Descendant of slain policeman at Stringybark Creek compares Ned Kelly to Lindt Cafe terrorist

Prisoner: A press artist's drawing of Ned Kelly at the stationmaster's house at Glenrowan after he had been captured following the siege at the village's inn run by Ann Jones. IMAGE: State Library of Victoria
Prisoner: A press artist's drawing of Ned Kelly at the stationmaster's house at Glenrowan after he had been captured following the siege at the village's inn run by Ann Jones. IMAGE: State Library of Victoria

A descendant of a policeman killed at Stringybark Creek believes modern-day terrorism has changed opinion on bushranger Ned Kelly.

Leo Kennedy's great grandad Sergeant Michael Kennedy was one of three police murdered by the Kelly Gang.

The author of the book Black Snake, The Real Story of Ned Kelly, cited the 2014 Lindt Cafe siege, involving gunman Man Monis, as altering views on the outlaw.

"When you have someone like Man Monis holding people hostage, shooting people, people then stop and think why is Ned Kelly being looked upon as a hero," he said.

"It's the same act hundreds of years apart but Man Monis, his name is not mentioned, so why should we even mention Ned Kelly?"

140 years since Kelly's death

Mr Kennedy was commenting on the eve of the 140th anniversary of the death of Kelly by hanging.

Wangaratta lawyer John Suta has used the milestone to suggest the police at Stringybark Creek "were taking part in organised murder under the colour of office".

"There was more ammunition and guns than prescribed by regulations and the party were carrying body straps capable of bringing bodies out of the bush, which in itself is sinister," he wrote in a letter to The Border Mail.

"The four policemen were not in uniform and did not carry arrest warrants."

Trinket: John Suta with a replica of the green sash Ned Kelly received for saving a boy from drowning.

Trinket: John Suta with a replica of the green sash Ned Kelly received for saving a boy from drowning.

Mr Kennedy vehemently rejected Mr Suta's conclusion.

"It's a completely unfair interpretation based on a whole lot of fallacies and concoctions," he said.

He said warrants were issued, the Kelly Gang had more weapons than the police, being undercover was not unusual and no evidence of body straps has emerged to verify author Ian Jones, who wrote they were carried.

Mr Suta also raised concerns about the representation Kelly had at his trial and says no lawyer now would consider it fair.

"The story will never die, one thing that is certain is that Ned Kelly is one of the most polarising figures in Australian history," he said.

"People hold him out to be a hero that stood against oppression and police corruption.

"He could have escaped Glenrowan if he wanted to but he went back behind police lines to save his mates."

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Mr Suta said he would have a Beechworth brewery beer after work on Wednesday to mark the 140th anniversary.

Mr Kennedy believes the moment should be used to ponder those who suffered through the Kelly Gang.

"I think 140 years on people should reflect on the victims of Ned Kelly, in addition to three police being murdered, other people were murdered by the Kelly Gang and think of the hostages taken," he said.

"People were held for a long period of time under duress (at the inn at Glenrowan)."

This story 'Ned Kelly was just like the Lindt Cafe gunman' first appeared on The Border Mail.