The Ovens and Murray Advertiser 20/2/1879

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We have always held the opinion that if the Kellys were caught it would be by treachery, and now that nearly four months have elaped since the murder of the three constables at Stringy Bark Creek, we have seen no reason to change that opinion. In this world nothing is so powerful as money, the open sesame to nearly every difficulty, and what it will not effect in the majority of cases, had better be left alone and abandoned as impracticable. Money alone effected capture of the bushranger Power, and we fairly believe that this alone will lead to the taking of the most desperate and audacious band of raffians that ever infested Victoria . Few people have any true idea of the expense the country is put to in the pursuit of the outlaws, the terrible influence of whose actions is already making itself felt in more ways than one. At a rough estimate derived from reliable data, we may say that the cost to the country of the Kellys, is about from £1000 to £1200 per week, and it is no exaggeration to say that since the 26th October, the day on which the murder was committed, those defies of the law have cost at least from £12,000 to £15,000.

It is well known that up to the present they have been able to roam about with impunity and defy detection, and whilst we unhesitatingly say that the police have been badly handled and that they have proved themselves unable to grapple with the difficulty which has arisen, still in all fairness it must be admitted they have been heavily handicapped; first by a stupid system of red tapeism and officialdom which is carried into every department of the public service, and secondly because they have had to cope, or attempt to cope with men of daring. Men who have a thorough and intimate acquaintance with the country, and who have incumerable confederates scattered throughout the district, who participate in their plunder and do their utmost to screen them.

Had proper means been adopted at the outset, the Kellys would have be captured before this, but the authorities undervalued their prey; regarded them as common criminals; were not acquainted with the demoralised state of the district; went about the business of capturing them in a perfunctory and stupid manner, and with all the advantages and resources at their command it is not to us a wonderful thing that so far as the police are concerned they have managed to evade their pursuers. The raids at Euroa and Jerilderie are mysterious, and it does seem strange that the four men were able to create such a panic, and that no one made any attempt to rush them, when they were drinking at the bar of a public house. No matter in what way we may regard the action which has been taken, the fact remains, and ‘tis and ugly fact too, that there are four men now at large who have been guilty of murder, robbery and outrage, which for coolness and audacity, have perhaps no parallel in the history of Victoria.

After the passing of the Outlawry Act, the Government offered a reward of £1000 for the capture dead or alive of Ned Kelly, the moving spirit and leader of the gang, and £500 for the taking of each of his associates, and we fondly hoped that this large sum might be sufficient inducement for some one to turn traitor. It has failed, however, to do so, and now, thanks mainly to the prompt actions of the New South Wales Government, the reward has been more than trbled. As soon as possible, after the unexampled outrage at Jerilderie, the New South Wales Government offered a reward of £3000, which the banks supplemented by another £1000, and thereupon Sir Henry Parkes, the New South Wales premier, suggested that the Government of Victoria should increase their reward to a similar amount.

This has been done, and now the large sum of £8000 is offered for their capture, - a sum far larger than was ever offered for the apprehension of any criminals in the history of the world. Such a reward must prove a very tempting bait to many of those through whose instrumentality chiefly the Kellys have been enabled to evade justice, and to effect the two bank robberies. This will lessen the number of their hiding places, and render concealment more difficult. The case is an extreme one, and in offering so large a reward we believe the two Governments have acted wisely, and our hope is that the result will be the early capture of men who are not only setting the law at defiance, and perpetrating outrages which, when told, read more like a romance than reality, but are demoralizing the whole society.


Tuesday February 18 th

(Before Mr A Wyatt PM)


Thomas Lloyd was charged with giving information to Edwards Kelly, a proclaimed outlaw, and his associates, tending to further the commission by them of further crime.

Mr Superintendent Furnell asked for a remand, on the same grounds as those previously advanced.

Mr Bowman, who appeared for accused, objected.

The Police Magistrate, after again complaining that he had been misrepresented, said that anything he had alluded to with reference to conversations with Mr Foster had been of an official, and not of a private character. Two reasons had been advanced by the police why a remand should be granted. First, because it would imperil the safety of witnesses, were they to be brought forward to give evidence; and secondly, because the police witnesses were unavoidably absent on duty. The first of these was a doubtful ground; and if it were good, these remands might go on for an indefinite period, as the same reason might be advanced week after week. The second was different each time.

He knew that some of the men who, it was stated, could not give evidence had been at home frequently since the first remand, and could have easily been brought forward to give evidence. In his own mind he had formed a plan of action, and if he had to sit on the Bench, he would soon get tired of these constant applications. It was duty to protect the prisoners, as well as to look after the security of the public. He had intended to make the remands for a short period, but Mr Zincke had intimated to him he required a remand for a week, in order to enable him to make his application for a habeas to the Supreme Court; and he (the speaker) wished to trammel the hands of Mr Foster as little as possible.

On three grounds he thought it necessary to state his views. First, because of Mr Zincke’s application. Second, because Mr Furnell was the third Superintendant of Police, who had been sent up to conduct the cases, and therefore was not thoroughly acquainted with the former proceedings; and third, because as he had stated he knew police witnesses had been available since the time of the first remand. The cardinal point was that the prisoners had a right to review his action. He would not grant a remand, on the grounds of the alleged public panic. The time was approaching when the police must do something; not necessarily to bring the cases to an issue, but to bring forward evidence of some sort.

Mr Superintendent Furnell would convey the police magistrate’s remarks to his chief.

Mr Wyatt said that Zincke had spoken about the need of separating the chaff from the wheat in these cases. He had himself taken steps, and he knew the Crown had also taken steps in this matter, but he was not at liberty to state what these were. He would remand prisoner until Tuesday next.

John McElroy was then charged, and as before, a remand was asked for.

Mr Zincke, for accused, said there had been already sufficient declamation and argument. The police said that one portion of the colony was disaddected, and in others there existed a scare. If so, it was time the Attorney-General took the cases in hand. Three different police superintendents had been sent, one of whom had broken his word, and now the public condemned the whole proceedings as an eternal blot on the administration of justice in Victoria . If this was Constitutional Government, he would prefer to live under a rule of tyranny, as he could get at the tyrant, but not at the Constitution. Mr Foster had first remanded the men on the 11th January, and from what fell from him then, he had evidently expected that afterwards some evidence would have been brought forward, but there had been no sign of any evidence, and it was not English law to go as had been done. Accused was remanded until Tuesday.

The remaining twelve men were then brought up, and similarly remanded, Mr Wyatt informing them that they were remanded until Tuesday, at the request of their counsel.

Isaiah Wright when remanded, said – “I hope this will be the last. You can’t get Kelly evidence against me, unless you buy it.”


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