|You cant handle the truth|
Obviously, people give many different and sometimes complex reasons for sticking up for Ned Kelly. For example there is the almost universal appeal of the “David and Goliath” image, where Ned Kelly is portrayed as the brave little guy who goes up against a corrupt monolithic establishment. There is also the natural sympathy anyone would feel for a handsome young man whose story at every level is tragic : impoverished pioneer farmers, fatherless at 11, imprisoned and hanged at such a young age. Its also an obvious fact that many of the people who praise Kelly on-line have very negative attitudes to police, and on social media frequently refer to police both then and now as pigs, dogs, c*nts, criminals and scum. I am sure this is why Ned Kelly appeals to many of them : he killed police. But I believe the most important reason there are people who stick up for Ned Kelly is because the people who promote the Kelly story only tell them half of it.
I am going to point out a few examples from current pro-Kelly writings that prove my point : pro-Kelly writers only present half the facts, and they mix in fake news to create an entirely false picture.
The first one relates to the fake news the Kelly supporters promote that the Kellys were persecuted by police. They say this persecution is the toxic background to the whole mess of the Kelly Outbreak. Here’s the half fact that they often quote in support of their argument : in 1877 police Superintendent Nicolson said, in reference to the Kelly boys and other local petty criminals that police “should endeavour, whenever they commit any paltry crime to bring them to justice and send them to Pentridge even on a paltry sentence, the object being to take their prestige away from them” This might sound a little like harassment until you read a bit more of that quote which BEGINS with “ …WITHOUT oppressing the people or worrying them IN ANY WAY ….….” (my CAPS) So, the full facts here show that Nicolson is warning that these people are NOT to be harassed or persecuted, but IF they overstep the mark the full force of the law is to be applied. Who would object to that?
Here’s another example. Constable Fitzpatrick is blamed by the pro-Kelly people for causing the entire outbreak, by lying about what happened to him when he visited the Kelly house to arrest Dan Kelly for horse theft in April 1878. He claims he was shot in the wrist, but pro-kelly people, attempting to show that Fitzpatrick lied about the wound, quote Dr Nicholsons opinion of the wound that he saw the next day, when he swore before three JPs in May 1878 that “I could not swear it was a bullet wound”. What the pro-Kelly mythmakers usually leave out is that he then wrote “but it had all the appearance of one” Once again the entire quote exposes the pro-kelly argument as a half-truth.
Here’s another one about Fitzpatrick. Pro-Kelly writers all claim that he was drunk when he arrived at the Kelly house to arrest Dan. Fitzpatrick himself openly admitted that on his way that afternoon he stopped in at Lindsay’s Shanty at Winton and had ‘some brandy and lemonade’. How many of the pro-Kelly writers and believers know, let alone report it, that Lindsay himself declared that when Fitzpatrick departed for the Kelly’s he was sober? Another example of half a story being told to create fake news about the Kelly story.
Next, I have very recent examples from a Facebook Page set up to promote the newly self-published book “An Introduction to Ned Kelly” by Jack Peterson. Already you will be able to gauge the quality of this site by this sentence that begins a recent Post there about the Fitzpatrick Incident: “On the 15th of April 1878, a drunken Constable Fitzpatrick visited the Kelly homestead to arrest Dan Kelly for horse stealing” Yeah, right!
A few days earlier another post began with this sentence :
“Alex Castles (Professor of Law) discovered through various sources that during the four and a half months between his capture and death powerful men (politicians, police and the legal profession) stretched the law to its outer limits and beyond, engaging in subterfuges, outright dishonesty and monumental legal deceptions which ensured that there was absolutely no chance for Ned Kelly to escape the hangmans noose.”
Its pretty clear from this that Peterson hasn’t read the learned Professors book, or if he did he didn’t understand it because Castles most definitely did NOT allege there were ‘monumental legal deceptions’. In fact the Professors case was based on quite subtle legal arguments, arcane points of Law that not every legal expert would necessarily agree with, but which Castles thought could have been grounds for appeal. But Peterson, having not read or understood the book, posing as some sort of authority on the subject makes a claim that readers on his page will swallow without a second thought, not realising they’ve been misinformed about Kellys trial – there were NO “monumental legal deceptions” but subtle more or less technical errors of process. Peterson compounds his public misinforming with this sentence: “Both believe Ned Kelly would have been convicted of manslaughter rather than murder” referring here to the views not only of Castles, but also of former Chief Justice JB Phillips another learned legal expert. In fact, these men both believed that if Ned Kelly’s trial had proceeded with every one of their objections corrected, the outcome may well have been the same ie a murder conviction.
Here’s a quote from JB Phillips you might find in the pro-Kelly writings : “..Edward Kelly was not afforded a trial according to Law.” Here’s the rest of that quote, something you probably won’t read in the pro-Kelly writings and the part Jack Peterson would prefer you never read: “Whether the result would have been any different had the Jury had been correctly directed is, of course, entirely another matter”
Here’s another quote from Phillips you will struggle to find anywhere in the Kelly writings:
“It is possible that were the trial to be reviewed by a modern Court of Appeal, it would, because of the strength of the prosecution case, apply the Proviso in S.568(i) of the Crimes Act on the basis that it considered that no substantial miscarriage of justice had occurred.”
In other words Phillips believed that the technical errors in the trial could be seen in a modern Appeals Court as having had no important effect on the outcome of the trial, and that Ned Kelly’s conviction was appropriate, because the case against him was overwhelming.
That opinion is not one you’ll ever read on a pro-Kelly site like Petersons, and if you express it there you’re likely to be abused and ridiculed and probably kicked off, as I was. So, if you want a proper introduction to the Kelly story the first thing you have to realise is that much of it is based on half truths.The pro-kelly story tellers only want half-truths, because as I have demonstrated here the whole truth is like poison to the Kelly myths.
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