Royal Commission report day 10 page 7
The Royal Commission evidence for 7/4/1881
(see also introduction to day 10)
Sup John Sadlier giving evidence
1790 In question 405a this is the statement made by Mr. Nicolson:— “I then went and remonatrated with Captain Standish for making such proposals to a man like that in the hearing of others, of any person whatever.” Do you remember any one remonstrating with Captain Standish for making proposals to Aaron Sherritt, asking him to assist the police?— I do not recollect,
1791 Was it possible for any one to do so without your being aware of it?— Yes, quite possible
1792 Then you had left Aaron Sherritt?— No, I did not say that.
1793 You say you, under ordinary circumstances, would not have spoken in the hearing of others; did you leave Captain Standish in conversation by himself?— No, I cannot say that.
1794 You are not in a position to say whether any one present remonstrated with him for making, such proposals to a man like that in the hearing of others?— Twenty people might have done it without my hearing it, because I remember my agent was in the scrub above the house, and once or twice I had to go to him.
1795 You were not present during the whole interview?— No.
1797 Mr. Nicolson says he was?— I do not say he was not; I only speak of what I remember. We stayed at the hut where the proposal was made perhaps an hour and a half. We started without our breakfast; it would be then about half-past six or seven.
1798 Did Aaron Sherritt accompany you from the time you met him to Byrne's house?— No, we had searched Mrs. Byrne's when he turned up. We searched to see if any of the property of the murdered men was there, and when the whole thing was over, a light-looking high-shouldered man walked in, and Strahan said, “Here is a man that knows the Kellys well, and will he of use to you; he knows all that is going out” And then I went and spoke to Sherritt; and as I have explained, the matter went on to the end.
1799 Then you left him with Captain Standish?— No, I did not say that.
1800 What became of this man?— He kept moving backwards and forwards. You must remember that there were 35 police there, and reporters and some diggers from the flat near, and that they were scattered perhaps over two or three acres, one man had tied up his horse here and sat beside it, and another was by his horse perhaps a hundred yards off, and so the work was done.
1801 You do not think it necessary to keep anything secret about Aaron Sherritt?— No; he is dead. When you come to talk to a criminal you have to put things wrapt up according to their disposition. Some men you may speak plainly with. Sherritt said always he would have nothing to do with Joe Byrne, and I think we said we will save Joe Byrne; we will guarantee to save Joe Byrne. That was the promise that he wanted, and he was not satisfied with my authority. Then I called the other officers one by one, and he was at last satisfied. His bargain was if we would save Joe Byrne and guarantee his life, and Captain Standish said, “No doubt the Government would act upon his recommendation in the matter.” That was about the size of what was said.
1802 Was he to go with a party of police?— No; to take his own course.
1803 Then these arrangements were then and there made with Sherritt?— Yes.
1804 Was that in the presence of more than yourself, Captain Standish, and Mr. Nicolson?— It was within sight of more, no doubt.
1805 After having had time during the adjournment of the Commission to think on this matter, are you now in a position to say whether that arrangement made with Aaron Sherritt was made in the presence of and with the personal knowledge of more than yourself and the other two officers in charge of that party?— I have not been thinking of this thing.
1806 I am determined to have your straight convictions on this subject. Can you state now whether there was any other person present than yourself and the other two officers, within hearing and within your knowledge?— I do not think we would have spoken in the hearing of any person else but us three and Sherritt.
1807 And if any one made a statement that this was done openly before the whole body, you would be inclined to deny it, I suppose?— It was done openly before the whole body, but not within their hearing. I wish to be very exact about that.
1808 Well, it was done within the sight of others?— Yes.
1809 You believe it was not done within the knowledge of others?— I believe it was not done within the knowledge of others......
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