Royal Commission report day 10 page 8

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/4/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 10)

Sup John Sadleir giving evidence

1810 If done within the knowledge of any, will you be kind enough to indicate what member of the police force, except the three officers?— I have a recollection of seeing Senior-constable Strahan standing, perhaps, eight or ten yards away.

1811 Was he the nearest?— According to my recollection I believe he was the nearest, and I am under the impression that his opinion was asked about it in some way afterwards.

1812 Probably he was the man likeliest outside the three to have been consulted?— I think he was the most likely. I think Sergeant Steele, a well-known man in the district, possibly may have been spoken to about it.

1813 Do you think any other members of the police were likely to have been consulted, or made acquainted with the arrangement with Aaron Sherritt?— I do not think it. It was our practice at all times, when there was a confidential man near us, no matter what his rank was, to take his view of the matter, as I did with Sergeant Kennedy in the first case.

1814 You started from Beechworth at what time on this occasion?— Before daylight on the 7th November.

1815 Will you state who you took from Beechworth?— That I cannot tell.

1816 Have you got the number?— The number was 35, as near as I can remember.

1817 No, I mean only starting from Beechworth?— Three reporters, I think, and three officers, nine men from Benalla making fifteen, and probably the two men on the station. I think that was all.

1818 Then before reaching Sherritt's hut you had the number of about 35, according to your statement?— About 35.

1819 Will you inform us under what circumstances those men were gathered together at that particular time and that particular spot?— Yes. On the evening before (the 6th), it was a quarter or twenty minutes to eleven p.m. when I telegraphed to Mr. Nicolson. It would be six. I expected six. I gave them instructions to meet the party leaving Beechworth in the morning at the Springs. That is about a mile or two miles out of Beechworth on the road we were going. My message reached the whole party at Taylor 's Gap. The combined party was thirteen, so the thirteen came; and the thirteen met us, as well as I remember, at the Springs. I remember meeting them there, and I remember their giving the signal we had agreed on. The collection of those men I am responsible for.

1820 That accounts for thirty. What other station or outlying post did you request to meet you between Beechworth and Sherritt's?— There was no other.

1821 No other party of police that were likely to join you?— No, I do not think it possible; but this matter can be set right by reference to the records of the day. I would rather wait till then.

1822 You took the responsibility in the first place of communicating to Benalla from Beechworth; you then arranged with the police in the outlying districts to meet you at a certain point?— Only those I have mentioned.

1823 That was two from Beechworth, thirteen from Taylor 's Gap, and the rest from Benalla?— Yes.

1824 Were there any other police requested to meet you on that expedition?— I do not think so. I do not think there were any others within reach.

1825 So that the number of police and reporters?— I am not responsible for them.

1826 There were thirty altogether. Were there any others except the police and reporters present with you when you came in sight of Sherritt's hut?— Of course the informant was there—came up with us and showed us the way.

1827 That made thirty-one. Then at what time of the day or morning was your company increased by the diggers and others?— After the whole affair was over.

1828 What time of the day?— I think about half-past seven. It may have been six or eight. I cannot tell for certain. Starting at daybreak, you fancy the day is more advanced than it really is.

1829 How long did you remain at Byrne's place till you returned again to Beechworth?— We did not all return to Beechworth. I said only an hour and a half or two hours. We had to send right across the whole flat for refreshments, and there was some difficulty in getting them then.

1830 At the time you left after you abandoned the idea of capturing the gang in this hut, how many were present then, including the police, reporters, and those from other quarters—how many?— Very roughly guessing, forty or fifty perhaps......

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