The “Fitzpatrick Affair” happened in April 1878, when Ned Kelly was about 23 years old. It resulted in warrants being issued for his arrest on the serious charge of Attempted Murder, and began the last chapter of his life, which up to that point had been one of relatively minor but escalating criminality.
As we have seen in our review of Neds Charge Sheet, it had begun at age 14 when he was alleged to have assaulted a Chinaman. The case was dismissed. The following year he was charged with highway robbery as an accomplice of Harry Power, and that case was dismissed as well. However later the same year, 1870, for his part in the McCormick incident he was convicted and served 3 months for Assault and Indecent behavior. A few months after that, in 1871 he was convicted of horse stealing and returned to Prison, this time for three years. In 1876 he narrowly avoided another conviction for horse stealing, and in 1877 he was fined for drunkenness, riding on a footpath and resisting arrest. In 1878 further warrants for Horse stealing were issued, but attempts to execute these warrants resulted in the so-called “Fitzpatrick” Incident, following which warrants for Attempted Murder were issued. From that moment on Kellys criminal career became something altogether different, something desperate and dangerous.
In my review of all these cases up to this point, April 1878, in each one I have been trying to identify the Police corruption and Judicial persecution that the Kelly sympathisers claim was the true cause of all this supposed Kelly criminality, but I have been unable to find it. I have also repeatedly asked readers to point out their evidence of the Kelly Family being picked on and hounded by the authorities, but they have not provided it. What I am asking for is evidence of police action involving the Kellys for reasons other than legitimate Police interest in allegations of criminality, for the things alleged in the pro-Kelly literature and the Jerilderie Letter like being Irish, for being Poor, for being selectors, for no reason other than a desire of the police to harass and vilify and interfere in the lives of the otherwise God fearing law abiding citizens of the Kelly legend.
Apart from some disputation about the role of the hated Fitzpatrick, there has been no attempt by anyone to challenge my repeated claim that none of these interactions between the Kellys and the Law support the Kelly Legend story of an unjustified campaign of Anti-Kelly police and Judicial persecution, harassment and corruption.
Not only that, none of these events had anything whatsoever to do with Ned Kelly defending the rights of the downtrodden, the Poor and the marginalised, these people he later referred to as the “suffering innocents”, in his attempts to create an image of himself as their champion. In fact, in two cases his criminality involved wrongs against his own people, the McCormicks and Wild Wright, and the Public brawls were about his ego and his desired image of “flashness”.
In every case to April 1878, Police interaction with the Kellys, and Ned in particular has resulted not from Police interference or gratuitous provocations but entirely from choices made by Ned Kelly – to assault the Chinaman, to join Harry Power, to involve himself in the McCormicks dispute and send those testicles, to try to double cross Wild Wright and sell the borrowed horse, to violently resist arrest, to violently refuse handcuffs, to steal Lydekers horse and foal, to steal Whittys horses….and none of it to do with anything noble or revolutionary or about social justice.
Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence that rather than exhibiting bias against the Kellys the Judicial system was lenient, tolerant fair and on occasion even tried to be helpful in its dealings with the Kellys. For example Ned received the benefit of considerable doubt when the charges of assault against the Chinaman were dismissed, because the witnesses who backed Ned were all associates of his and almost certainly lied. When Ned Kelly co-operated with the Police to help them catch Harry Power they dropped charges against him and offered him an opportunity to escape the life of criminality they could see him being drawn into. They even loaned him money – which he didn’t repay. And after his first spell in prison, a good Policeman visited him at home to offer further support. And for good behavior in both cases his time served was reduced in keeping with regulation practice.
Never-the-less, Ned Kelly writes in the Jerilderie Letter:
“ There was never such a thing as Justice in the English Laws but any amount of injustice to be had…”
Kelly sympathisers read this and nod their heads in agreement, feel sorry for Ned Kelly and never doubt for a minute he was telling it like it was. Poor persecuted Ned! No wonder he did what he did! But as we have seen in a closer analysis of what really happened to Ned Kelly, and why it happened, at least up until April 1878, his complaint that there was no such thing as Justice is simply wrong. The Police and the Judiciary did not persecute or entrap or provoke or in way involve themselves in the lives of the Kellys except when the Kellys invited them to do so, by assault, by obscene abuse, by highway robbery, by stealing horses and cattle, and by refusing to comply with Lawful requests from the Police such as to be hand-cuffed, or to accompany a Policeman to a Station.
I will pause here and wait for the Kelly sympathisers to respond and point out the evidence in support of Ned Kellys claim “ There was never such a thing as Justice in the English Laws but any amount of injustice to be had…” I want to read why it is they think up to this point, Ned Kellys problems were created by the police and the “authorities” rather than by his own deliberate choice. Perhaps the Neducator, the anti-Book madman, the NKF Key Master, Bob and the other hangers on who were always so ready to attack me on my other forums could instead make an attempt to do something constructive and defend the Kelly Legend?
If they don’t produce anything, I will assume they have nothing apart from blind faith, and conclude that Neds claim in the Jerilderie letter, like so many of them, and the Legend of Ned Kelly itself is delusional.
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9 Replies to “Ned Kelly was NOT a victim of Police Persecution”
I generally agree, but suppose that the harassment of Insp Brooke Smyth will be raised. It is said the family were threatened with guns and their food tossed onto the earthen floor. Supd Nicolson wanted to get rid of their 'flashness', and wanted the toughest cops at Greta.
However, the Kelly hut was relatively remote and visited rarely by police. There is no sign of a campaign of harassment or that Nicolson's orders were followed.
Yes Nell those complaints were made by Ned in the Jerilderie Letter. Like everything Ned wrote in the Jerilderie Letter this allegation needs to be taken with a large grain of salt – at the least its probably exaggeration. In any event, as far as I can make out this sort of Police action took place AFTER the Fitzpatrick affair, and AFTER the police were killed at SBC. The point I am making here in this Post is that up to the time of the Fitzpatrick affair all the provocations and misdemeanours originated with the Kellys, and there is no history of Police harassment. The Kelly myth is that the Kellys were forever hounded and harassed by the Authorities but if it happened at all, it wasn’t occurring up to the time of the Fitzpatrick incident. However after three Policemen had been murdered by the Kellys Police interest and attitudes toward the Kellys altered significantly, and for perfectly understandable reasons.
So a Day has passed and rather than try to do the impossible and defend Ned Kelly their Hero all theyve done is threaten me personally. So predictable!
What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without eveidence.
In 1878 further warrants for Horse stealing were issued, but attempts to execute these warrants resulted in the so-called “Fitzpatrick” Incident, following which warrants for Attempted Murder were issued.??????????
From the 1881 Police Royal Commission report:
He (Fitzpatrick) had been stationed at Benalla,
and prior to starting for Greta he appears to have had an interview with Sergeant Q.5950-51. Whelan, the sub-officer in charge, relative to his duties. Whelan, in his evidence, is somewhat contradictory upon the point as to whether Fitzpatrick was justified in attempting to arrest Dan Kelly under the circumstances.
In almost the one breath he states that the constable was wrong in going to the Kellys’ hut, and then urges that it was his duty to act as he did.
The arrest was attempted to be made in consequence of a Gazette notice to the effect that a warrant had been issued at Chiltern against Dan Kelly and Jack Lloyd, on a charge of suspected cattle stealing……………………
Jack Lloyd, who was implicated in the alleged case of horse • stealing for which Fitzpatrick sought to arrest Dan Kelly, was subsequently taken into custody, and, the charge having been investigated, he was discharged.
Anonymous I am not sure exactly what point you are trying to make. What exactly are you objecting to in the sentence you finish with all those question marks? And the rest of the comment is about what exactly?
Here is the proof of what I am saying, that these complaints relate to Police behaviour after the Fitzpatrick affair : In the Jerilderie Letter Ned Kelly claims that on his return, after the Fitzpatrick affair he heard that Dan was "digging on Bullock creek” and also:
"how they used to rush into the house upset all the milk dishes break tins of eggs empty the flour out of the bags on to the ground and even the meat out of the cask and destroy all the provisions and shove the girls in front of them into the rooms like dogs so as if any
one was there they would shoot the girls first but they knew well I was not there or I would have scattered their blood and brains like rain I
would manure the Eleven mile with their bloated carcases and yet remember there is not one drop of murderous blood in my veins”
Gosh doesn’t Ned write so beautifully!
I think your suggestion to look into the Vic Police Royal Commission into the Kelly Outbreak, will show you the authorities were not squeaky clean. No use heaping it all on the Kelly, Quinn, Lloyd clans.
Hope you enjoyed Struggle Street on SBS TV last week.
Just like now, not everyone was able to fit into the system in those days, and its no different today.
Today we are lucky we have the support we have, perhaps not you nor me but even Fitzpatrick had to make ends meet even if by dubious means. I like Ned's version of events as the RC will reveal. Its easy to be on the side of the winners.
Not sure if Gary Dean's Royal Commission RC is searchable, I could not ?
Neither helpful was PROV. For that reason long time ago I had uploaded the RC as a HTML file.
Here it is -just click on the link above but be warned it is large 12 Mb
To follow Anonymous's suggestion –
If using PC, – File – Edit and – Find on this page, type in name or number Example: 5950 to see the exact wording.
Struggle Street on SBS TV showed how politicians long ago abandoned the handicapped, mentally ill and disabled. They closed the asylums to save dollars, and left the community to cope with the murders and disasters that resulted.. Joe Hockey's 2015 budget slashed funding further. The people on Struggle Street need urgent, individual help. They won't get it while would-be Toffs like Joe and Tony pretend they don't exist. Left alone long enough, they won't exist much longer.
I hold Tony and Joe personally responsible for their destruction.
Shame on all in Club Fed, Canberra.
Watched the "Catching Milat" show on channel 7 tonight, another madman who police learned had served prison time and in 1971 who been charged with the abduction of two women and the rape of one of them, although the charges were later dropped.
After his conviction, in 2011, Milat went on a hunger strike in an unsuccessful attempt to be given a PlayStation, losing 25 kilograms.
Thanks a lot for all the criminally insane you vile politicians unloaded on us after you shut the asylums.
Take away the politicians' indemnities. Make them accountable.
I am amazed that nobody wants to disagree with me about the non-persecution of Ned Kelly by the Police. Its interesting that people REALLY wanted to talk about Fitzpatrick – the most comments on one Post ever – but nobody wants to defend Ned and the Kellys. The important point I am making which I haven’t seen anyone make before, is that at least unit April 1878 most of the attention the Kellys got from the Police was their own fault. But I agree with you Bill, the Authorities were not perfect – we discussed Hall and we discussed Fitzpattrick as less than Model Policemen. And even today there are still corrupt Police and lazy Police and Police who are less than perfect – but wherever there are people there will be imperfection.
I will wait another day or two before Posting again.