The Argus at KellyGang 9/8/1880 (6)

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His demeanour is quiet, but he manifests his interest in the evidence by smiling and looking significantly to his friends whenever a point is made. At his last interview with Mr Zincke, he requested a gentleman to send him a grey soft-felt hat, bushman’s style, and a bottle of hair oil, so that he might complete his toilette properly before appearing in court and before the public, Mr Zincke, however, having been immediately superseded thereafter by Mr Gaunson as the prisoner’s attorney. When he was being conveyed from the court to the gaol, he said to the police officers in charge, “You think you are very smart, but I am in a position to drop dead in two minutes whenever I like.” He of course referred to the care which is being taken to prevent any private interview between him and his friends. After entering the gaol his eye caught the gallows, and he remarked, “What a pity that a fine fellow like Ned Kelly should be strung up there.”

Mrs Skillian, his sister, and Tom Lloyd left the court on Saturday afternoon, and returned by train to Glenrowan, en route for their homes near Greta. Mrs Skillian is said to have returned home for the purpose of relieving Kate Kelly, who has been keeping house for her sister during her absence. Dick Hart, and two of the Byrnes, who have likewise been attending court, have also left. When the youngest Byrne entered the court the officer at the door checked him, asking his name. He curtly replied, “The same name as my father.” The man who in all probability made the boots of the gang is also here. Mr Wertheim, the landlord of the Hibernian Hotel, states that about two and a half months ago Ned Kelly called at his place early one morning, and had a nobbler of gin. He did not know the outlaw then, but he at once recognised him when he saw him in the police-court. It is now positively known that when the gang went to Jerilderie they started from the Buffalo Ranges, crossed the Little River near its source, then the Murray. A Chinaman who had been beaten with a stick by Joe Byrne previous to the outlawry of the gang met with them on their way, recognised Byrne again, and talked with him, and subsequently reported his adventure to the police.

When Mr Gaunson stated in court on Saturday that a report regarding the Kelly case which appeared in Friday’s Argus was absolutely untrue, he omitted to mention that he attacked the reporter of The Argus on the subject on Friday night in the Hibernian Hotel; that The Argus reporter asked him to talk the matter over coolly; but that he (Mr Gaunson) avoided calm discussion, and commenced speechifying in his characteristic style, walking at the same time towards the door, and leaving before one word could be said in reply. The only statement in my report which may not be literally correct is the one that Mr Zincke was asked to act for the prisoner in company with Mr Gaunson. That statement was made to me in good faith, and although it is comparatively immaterial, I may say that if it is not literally correct it is not absolutely untrue, as has been already explained. The friends of the prisoner have a great desire to have a private interview with him, and the belief is they have two objects in view, viz., first―to learn from him where the money secured by the gang has been planted; and second, to supply him with some means of escaping the gallows. It may be here stated, however, that Kelly says that he has made good provisions for his mother.

On Saturday Mr Gaunson telegraphed to the Chief Secretary, asking that the order forbidding anyone to see Kelly in prison be cancelled. He received the following reply from Mr W H Odgers, the under-secretary:―”The Chief Secretary declines to vary the order of his predecessor at the present time.” To this Mr Gaunson has sent the following rejoinder:―”As affecting the right of the subject generally, I am bound respectfully to say that the order is unconstitutional, because Kelly is not convicted, but merely an accused person awaiting trial. It is, moreover, grossly illegal, and a violation of the rights of common humanity; therefore I respectfully ask that the order may be cancelled, and the ordinary course of the law followed with regard to the accused.” To this no reply has yet been received.


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