Royal Commission report day 17 page 12

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The Royal Commission evidence for 10/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 17)

Constable Dowling giving evidence

5075 In giving your evidence you stated that Detective Ward had sent her on purpose, first stating that he had told the two constables to state that y on were at Byrne's house?— Yes.

5076 Did she tell you that?— Yes.

5077 Why do you not tell us that now. Give us the exact words?— I said there was no occasion to tell a lie.

5078 To her?— Yes.

5079 Did you meet Detective Ward again after that?— Yes, on our way down to the hut we met him.

5080 Did he give you the same advice that she had done?— Yes.

5081 He repeated that?— Yes.

5082 Did he say that he had told any other?— Yes, he said he told Constable Duross.

5083 To say what?— To say that I and Armstrong were over at the house in company with Sherritt, watching Byrne’s house.

5084 In consequence of that, did you act in accordance with his instructions. Did you ever tell that lie he desired you to tell?— No.

5085 You acted on it?— We went to Byrne's house.

5086 And pretended you were there all the time?— Yes.

5087 Did Superintendent Hare see you?— I was sitting under a sapling when he came along.

5088 Did you get up?— No, I was going to, but Mr. Hare made a sign tome to remain where I was.

5089 Mr. Hare was under the impression that you had been there all the time?— I cannot tell.

5090 By Mr. Ward. —Who was wheeling the barrow of wood?— I could not say, I am sure.

5091 Had you your arms?— Revolver, I had; I could not say about Armstrong.

5092 Could you go to Byrne's house without first coming to where I was?— We could have, but we would not have been properly equipped.

5093 Was I not aware on calling, there that your arms were at Sherritt's house?— I could not say that.

5094 Did you ever go without your arms—without your double-barrelled gun there?— No, we did not. We were all armed but Sherritt.

5095 You stated in your evidence that Pat Byrne was seen at the back of the house some two or three days before the murder of Sherritt?— Yes.

5096 By the Commission. —Did you report upon that at all?— I think Armstrong went in and gave the information.

5097 Can you say for certain?— Only from hearsay.

5098 Can you tell whether Detective Ward knew anything at all about it from your own knowIedge?— No, I cannot.

5099 By Detective Ward—Do you remember the night of the 21st, four days after you went down (with reference to the night when Paddy Byrne was seen going away on the grey horse)?— Yes. I do not remember the date; I remember the circumstance.

5100 Was Aaron Sherritt with you on that night?— He was.

5101 Will you consider that matter over; I do not want to take you short?— Well, Constables Armstrong and Duross were on the opposite side of a sapling to me. I was the first to see him, and I said, “D—it, here they are coming along.” And Armstrong ran out on the main road, and I told him to keep in where he was, and I do not remember seeing Sherritt there.

5102 By the Commission. —Did Constable Armstrong challenge him?— No. I was sitting by myself at the time, and the others were opposite to me. I could not see them because of the thick scrub.

5103 Did you see Pat Byrne riding in the direction of Madden's Gap on that occasion?— I did. That is at two o'clock in the morning.

5104- 5 This is what Armstrong reports— “I beg to report that at 11.16 p.m. on the 21st instant Paddy Byrne left his house, riding his grey mare, and keeping off the road, high up the range, going in the direction of Madden's Gap, which is situated in the Beechworth side of Mrs. Byrne's house. The other constables and I who were watching the house did not consider it advisable to follow him, as he was riding at a half-trotting pace, and the night was so light we could be seen for several hundred yards or, besides, being confident that it was Paddy, we thought it better to let him pass on than run the risk of being found out. We remained watching the house until 3.30 a.m. , at which time he had not returned home. I may further add that the dog kept barking for the greater part of the night, so we were obliged to take our position almost at the foot of the range, far away from the house. On my return to camp I came into Beechworth to report the matter, prior to which I requested Moses to keep a sharp look out, and obtain all the information be could in the meantime.” Do you know who Moses was?— Sherritt, I believe.

5106 Must he not have been there then—was he there or not?— That was after we came home in the morning.

5107 Can you now say if he was there in the morning; was he there when Pat Byrne went away on the horse?— I will not swear that he was.

5108 Or that he was not?— Or that he was not. He was there in the morning at his own house, and that was the time that Armstrong told him to keep a sharp look out.

5109 Do you recollect whether he was on duty with you during the night?— He was on at the commencement of the night.....

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