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Ben Hall is ambushed and killed by police near Forbes (NSW) in 1865: was Hall a dangerous criminal, lawfully killed while trying to escape? Or as legend tells, did the police shoot Hall as he slept, an act tantamount to cold-blooded murder? Before Ned Kelly, it was Ben Hall who was the ‘rock star’ of Australian bushranging, leading a short but prolific 3-year crime spree across NSW in the wake of the gold rush. His criminal career comes to a bloody end when he is shot by police in a hail of bullets close to place known as Billabong Creek on the outskirts of Forbes. But Ben Hall’s death is shrouded in controversy. The official police account says that Hall was a dangerous criminal, lawfully killed while trying to escape, while the legend goes that Hall was shot in his sleep and the victim of a brutal police cover up. Now for the first time, the Lawless team undertake an analysis of Hall’s bloody demise at the hand of authorities. At a time where our fledgling nation was striving for law and order, this investigation reveals the extraordinary measures enacted by authorities in NSW in an effort to become a civilised society. The death of Ben Hall exposes how justice was served in the times of the colonial era.
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