A juvenile bushranger [trial of Ned Kelly for highway robbery, 22 October 1869]

[Editor: A newspaper report on the trial of Ned Kelly for the highway robbery of a Chinese man (Ah Fook). Published in The Argus, 22 October 1869 (a reprint of an article from the Ovens and Murray Advertiser).]

A juvenile bushranger.

— Edward Kelly, aged about 18 years, appeared before the Benalla Police Court on Saturday, charged with highway robbery between Greta and Winton on the evening of the 14th inst. Kelly is the son of a widow residing at the Eleven-mile Creek, near Greta. The particulars of the case are as follows:—

On the evening named a Chinaman, named Ah Fook, who follows the business of a victualler, was travelling from Morse’s Creek to Benalla. Shortly after he passed the Eleven-mile Creek and had entered a lonely part of the bush, he was overtaken by Kelly, who imperatively commanded him to “stand still,” and deliver up his money.

Poor John strongly protested that he had no money, Kelly insisted in his demand, and finally succeeded in extracting the Chinaman’s purse from an inside waistcoat pocket. The purse contained only 10s. Kelly then decamped, and John pursued his way to Benalla.

The Celestial pilgrim proved one too many for the amateur highwayman. At the time John was “bailed up” he had the sum of £25 concealed in his boots, which sum he produced at half-past 9 o’clock the same evening at the police camp, Benalla, where he gave information of the outrage.

On the following morning, a little before daylight, Sergeant Whelan, in company with the Chinaman, proceeded in the direction of the spot where the alleged robbery had taken place, and near to where the widow Kelly resided. On coming in view of the hut, Whelan noticed a woman suddenly enter, and immediately afterwards a boy rushed out and took to the bush as fast as his heels could assist him. Whelan, who was well mounted, and dressed in civilian’s clothes, immediately gave chase, and although the fugitive was fully three quarters of a mile in advance and selected a flight through thickly-timbered bush, the sergeant ultimately rode him down and took him into custody. He was subsequently identified by the Chinaman as the person who robbed him.

The Police Bench remanded Kelly until this day (Tuesday). It may be mentioned that while Sergeant Whelan was passing Kelly’s hut in pursuit, two ferocious dogs were let loose at him, evidently, for the purpose of frightening the horse, and thereby gaining time in favour of Kelly. The prompt action taken by Sergeant Whelan is worthy of recognition by the police authorities. — Ovens and Murray Advertiser.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Friday 22 October 1869, supplement section, page 2

Also published (with some minor grammatical differences) in:
The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Wednesday 27 October 1869, page 6

Editor’s notes:
John = slang for a Chinese man, as in “John Chinaman” or “Johnny Chinaman”; the usage of “John” in the context of Ned Kelly’s 1869 trial is a reference to the Chinese man, Ah Fook

[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]

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