Royal Commission report day 45 page 7

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The Royal Commission evidence for 10/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 45)

John Sherritt giving evidence

15445 That was not formed till 2nd December, and I saw you in September?— Yes.

15446 Again you say—“I therefore had to give up my contract with Mr. Crawford , and I continued to do the police duty entrusted to me for over six months.” Were you not working for Mr. Crawford after I saw you?— Yes, but very little work I ever did after I was engaged for the police.

15447 You did work for Crawford?— Yes.

15448 Did you give up your contract after September?— I did.

15449 Are you sure that from September, when I saw you, that you gave up your contract with Crawford, and that you never worked with him on contract afterwards?— I had two or three contracts.

15450 Did you work with him on contract after September or October 1879?— I do not know whether I did or not.

15451 You say here you gave up your contract?— Will you read what is before and after?

15452 “He then engaged me, and I commenced to do duty, with six other police constables, under charge of Constable Alexander . I therefore had to give up my contract with Mr. Crawford , and I continued to do the police duty entrusted to me for over six months.” Do you mean to say you threw up your contract with Crawford?— Did I work any more on contract with him?

15453 Yes?— No, I did not.

15454 You have been working for him?— Yes.

15455 “During this time individual members of the Kelly gang constantly visited Mrs. Byrne’s house, and that some time after the robbery of the Jerilderie bank by that party the whole gang came to Mrs. Byrne's house.” Is that correct?— Yes.

15456 “And I sent word to Mr. Nicolson that they were there”?— Yes.

15457 Are you sure of that?— I am positive sure of it.

15458 Do you know I was not in the district at all at the time?— I do not know. I know I told Ward , and I was under the impression he sent word to you.

15459 I will read it again— “During this time individual members of the Kelly gang constantly visited Mrs. Byrne's house, and that some time after the robbery of the Jerilderie bank by that part', the whole gang came to Mrs. Byrne's house, and I gent word to Mr. Nicolson that they were there; thereupon no action was taken by this officer”—now you say you gent word to Ward?— Yes; and I was under the impression that you got the information. Did I say what date I sent to Ward ?

15460 I was not in the North-Eastern District at the time. You say— “In about fourteen days afterwards I received a letter from Joe Byrne requesting me to meet him at Sandy Creek , near Wangaratta. This letter I forwarded to Mr. Nicolson , who instructed me to keep the appointment with Byrne.” When you received this letter from Byrne, making the appointment to meet him at Sandy Creek , were you to meet the whole gang or Byrne alone?— Byrne alone—not the gang. What Mr. Nicolson refers to about the outlaws coming and going away again, that may not be put right in that declaration as to the time, because I did tell Mr. Nicolson about that, and I asked him why did not he take action to catch them. He said, “If I miss fire, they will not come back again”; meaning that if the outlaws had gone it would spoil his chance the next time.

15461 As to your discharge from the force, did I ever show you any unkindness before that occurred in my transactions with you?— No, I do not think so.

15462 Had you any ill-feeling to me previous to that?— No, I had not.

15463 Had I shown any ill-feeling to you previous to that?— Yes, you did.

15464 When?— I could tell by the way you talked to me—I could see you seemed to have no faith in me, and I will tell the reason. The reason was that, I could see after that, you were under the impression, when you got my portrait taken, that I could lead all those outlaws to a bank, and first inform you and the bank, and then you would be waiting there with the police and catch them; and I would not do it, I told you, because I would be shot myself; I would not do it.

15465 By the Commission— Was such a proposition made to you?— Yes; that I and my brother should go and stick up the bank.

15466 Who made it?— Mr. Nicolson.....

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