The Argus at KellyGang 30/10/1880 (5)
Judge Barry addresses the Jury
It was not his province to laud or to censure him, but if he had not escaped there would have been no survivor to give evidence to-day. The jury were properly told that the prisoner was not on his trial for the murder of either Scanlan or Kennedy, but he had admitted the evidence of what had occurred prior to the shooting of Lonigan, because the jury might infer from it what was the motive for shooting Lonigan, or whether the shooting was accidental or in self-defence. Besides the testimony of McIntyre, there were also the admissions made by the prisoner himself at different times, and at different places, to different persons. Two classes of those admissions were made at Euroa and Jerilderie, and the other at the time of his capture. On the first two occasions, the prisoner was not under any duress, and it was for the jury to say what motive he had in making the admissions. There was no compulsion upon him; he answered questions which were put to him when he might have held his tongue. These admissions were spoken to by five different persons at one place, by three at the other, and by three at the third, and it was for the jury to say whether these witnesses had concocted the story or not.
The jury then retired, and after deliberating about half-an-hour returned into Court with a verdict of guilty.
The prisoner , having been asked in the usual way if he had any statement to make, said:- Well, it is rather too late for me to speak now. I thought of speaking this morning and all day, but there was little use, and there is little use blaming any one now. Nobody knew about my case except myself, and I wish I had insisted on being allowed to examine the witnesses myself. If I had examined them, I am confident I would have thrown a different light on the case. It is not that I fear death; I fear it as little as to drink a cup of tea. On the evidence that has been given, no juryman could have given any other verdict. That is my opinion. But as I say, if I had examined the witnesses I would have shown matters in a different light, because no man understands the case as I do myself. I do not blame anybody - neither Mr Bindon nor Mr Gaunson; but Mr Bindon knew nothing about my case. I lay blame on myself that I did not get up yesterday and examine the witnesses, but I thought that if I did so it would look like bravado and flashness.
The court crier having called upon a strict silence whilst the judge pronounced the awful sentence of death,
His Honour said:―Edward Kelly, the verdict pronounced by the jury is one which you must have fully suspected.
The Prisoner. Yes, under the circumstances.
His Honour : No circumstances that I can conceive could have altered the result of your trial.
The Prisoner. Perhaps not from what you can now conceive, but if you had heard me examine the witnesses it would have been different.
His Honour : I will give you credit for all the skill you appear to desire to assume.
The Prisoner. No, I don’t wish to assume anything. There is no flashness or bravado about me. It is not that I want to save my life, because I know I would have been capable of clearing myself of the charge, and I could have saved my life in spite of all against me.
His Honour : The facts are so numerous, and so convincing, not only as regards the original offence with which you are charged, but with respect to a long series of transactions covering a period of 18 months, that no rational person would hesitate to arrive at any other conclusion but that the verdict of the jury is irresistible, and that it is right. I have no desire whatever to inflict upon you any personal remarks. It is not becoming that I should endeavour to aggravate the sufferings with which your mind must be sincerely agitated.
The Prisoner . No, I don’t think that. My mind is as easy as the mind of any man in this world as I am prepared to show before god and man.
His Honour : It is blasphemous for you to say that. You appear to revel in the idea of having put men to death.
The Prisoner . More men than me have put men to death, but I am the last man in the world that would take a man’s life. Two years ago, even if my own life was at stake, and I am confident if I thought a man would shoot me, I would give him a chance of keeping his life, and would part rather with my own. But if I knew that through him that innocent persons, lives were at stake I certainly would have to shoot him if he forced me to do so, But I would want to know that he was really going to take innocent life.
His Honour : Your statement involves a cruelly wicked charge of perjury against a phalanx of witnesses.
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