Royal Commission report day 12 page 20

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The Royal Commission evidence for 13/4/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 12)

Superintendent Sadeir giving evidence

2683 That he had left the place?— That he would not work for you. He was at no particular place at the time.

2684 He came down from Beechworth to Benalla to see me?— Yes.

2685 Did not Mr. Nicolson tell him that he was going to Melbourne, and that he was to come down to see me at Benalla?— I think we told that to our different agents. I told that to the “diseased stock” man myself.

2686 With regard to that telegram and the information I received from Detective Ward, were you aware that those agents were to be dismissed that day?— I have not seen the telegram yet.

2687 You know there was a telegram to that effect?— I never knew of it till you told me next morning, nor am I aware of the purport of it now, except from hearsay. —[The telegram was, produced.]— This is the first time I have seen this.

2688 Were you aware of that telegram being sent?— No.

2689 Or any subject connected with it, that those agents were to be discharged?— No. I knew nothing at all about it.

2690 By Mr. Nicolson . —Do you understand that telegram?— “To send Constable Armstrong back to his station and withdraw the watch party.”

2691 By Mr. Hare . —Where were they staying?— I do not know exactly.

2692 Where was that watch party?— No. I never gave them any instructions,

2693 Well, you could not afford that information to me?— No.

2694 Did he say anything about it when I relieved him—about his purpose to remove them?— No, not to my knowledge.

Mr. Hare . —I never spoke to Mr. Nicolson, after I left the office, on the subject of the Kelly business, after I left Mr. Sadleir's presence. I may explain to the Commission. Mr. Sadleir and I were conversing on the subject of the Kelly business that evening, and about three that evening Mr. Nicolson put his head in and said, “Mr. Hare, will you dine with me to-night?” and I said I would be very glad; and he had to go to town, and I did not dine with him, and I never saw him after that.

2694a (To the Witness). —With regard to that, will you read on?— “And send them to duty; any further orders from Superintendents Hare or Sadleir.” I suppose that to mean any further orders you will receive will come from those two officers.

2695 By the Commission. —Will you look on that telegram and see if you can find out the hour at which it was sent?— 6.47 p.m. from Benalla railway station. That would be about the time Mr. Nicolson would be leaving by train for Melbourne .

2696 So that you could not possibly known anything of that, except Mr. Nicolson had told you?— No; I did not see him again after this.

2697 By Mr. Hare. —Will you read on to the end?—”Detective Ward already instructed that no further authority for money or supplies to Tommy or his friend.”

2698 By the Commission. —Do you know what that refers to?— That means that any authority that did exist no longer existed for Tommy and his friends; that they were to be discharged; that Mr. Nicolson's authority ceased for their employment. That is for the constable in charge at Beechworth.

2699 By Mr. Hare. —You see that is dated six hours after he handed over to me?— Yes.

2700 By the Commission. —There is some feeling with reference to this, Mr. Nicolson. I would like to ask you now, why did you send that telegram?

Mr. Nicolson . —I had forgotten to send it during the forenoon from the office in the bustle of business. At the railway office, just starting, I only remembered that those men were left stuck in that house without giving them any orders.

2701 That you were still responsible for them?— Yes. I rushed back: to the telegraph office, wrote that telegram, and despatched it. Those men had been sent there the previous week, when we heard the information about Joe Byrne, the outlaw, being there, and from the expedition I had returned the day before. Mr. Sadleir and Mr. O'Connor went up with me in the first instance, and then I made arrangements to send those men out temporarily for a few days whilst we went down, and I made further arrangements, and came up with another party. (To Mr. Sadleir)—Here is the telegram which I understood you to say you never saw till now?

Mr. Sadleir . —Never.

2702 By the Commission. —Had you any knowledge on the interview, or during the interview between Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Hare, on the day that Mr. Hare took charge from Mr. Nicolson, that a statement of this purport or anything like it would be sent?— No.

2703 Is Constable Armstrong the one who was in Sherritt's house when he was shot?— Yes.

2704 Was he specially selected for the Kelly business to go, or was he a constable of your district?— A constable belong to the district.....

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