Examine the case of the prosecution and the defense. Then decide: Which side are you on?

Do Contradictions Undermine the Plot?

The Amboyna case centres on multiple confessions that were extracted via torture. But these testimonies were sometimes flatly contradictory. Some of the accussed said that the Japanese plotted to seize the castle for themselves, others that everything was orchestrated by the English. Some said that the conspirators would seize the governor, others that the attack would only take place when the governor was away. For the Prosecution, these are simply irrelevant details that do nothing to change the central fact that there was a plot. For the Defense, they reveal that there was no plot. When tortured, the accused simply reached for any details they could think of and the lack of uniformity between confessions exposes the flawed nature of the case. Ondermijnen de tegenstrijdigheden het complot? De Amboyna-zaak draait om meerdere bekentenissen die zijn verkregen door martelingen. Maar deze getuigenissen waren soms ronduit tegenstrijdig. Een aantal van de beschuldigden zeiden dat de Japanners samenzwoeren om het kasteel voor zichzelf in te nemen, andere dat alles werd aangestuurd door de Engelsen. Sommigen zeiden dat de samenzweerders de gouverneur gevangen zouden nemen, anderen dat de aanval alleen plaats zou vinden als de gouverneur weg was. Voor de eiser zijn dit simpelweg irrelevante details die niets veranderen aan het belangrijkste feit: dat er een complot was. Voor de verdediging onthullen ze dat er geen complot was. Toen ze werden gemarteld riepen de beschuldigden gewoon alles wat ze konden bedenken en het gebrek aan uniformiteit tussen de bekentenissen laat de gebrekkige aard van de zaak zien.

The Prosecution

It is true that there were minor discrepancies between the individual confessions but this does not disguise the most basic fact that there were more than twenty confessions that all attest to the same basic fact: that the English and the Japanese had plotted in secret to seize the castle from the Dutch. With one mouth, the Japanese mercenaries confessed that they had been part of a conspiracy orchestrated by Gabriel Towerson and the other English merchants at Amboyna. If details differ, it is simply because the precise plan for the plot had not yet been drawn up but it is absolutely clear that the English and the Japanese were plotting in secret to seize the castle.
“one confession said that the plot should be attempted when the Dutch governor was aboard upon some enterprise, another said that the governor would be killed in the castle. In this way, there were many contradictions, differences and uncertainties.”

The Defense

There was no plot and the contradictions across the confessions show this point clearly. The confessions were full of basic contradictions that cannot be explained away. Some said the plot should be executed when some English ship or ships should have arrived, and their crews should assist in this exploit while other confessions completely skipped this point. Some confessions said the conspiracy would be attempted when the Dutch governor was abroad upon some enterprise, while others said that the Governor should be seized or killed in the Castle. At each crucial detail, the confessions simply do not match up. How then can we accept that there was a plot?
“All these Japonian conspirators, with the said Merinho, a captain of the Netherlands slaves, confessed with one mouth that they were moved and induced to this conspiracy by the English merchants resident in Amboyna, whose names they named.”


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