Sir Thomas Picton
I saw the story on BBC Wales Today about the call by solicitor Kate Williams to have a portrait of Sir Thomas Picton removed from the Carmarthen Crown Court.
I was interested in the story as we have the school in Haverfordwest named after the same man, so it made me wonder that if Sir Thomas Picton was that much of an ogre. Is it right that children could be educated in a school bearing his name, if it was deemed wrong for his portrait to hang in a public court?
I read the write up on the BBC news website and learned that Sir Thomas was the most senior officer in the British army to have died at the Battle of Waterloo and I found the article below, from the web, which appeared in the Carmarthen Journal.
Wanting to keep an open mind, I tried my best to find evidence to support Kate Williams. He may not have been a shining example, but who is? And why should we judge today's standards onto events that happened 200 years ago? He was subsequently cleared of the charge of torturing a slave girl.
I have to wonder how many GUILTY people Kate Williams as a solicitor has managed to get cleared of their charges. So I am happy for Sir Thomas to remain in the Crown Court and for the school to retain its name in Haverfordwest as at the end of the day, he was still a hero, despite the odd wart on his reputation.
If we attach Sir Thomas, do we start to moralise on Admiral Lord Nelson as Emma Hamilton was his mistress.
Let he who is without sin throw the first stone!.
Its Kate Williams' job to get her client's off their charges, so I hope she hasn't seen a client released who she knew was guilty.
BELOW - Article from the Carmarthen Journal.
A FORMER Carmarthen mayor has rubbished the calls to remove a painting of Sir Thomas Picton from Carmarthen Crown Court.
Solicitors had said the painting had no place in a court of law after it emerged Sir Thomas, while governor of Trinidad in 1801, allegedly tortured a 14-year-old slave girl called Louisa Caulderon. But former mayor Richard Goodridge, who has an interest in the period, said removing the painting would be churlish.
He said: "Louisa Caulderon suffered no ill effects from the treatment she received and required no medical attention afterwards.
"After she was released from custody she walked more than a mile to the store where the crime took place, smoking a cigar."
Kate Williams, a local solicitor with Red Kite Law, was one of those calling for the painting to be taken down.
She said: "I appreciate the painting for historical purposes and that he was a figure of note.
"But I find it very offensive that someone who was not only a known slaver but also allegedly tortured a slave should have his picture in a place where the values of justice are served."
But Mr Goodridge said Sir Thomas was innocent in the eyes of history.
He added Louisa Caulderon had lied about her age, which she used to try to save herself from torture. She was accused of stealing what is reported to have been between £500 and £2,000 — £16,000 to £64,000 in today's money.
Appeal Though Trinidad still used Spanish law, which permitted slavery, in 1803 Sir Thomas was convicted of signing a document permitting the torture. He immediately lodged an appeal which was successful some years later.
Mr Goodridge said: "In February 1810 the court ordered Picton's recognisance and no further action ever took place.
"He was, and remains to this day, innocent of all the charges. "Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton, despite what history may think of his unconventional ways, was an extremely popular officer and was killed in action at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 — the most senior officer to die for his country."