the Boers in this district made no pretence whatever of being under a leader or carrying on recognized warfare.

On February 7 the Military Court then sat to hear the charges against Alfred Taylor, who was accused of murder in inciting Sergeant-Major Morison, Sergeant Oldham, and others to kill and murder six men, names unknown. The prisoners pleaded “Not guilty.”

Sergeant-Major Morison, Bushveld Carbineers, deposed that on a certain day in July last he paraded his patrol and reported to Captain Robertson. The accused was present, and said he had intelligence that six Boers with two wagons were coming in to surrender, but that he would have no prisoners. The witness asked Captain Robertson if he should take orders from Taylor. Captain Robertson said, "Certainly, as he is commanding officer at Spelonken." Morison asked Taylor to repeat his order, which he did, saying that, if the Boers showed the white flag, the witness was not to see it. The witness repeated these orders to Sergeant Oldham, and warned six men and a corporal to accompany Oldham as an advance party. Six Boers were shot by the advance guard. These were the only ones met with that day. The patrol went on, and the following day a larger party of Boers with women and children was brought in, Taylor and Picton going to meet them.

Sergeant Oldham stated that the previous witness warned him of six Boers, and told him he was to make them fight, and on no account bring them in alive. The Boers were ambushed. There was a man in front of a wagon holding a white flag, and a great noise in the wagon. Oldham stopped the fire, thinking there might be women and children, but since he found only six men, as described in the orders, they were taken out and shot. He believed the flag was put up after the firing commenced. The Boers were armed, and their rifles loaded. A good many prisoners were afterwards taken and sent into Pietersburg. The witness addressed his report of the affair to Captain Taylor, by Morison's orders. Captain Robertson complained, and the report was readdressed to him. Neither Taylor nor Robertson was present at the shooting of the Boers.

Trooper Heath corroborated this. He said the Boers were disarmed, lined out on the road, and shot.

Ex-Captain Robertson corroborated and said that he had told Morison he must take his orders from the accused. Oldham reported, "All correct; they are all shot," and the witness saw the bodies.

Cross-examined, the witness admitted having had to resign and having been refused admission to any other corps. Morison reported that he was threatened with arrest. Morison demanded an inquiry, but broke his arrest and went to Pietersburg. Taylor asked for the patrol, as six armed Boers with two wagons were reported. Morison did not receive instructions from Taylor in the witness's presence. It was usual for patrols to get orders from Taylor

Major Lenehan deposed to receiving orders to supply 50 officers and men to proceed to Spelonken with Taylor.  An inquiry was held in regard to charges in which Robertson and Morison were mixed up. Colonel Hall decided that it was better that Morison should go. This closed the case for the prosecution

The accused elected to give evidence in his own defence. He said that during July last year he was in charge of natives and intelligence work. He was formerly a lieutenant in Plumer's Scouts and came down on special service. No part of his instructions authorized him not to take prisoners. He had no military command. His instructions went to the officer commanding the detachment of Bushveld Carbineers. Colonel Hall's instructions were that a detachment of 60 men were to assist him in the Zoutpansberg. He gave instructions to the officers, telling the number of men required for patrols if any Boers had to be fought or captured. He never interfered with non-commissioned officers but once, when Lieutenant Picton placed Morison under arrest, and the witness refused the latter permission to go to Pietersburg, although he nevertheless broke his arrest and went. The witness received intelligence of certain Boers coming in to surrender, but never of the party of six. He never gave Morison any orders, and knew nothing about the six Boers, nor had he asked for a patrol to meet them. That patrol took three days' rations with it. The patrol afterwards brought in parties of Boers of which the witness had been advised. The first intimation he had received of the charge of six Boers having been shot was made yesterday in court.

Davidson, clerk to the accused, deposed to the fact that letters addressed to the latter giving intelligence of the Boers were missing from the office after some one else took the witness's place. The empty file was found at his successor's office.

Otto Schwatz, an intelligence agent, spoke to having reported to Taylor the intention of two parties of Boers to surrender, but said he had never mentioned a party of six. Taylor was angry about the shooting of these Boers.

Further evidence for the defence was taken to show animus on the part of Morison.

The counsel having addressed the Court, a second charge was preferred against the same prisoner in respect of the murder of a native.

Corporal McMahon deposed to being out on patrol when he sighted some Boers, but the latter evidently had wind of his coming, for when the place where they had been seen was rushed no Boers were there, but some opened fire from a Kaffir kraal. The Boers were driven off. The witness heard a report and somebody said, “Taylor’s shot a nigger.” He walked over and saw a Kaffir, and Taylor standing by with a pistol in his hand.

Trooper Lucas stated that after the engagement with the Boers he rode to the kraal. Captain Taylor questioned a native, who said “I kona.” The witness heard a report, and the native fell dead. Taylor had a pistol in his hand.

Trooper Sheridan corroborated this.

The accused stated in his defence that he had received his appointment as Native Commissioner in the north on account of his knowledge of the natives, and went on condition that he should have a free hand. On this occasion the natives had warned the Boers of the approach of the party, and one native was brought in and recognized as one of them who had been assisting the Boers. He refused to give any information and was threatened with trial as a spy. He refused to show or say anything, and was going off when he was called back, but would not return. Witness then fired, meaning to frighten him, but unfortunately fired too low, and the native was killed. The shooting of this native had a salutary effect.

Corroborative evidence was called, and the counsel for the defence pleaded justification.

The Court deliberated, and on its reopening the prisoner was informed that he was acquitted of both charges.

On February 17 the Court-martial sat to hear a charge of murder preferred against Lieutenant Hancock in having killed Mr. Hesse, a German missionary, while Lieutenant Morant was charged with the offence of inciting to murder.

The prosecution stated that witnesses would be called to prove that on August 23, 1901, Missionary Hesse left Fort Edward for Pietersburg, and the motive for killing him was that he had got to know of the killing of eight Boers, and was on his way to Pietersburg to report the occurrence when he was shot by Hancock under orders from Morant.

Trooper Phillip deposed that on 23rd August last he was on duty at Cossack Post when a Cape cart containing the missionary and a Cape boy was going in the direction of Pietersburg. The missionary showed a pass signed by Captain Taylor. He was greatly agitated, saying there had been a fight that morning and several had been killed, but he did not say whether they were British or Boers.

Corporal Sharp said that he had seen Morant addressing Hesse, and had afterwards seen Hancock riding in the same direction as the missionary. It was about 10 or 11 a.m. when the missionary went past, and Hancock went about 12. The latter had a carbine. He did not take the same road as the missionary.

Cross-examined, the witness admitted that he had gone a long way to fetch one Van Roozen, who, he thought, was an eye-witness of the killing of the missionary. He did tell Hodd that he would walk barefooted from Spelonken to Pietersburg to be of the firing party to shoot Morant. He admitted that Hancock had issued an order against soldiers selling their uniforms in consequence of the witness’s having done so. He had made it his business to collect notes of what was going on at Spelonken.

Two witnesses said that Hancock had left the fort that day with a rifle. He was on a chestnut horse. It was no unusual for an officer to carry a rifle.

A native deposed to having seen an armed man on horseback following the missionary. The man was on a brown horse. The witness afterwards heard shots, and then saw the dead body of a coloured boy. He took fright and fled. This was about 2 p.m. 
Trooper Thompson testified to having seen the missionary speaking to the eight Boers who were shot.

Other witnesses gave evidence as to having seen Hesse speak to Taylor, while Morant was present after the shooting of eight men

H. van Roozen gave evidence as to having spoken to the Rev. Mr. Hesse on the road about 2 p.m. The witness trekked on with his wagon till sundown, when he saw a man on horseback coming from the direction of Pietersburg. The man turned off the road. Afterwards a man came on foot to the witness. He could not say if it was the same man that he had seen on horseback. The man on foot was Hancock, who advised the witness to push on, as Boers were about.

Trooper Botha deposed that he was one of the patrol of which Hancock had charge, and which found the missionary's body.

The case for the prosecution then closed.

The accused Morant deposed that on August 23 eight Boers guilty of train-wrecking and other crimes were shot by his orders. Hesse spoke to these Boers and was told not to do so. Afterwards the witness saw Hesse in a cart. He produced a pass signed by Taylor. The witness advised him not to go on to Pietersburg because of the Boers. Hesse said he would chance it, and by the witness's advice he tied a white flag to the cart. The prisoner returned to the fort and then went to Taylor's, and he afterwards saw Hancock at Bristowe's. Hancock went on to Schiel’s. The prisoner never made any suggestion about killing the missionary. He was on good terms with him.

The accused Hancock made a statement as to his doings on that day. He said he left on foot for Schiels' in the morning, taking the road which branched off to the Pietersburg road, and then across country. He lunched at Schiel’s, and then went to Bristowe's till dusk, then back to the fort.

Further witnesses proved that Hancock was at Schiel’s and Bristowe’s when the missionary was shot.

The Court returned a verdict of “Not Guilty” in the case of both prisoners.

The result of the trials is that Morant, Hancock, Wilton, and Picton were found Guilty in connexion with the charges of murdering prisoners. Morant and Hancock were sentenced to be shot, and the sentence was duly carried out in Pretoria Gaol on February 27. Lieut. Picton was cashiered, and Major Lenehan reprimanded.

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