The Argus at KellyGang 4/1/1879

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What the Mansfield magistrates were about on Thursday in letting off the fellow HART with a nominal fine, we are at a loss to imagine. This fellow, who appears to be a brother of STEVE HART, the outlaw, was brought up at the police court charged with using threatening language. Taking up a position near the courthouse, he proclaimed that "he did not care a - for all the traps in Mansfield , and that if he were locked up he would, upon his liberation, join the Kellys; that he was a friend of the outlaws, and sympathised with "them." He pleaded that he was drunk, and did not know what he was saying, but two constables swore that he was perfectly sober when arrested. The magistrates appeal to have credited his story in preference to the sworn testimony of the police, for they imposed the paltry fine of 5s, or six hours imprisonment- a lighter penalty that a common drunkard swearing at large might expect to receive. He should at the least have been smartly fined, and required to obtain sureties for his good conduct for the next six months. The sequel is, according to the telegram received last night from our Mansfield correspondent that the fellow "after doing his six hours imprisonment, went away on horseback," with the intention apparently of carrying out his threat. He has been re-arrested with other supposed friends of the Kellys, and he is under strong suspicion as in accomplice of the gang. The events which have followed so quickly on the original proceedings throw into still stronger light the misguided leniency of the Bench, but their proceedings upon the facts originally brought before them must excite the gravest remonstrance. Considering the disturbed condition of the district, it is essential that all demonstrations in favour of the Kelly gang should be repressed in the sternest possible manner, and that the police in prosecuting ruffians of the Hart type, should have all the sympathy and support which magistrates can give. If society is to be menaced with limpu- unity, Hart will not be without lmitators, who will argue that the authorities hold them in dread, and will thus be encouraged in giving to the outlaws that aid which is so valuible to them in eluding the pursuit of justice. The Minsfield magistrates, in dealing with HART, committed a grave error. We trust that should they ever have to deal with similar cases, they will be more alive to their duties and to the obligations they owe to society.






At last there is some excitement regarding the Kelly gang. Two awkward-looking women have been in Mansfield during the past two days, and being strangers, excited some gossip. Upon their appearance being discussed by two or three, a gentleman said he could almost swear that the features of one of the women were those of Steve Hart, one of the murderers. Later in the day the supposed Steve Hart was seated in a side- saddle on horseback, leading another horse.

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