The Ovens and Murray Advertiser 18/2/1879 (2)
full text of the article
The case of the men now in Beechworth gaol, however, is different. It is well known that at least some of them are convicted felons; that they have been friends and even companions of the outlaws prior to the late outbreak, and that there is a strong probability that they would, if possible, aid the Kellys did opportunity offer. Others of them, however, are perfectly innocent of any such intention, and, as Mr Zincke said in this particular, it is but fair that the wheat should be separated from the chaff, and these men set at liberty, unless it can be proved that there is naught against them. With regard to the decision of those to whom we first alluded, their arrest was legitimate, as was the first, and mayhap even the second remand. After this, however, it was expected that some evidence, however meagre, would be adduced; but no, merely a remand is asked for and a stereotyped form gone through, and it is never even attempted to be shown that any one of them have had anything to do with the Kellys since the murder, or even since the Fitzpatrick shhoting affair.
We fear, too, that these constant remands are having a bad effect, and whilst there exists an undoubted sympathy for the men now in gaol, a sympathy which is manifest wherever we go, a false sympathy is created for the outlaws themselves, men whom everyone with a spark of honour or a sense of justice should execrate The proceedings of last Saturday were ? in the extreme, and whilst we say by all means use every endeavour to capture the Kellys – arrest and keep at distance vile, every man who has aided them in any way, still in common fair play let the men now confined on suspicions have a chance of clearing themselves of an imputation, which, if not removed must blast their lives and their reputations for ever. A person might imagine, and be himself morally convinced that another person stole his catch, but the law will not punish that man, but in the contrary will hold him innocent unless proof of his guilt be forthcoming, and so though we may say that we believe these men, if let, would ? join the Kellys, still in common justice let the police bring forward some evidence in support of their charge before asking for another remand.
THE ALLEGED KELLY SYMPATHISERS
The fourteen men who have now been confined in the Beechworth gaol since the 3rd January last, were again brought up at the Beechworth Police Court, on Saturday, before Mr A Wyatt, PM, charged with aiding and abetting the Kelly gang. The court was crowded, but those who had assembled with the expectation of enjoying something sensational, were woefully disappointed as the whole proceedings were of the tamest character, and only lasted about a quarter of an hour, whilst the Police Magistrate in marked contrast to his conduct the previous Saturday, was extremely quiet and subdued.
Thomas Lloyd was first arraigned, and Superintendent Hare again asked for a remand, on the same grounds as advanced the previous Saturday.
Mr Bowman objected. He asked how long this monstrous injustice was to be continued. The men were arraigned Saturday after Saturday, but not one tittle of evidence had been brought against them, nor was any tangible charge preferred against them. Were they in opposition to all precedent to be kept incarcerated until the Kellys were caught, which might be at the day of judgment, or until the crack of doom. They were half starved in gaol. All of them were working men unaccustomed to plenty of wholesome food, and now they had half rations, not nearly as good as men who were serving a sentence. They had sleep on boards, and be locked up for no assigned reason. Were they kept confined any longer, it would be one of the greatest crimes against English justice ever known.
The Police Magistrate remanded the accused until Tuesday (today).
John Mcllroy was then brought forward, and Mr Zincke, who appeared for him, said he was not there to repeat a thrice told tale, nor to deprecate the action taken by the Bench, but simply to denounce it. Were foutrteen men to be dragged from their homes, locked up in gaol, and re manded from time to time, to suit the whim of the police, without any evidence being brought forward against them? What effort had been made to give these men a chance of proving their innocence? Why did not they strive to separate the chaff from the wheat? He personally did not care what course the Bench took that day, as he had taken all the necessary steps to test the question, and have the man taken before the court and brought up in Melbourne before a court that was unfettered in its actions. He was sick of hearing about the Kelly scare the state of public opinion and the exigencies of the case.
The Police Magistrate said he also had taken action in the matter. He gave this merely for their information, not to provoke a repay.
The remaining twelve prisoners were then brought up and remanded until Tuesday.
Isaiah Wright speeking to Mr Hare, said, “No wonder you blush; you ought to be ashamed of your self;” and then turning to the Bench, “Your Worship said you give me fair play, but you are not giving me fair play now. I don’t know how some of these men stand it.”
Mr Wyatt said that he had been misunderstood and misrepresented on the previous Saturday. What he had meant was that he would give Wright fair-play, and thought it best to be remanded.
Michael Harney said, “I’m getting rather tied of it now.”
Daniel Clarney, on being remanded, said sutto rove, “It’s a wager, Sunny.”
Joseph Ryan: “It’s getting rather stale now,and there ought to be a change.”
Mr Wyatt said that Mr Bowman had alluded to the fact the accused had no sufficient nutriment. He was not appointed visiting justice of the gaol, and he would see to it himself. He would advise Mr Bowman to bring the matter under the notice of the proper authorities.
Mr Bowman: “I do not know where to find the proper authorities .”
The proccedings then closed.
.1. , .2. ,
|!||The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original.
We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged.