Harold Oliver’s Manslaughter Charge, 1925 (2017)


Harold Oliver was the most spectacular footballer of his era from 1910 to 1922 and a man admired not only for his skill but also for his gentlemanly conduct. Without doubt the worst time of his life followed an affray with spectator John Purcell during a ‘friendly’ Riverland match on 20 June 1925 resulting in Purcell’s death two days later. This story presents detailed evidence from the coronial inquest held in Renmark from 30 June to 1 July and Oliver’s evidence at his criminal trial before judgment was passed on 3 September that year.

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