Royal Commission report day 19 page 53
The Royal Commission evidence for 13/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 19)
'SConst Charles Johnston giving evidence'
7352 How long was he exposed?— Perhaps a couple of minutes I saw—a very short time — and I heard you give him orders to take cover.
7353 By the Commission— Did you see other constables passing to and fro?— Yes, men were walking round from tree to tree.
7354 By Mr. Sadleir— Were you the only member of the force that touched those bodies with the stick, or anything else?— I was the only member of the force who touched them till they were taken out of the fire.
7355 Do you not remember stooping down with me near the end where you set fire, and trying to get a glimpse of those bodies?— That was prior to the place being fired.
7356 Do you remember going again and trying to get another view?— Yes, you and Captain Standish.
7358 How do you know other police did not try to reach those bodies when you were with me?— They could not, because the end of the house was not burned enough. I was not able to get them out when I tried first.
7360 Was it not possible, suppose those men had lain upon their sides, locked in each others arms as you say, that when the heat caught or burnt the thongs, that those plates might have fallen in the position you saw them?— They could not possibly all have fallen on one side.
7361 I will put it another way—had you such a good view from the very first as to see that there were none of the plates between them, or lying underneath them?— I had not a good view till I got the bedstead out. The bodies were not moved.
7362 Were they not covered by the cinders and the fallen stuff from the ceiling?— They were some of them covered with the rafters.
7363 Was there not a dog?— Yes, lying near the bed.
7364 Could you tell what it was?— No. I thought it was a third person, a human body, at first.
7365 Till you stirred them up with a stick?— Yes; with a forked stick I got out one, and with an iron red the other.
7366 Was there no possibility of your shifting those sheets of armour turning them over?— No, there was not.
7367 Were you at any loss for any instructions during the day after I gave you the first instructions?— No, I could not see I was at any loss, for I understood what was to be done myself.
7368 Were there not five times the number of men there that were necessary?— I believe there were.
7369 And it was not necessary for the officer to see further than that all points were covered against an escape?— The building was well covered, so that they could not get away.
7370 Do you consider my movements that day would give proof they were covered enough?— Yes; and I considered you moved about very freely during the day amongst the men.
7371 By the Commission— You were out in the search parties?— I was with Mr. Nicolson and with Mr. Sadleir.
7372 You will be called again in regard to that?— Yes.
The witness withdrew
Adjourned to to-morrow at Glenrowan.
[~[[See report of Proceedings 13/5/81]|6042]~]
' (Taken at Glenrowan.)
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