Sydney Morning Herald
... part of the KellyGang story
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TRIAL AND CONVICTION OF NED KELLY
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)
MELBOURNE , Friday
The trial of Kelly was resumed this morning. The attendance on the part of the public was much smaller, and there was an absence of all excitement. Prisoner appeared listless at times, but generally paid great attention to the evidence. The witnesses examined were Frank Beecroft, draper's assistant; Scott, bank manager at Euroa; Henry Richards, constable at Jerilderie; Edward Living, clerk in the Bank of New South Wales, Jerilderie; J W Tarleton, senior-constable Kelly, and sergeant Steele. This closed the case for the Crown, and Mr. Bindon addressed the Court for prisoner. When he concluded his speech, Judge Barry summed up, only occupying a few minutes, and the jury brought in 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. There is little use blaming anyone 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 understood 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 all to observe a strict silence whilst the Judge pronounced the awful sentence of death, his Honor said,—" Edward Kelly, the verdict pronounced by the jury is one which you must have fully expected."
The prisoner: “Yes under the circumstances."
His Honor: “No circumstances that I can conceive could have altered the result of your trial."
The prisoner: "Perhaps not from what you now conceive, but if you had heard me examine the witnesses it would have been different."
His Honor: " 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, but because I know I should have been capable of clearing myself of the charge, and I could have saved my life in spite of all against me."
His Honor: " 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 eighteen 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 Honor: “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 I 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 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 Honor: "Your statement involves a cruelly wicked charge of perjury against a phalanx of witnesses."
The prisoner: “I dare say; 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 judgment somewhere, and as well here as anywhere. It will be different the next time there is 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 don't know but I won't do it yet if allowed."
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