Benalla Police Court [Ned Kelly charged with highway robbery of Ah Fook, 22 October 1869]

[Editor: Newspaper reports on the trial of Ned Kelly for the highway robbery of a Chinese man (Ah Fook). These are extracts from several days’ worth of court reports, which were published on the same day; reports on other criminal cases in the same articles, not relating to Ned Kelly, are not included. Published in The Benalla Ensign and Farmer’s and Squatter’s Journal, 22 October 1869.]

Benalla Police Court.

Saturday, October 16.

(Before Mr Sharpe.)

Edward Kelly, a youth of about 17, appeared to answer to a charge of highway robbery from a Chinaman.

The police applied for a remand for the production of evidence, through an interpreter.

Mr M‘Donnell, who appeared for prisoner, consented to the remand provided Kelly was admitted to bail.

Sergeant Whelan objected to Mr M‘Donnell’s application, and having, in reply, to state his objection, explained to his Worship that the offence was of such a serious nature that the law did not allow bail to prisoners of this description.

The Bench refused Mr M‘Donnell’s application, and remanded Kelly till the following Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 19.

(Before Messrs Sharpe and Heath.)

Edward Kelly, on remand, was brought up for robbery on the road between Winton and Greta.

The police applied for a further remand till Thursday next, as they could not procure the service of a Chinese interpreter from Beechworth until then.

Mr M‘Donnell, for defence, said it was a great hardship upon prisoner who was refused bail, and his relatives who came from a long distance to attend court, that frequent remands should be made. An interpreter could be found in Benalla; and besides, the witnesses in the case, he believed, could understand and speak English.

The Bench thought the application reasonable, since the police had made every exertion to have the case proceeded with as speedily as possible.

The remand was granted.

Thursday, October 21.

(Before Messrs Sharpe and Heath.)

Edward Kelly was again brought up on remand.

Mr Nicholas, Superintendent of Police, applied for a further remand, the interpreter not having arrived by coach as was expected. He had made every possible exertion to get an interpreter but failed.

Mr M‘Donnell urged upon the Bench the fact of the prisoner undergoing the punishment for an offence not yet proved against him. He hoped the case would be proceeded with.

The Bench thought it was necessary to wait for an interpreter, and consented to the application, the remand being ordered till Tuesday.

Mr M‘Donnell again asked for bail, to which Mr Nicholas objected.

The Bench allowed bail; two sureties of £50 each, and prisoner in £100, to appear on Tuesday.

Mr Sharpe said the police authorities had acted very discourteously in not apprising them of the interpreter’s inability to attend, especially as the remand was granted under that circumstance, and much personal inconvenience was suffered in consequence.

The Benalla Ensign and Farmer’s and Squatter’s Journal (Benalla, Vic.), Friday 22 October 1869, page 3 (see the court reports on the same page for 16 October, 19 October, and 21 October)

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