The Edalji Case. Judgment by Default

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Edalji Case. Judgment by Default is a collection of 7 letters published in The Daily Telegraph on 25 january 1907 including one written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Below is reproduced the Conan Doyle letter only.

The Edalji Case. Judgment by Default

The Daily Telegraph (25 january 1907, p. 12)

Judgment by Default.

To the Editor of "The Daily Telegraph."

Sir — I need not deal at any length with the first two paragraphs of the letter signed "Fideliter." The writer is of opinion that a half-blind man can get about at night as easily as a man with normal sight, and also that it is a shrewd thing for a man, having committed a crime, to write anonymous letters to say that he has done so. This is all matter of opinion, but I do not imagine that "Fideliter" will find many common-sense people who will agree with him.

His third paragraph, however, deserves fuller treatment, as it deals with matters of fact. I have seldom seen so many absolute misstatements compressed into the same space. It is almost incredible that the writer could really have been at Cannock at the time, and yet be so ignorant of the truth.

He says that the perpetrators of the later outrages were "laid by the heels." Our complaint is that Green, though, according to the police, he confessed to the mutilation of his horse, was not laid by the heels, nor was he in any way brought to justice, but he was allowed to slip away out of the country. If the police were not afraid of his evidence as affecting the case pending against Edalji, why was he not prosecuted ? What satisfactory reason has ever been gives for the action of the police in allowing him to go unquestioned ?

"Fideliter" states in his letter that the only two outrages after Edalji's arrest were those with which Green and Farrington were associated. This is absolutely untrue. The worst outrage of the whole series was perpetrated upon Nov. 3, after Edalji's conviction. In this case the two valuable horses of a farmer named Stanley were disembowelled. No one was arrested. What can "Fideliter" mean, then, by his assertion that "there were certainly two outrages on cattle at a later date, the perpetrators of which were laid by the heels at once?" Either he is lost ignorant of the facts or he is wilfully perverting them.

As to the "good taste" of attacks upon the Chief Constable, they have consisted of extracts from his own letters, with such necessary comments as explain their relation to the case. — Yours faithfully,

Monkstown, Crowborough, Jan. 23.