Royal Commission report day 15 page 7

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The Royal Commission evidence for 4/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 15)

Constable Duross giving evidence

3604 What arms had you with you?— This double-barrelled shot gun and revolver.

3605 You say you did not understand this shot gun?— I never fired a shot out of it; they shot a wire cartridge.

3606 What sort of shot?— Duck shot, I think.

3607 Did you expect to meet the Kellys at Mrs. Byrne's?— We got no instructions when we went out, except to go and proceed with the other men and watch with them. I did not know exactly before I went what I was to watch for. I understood we were to watch for the Kellys.

3608 What time did you return in the morning after watching?— Sometimes we used to come back because of the dogs; and there was a flock of geese as bad as the dogs; we could not get there.

3609 You did not know whether you were to watch the dogs or the geese?— We had no positive instructions.

3610 What did you do in that time?— We used to have to stop in Sherritt's house all day, and not be seen by any person.

3611 You were there, as far as you know, unknown to any one, except the officers of police and the Sherritt family, from the 16th to the 26th?— Yes.

3612 Did you approach some of the trees near the hut, and remain so many hours?— Yes; and Sherritt used to go sometimes close to the house. We used to remain one under each tree.

3613 How many hours?— Five or six hours.

3614 Did you form any opinion of Sherritt's character during the ten days you were there?— I thought he was a very good man, but I thought it was strange his not being armed of a night.

3615 Did you form any opinion as to whether he was keeping good faith with the police, or really only stringing them on, ag the expression is?— We were very watchful of him.

3616 What opinion did you form?— We were told by some of the constables in Beechworth to have our eye on him before we went out.

3617 After your being warned about him, what opinion did you form yourself during the ten days' experience you had?— I thought he was honest to the police.

3618 The arms you were supplied with you were unaccustomed to?— Yes.

3619 Did you complain from the 16th at any time to Armstrong, who was in charge of the party, that those arms were of no value to you?— No.

3620 Although you knew in the event of the necessity arising, that they would be no use, yet you complained to no one?— Armstrong knew that we had exchanged arms.

3621 Did he know that you, for instance, were dissatisfied?— No, he did not.

3622 Did you tell him?— No.

3623 During the time you were there, from the 16th to the 26th, was there any officer of police visited you?— Yes.

3624 Who?— Mr. Superintendent Hare.

3625 Did you complain to Mr. Hare that your arms were not adapted?— No.

3626 Why did you not?— I do not know whether it was forgetfulness or not.

3627 Did you not desire Armstrong to complain?— No.

3628 So you simply remained there, knowing your arms were useless in the event of your requiring them, and yet you never took any steps to complain?— Yes.

3629 Suppose the Kellys had put in an appearance at Byrne's, you would have fired?— Yes.

3630 You knew the distance they would carry?— We thought 40 or 50 yards.

3631 Were you so experienced that you might have struck a haystack?— I think we could. On :the evening of the 26th Sherritt and I, and Mrs. Sherritt and Sherritt's mother-in-law, were sitting in the kitchen having our tea about half-past six or a quarter to seven. The other three men were in the bedroom.

3632 Was it dark at that time?— Yes.

3633 What were they doing in the bedroom?— They had to go in. When they heard the least noise they went in. We were often in there for hours if anybody came to see Sherritt, not to be seen.

3634 Had you any information that the Kellys were likely to appear?— Not the slightest.

3635 Not from Sherritt?— Not the slightest. They had finished their tea, and we were talking. Sherritt and I were having some conversation.....

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