The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881
(see also introduction to day 37)
Const Robert Alexander giving evidence
13040 And they in the meantime had not gone?— They were out cutting firewood in the bush.
13041 What did you do?— Mr. Hare came in and Duross, and he had some conversation, and during the time they were talking Mrs. Sherritt came out to where I was, and then went to where the men were cutting wood. After a few minutes Mr. Hare called me in and asked me if I had not gone to watch Byrne's, and I told him I always went with the others. I did not hear the conversation he had with Duross.
13042 You did not say yourself that the others had gone down to watch the hut?— No.
13043 Did Mr. Hare ask you where the others were?— No, he only asked me why I had not gone down, and I said that I always went with the others.
13044 Would you lead him to understand by that that the others had not gone?— Yes, I would.
13045 Did the others go immediately and get down there before Mr. Hare ?— I understand so. Mr. Hare and Duross and I went down, and we had great trouble in finding the way. He asked the best way to go; I said, “By the foot-bridge behind Byrne's, or the bridge by Julien's;” and he said, “We will go by Byrne's;” and when I had gone some part of the way, he asked my opinion of Sherritt, and I said I thought he was true sometimes and sometimes not, by his conversation. He said then it was too light to go by the foot-bridge, that some one would see us, and I said, “Sherritt sometimes says to cross the creek,” and we went down to the creek and got across; there was no track; it was all across the bush. I had great difficulty in finding my way. I went away some distance and got to the track by the road, and went down 150 yards and saw Byrne's a little to the left, and I found Sherritt, Armstrong , and Dowling there, and I had no more conversation with Mr. Hare .
13046 Then they had arrived on the ground before you?— Yes.
13047 How long did it take you in going?— I daresay an hour, because it is about two miles, and there was no track, and I had in consequence great difficulty in finding my way; in fact I told Mr. Hare I did not think I could find my way that way.
13048 Did Mr. Hare go away with the impression that those men were watching?— I could not say, because he spoke to Armstrong .
13049 Then, if he spoke to Armstrong and he did not tell him that they had been there, Mr. Hare must naturally have gone away believing that they kind been there?— I could not say what Armstrong told him–I did not near the conversation. I know Duross, after he had gone, said he was sorry he told him the men had gone. I said he was foolish to do it for the sake of Ward or anybody.
13050 Did he say who told him to inform?— He said Detective Ward. Of course Duross wanted me to say so, and I said, “No, I do not do that for any person.”
13051 If you had been doing your duty you would have been down at the house watching at that particular time?— No, it was just a little after eight then, and we never went down till about eight o'clock .
13052 Why should you see Mr. Hare when you were not expected to be there?— It was on account of the others– Armstrong went down. I always went when he went down.
13053 Were you under the impression that Sherritt knew that the outlaws were about at the time; after the affair was all over, do you think that Sherritt was false, and knew they were there all the time?— I do; because always, when going to Byrne's, he carried a towel in his hand, and I said to Dowling, “That must be a signal he has got,” and we did not like to mention it to him; he always was swinging this about going forward in the bush.
13054 Did he ever tell you the outlaws knew where you were?— No, he never mentioned that. Byrne's brother, coming from school, used to come at the back opposite the house, and make observations of the police; and Paddy Byrne, the other brother, stopped in front of the house, and would stop talking to any person.
13056 That would lead you to the impression that they were watching you?— Yes, I believe they knew we were there.
13057 Why, if Sherritt was working with the outlaws, did they shoot him?— I could not form an opinion on that; but I understand there was a party came up about a month before that, and Sherritt was among them, and they came on the ranges near Byrne's; and Sherritt made the remark to Constable Arthur–he said he was done now, it was all up with him now after the party coming up–the party of police.....
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