The Argus at KellyGang 30/10/1880 (6)

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The Prisoner . I daresay, but a day will come at a bigger court than this when we shall see which is right and which is wrong. No matter how long a man lives, he is bound to come to judgement somewhere. It will be different the next time they have a Kelly trial, for they are not all killed. It would have been for the good of the Crown had I examined the witnesses, and I would have stopped a lot of the reward, I can assure you; and I do not know but I will do it yet, if allowed.

His Honour : An offence of this kind is of no ordinary character. Murders had been discovered which had been committed under circumstances of great atrocity. They proceeded from motives other than that which actuated you. They have had their origin in many sources. Some have been committed from a sordid desire to take from others the property they had acquired, some from jealousy, some from a desire for revenge, but yours is a more aggravated crime, and one of larger proportions, for with a party of men you took up arms against society, organised as it is for mutual protection, and for respect of law. 

The Prisoner . That is the way the evidence came out here. It appeared the I deliberately took up arms of my own accord, and induced the other three men to join me for the purpose of doing nothing but shooting down the police.

His Honour : In new communities, where the bonds of society are not so well linked together as in older countries, there is unfortunately a class which disregards the evil consequences of crime. Foolish, inconsiderate, ill-conducted, unprincipled youths unfortunately abound, and unless they are made to consider the consequences of crime they are led to imitate notorious felons, whom they regard as self made heroes. It is right therefore that they should be asked to consider and reflect upon what the life of a felon is. A felon who has cut himself off from all decencies, all the affections, charities, and all the obligations of society is as helpless and degraded as a wild beast of the field. He has nowhere to lay his head, he has no one to prepare for him the comforts of life, he suspects his friends, he dreads his enemies, he is in constant alarm lest his pursuers should reach him, and his only hope is that he might use his life in what he considers a glorious struggle for existence. That is the life of the outlaw or felon, and it would be well for those young men who are so foolish as to consider that it is brave of a man to sacrifice the lives of his fellow-creatures in carrying out his own wild ideas, to see that it is a life to be avoided by every possible means, and to reflect that the unfortunate termination of your life is a miserable death. New South Wales joined with Victoria in providing ample inducement to persons to assist in having you and your companions apprehended, but by some spell which I cannot understand - a spell which exists in all lawless communities more of less - which may be attributed either to a sympathy for the outlaws, or a dread of the consequences which would result from the performance of their duty - no persons were found who would be tempted by the reward. The love of country, the love of order, the love of obedience to the law, have been set aside for reasons difficult to explain, and there is something extremely wrong in a country where a lawless band of men are able to live for 18 months disturbing society. During your short life you have stolen, according to your own statement, over 200 horses. 

The Prisoner . Who proves that?

His Honour : More than one witness has testified that you made the statement on several occasions. 

The Prisoner . That charge has never been proved against me, and it is held in English law that a man is innocent until he is found guilty.

His Honour : You are self-accused. The statement was made voluntarily by yourself. Then you and your companions committed attacks on two banks, and appropriated therefrom large sums of money, amounting to several thousand pounds. Further, I cannot conceal from myself the fact that an expenditure of £50,000 has been rendered necessary in consequences of the acts with which you and your party have been connected. We have had samples of felons and their careers, such as those of Bradly and O’Connor, Clark , Gardiner, Melville, Morgan, Scott, and Smith, all of whom have come to ignominious death; still the effect expected from their punishment has not been produced. This is much to be deplored. When such examples as these are so often repeated society must be reorganised, or it must soon be seriously affected. Your unfortunate and miserable companions have died a death which probably you might rather envy, but you are not afforded the opportunity― 

The Prisoner . I don’t think there is much proof that they did die that death.

His H onour : In your case the law will be carried out by its officers. The gentlemen of the jury have done their duty. My duty will be to forward to the proper quarter the notes of your trial and to lay, as I am required to do, before the Executive any circumstances connected with your trial that may be required. I can hold out to you no hope. I do not see that I can entertain the slightest reason for saying you can expect anything. I desire to spare you any more pain, and I absolve myself from anything said willingly in any of my utterances that may have unnecessarily increased the agitation of your mind. I have now to pronounce your sentence.

His Honour then sentenced the prisoner to death in the usual form, ending with the usual words, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”

The Prisoner . I will go a little further than that, and say I will see you where I go.

The court was cleared, and the prisoner was removed to the Melbourne gaol.


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