Royal Commission report day 21 page 11

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The Royal Commission evidence for 17/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 21)

Const Barry giving evidence

7774.7530 Did you retain possession of that first report?— I made out this second report, and attached them both together.

7774.7531 So that both formed one report?— Yes. “North-Eastern Police District, Beechworth Station, April 2nd 1880.—Report of Constable Daniel Barry, 2710, relative to note on the attached report.—I beg to report, for the information of the Assistant-Commissioner of Police, that I submitted the attached report to Senior Constable Mullane; he returned it to me for to make out another report in reply to his memo. On same. I therefore beg to state that the special duty at Sebastopol was performed in strict accordance with the instructions received from the Assistant-Commissioner, but as to whether the friends of the outlaws were aware of our presence there I am not in a position to state positively, as I never had an opportunity of going among them to enquire; but Mrs. Sherritt (senr.) has made statements to me, which I afterwards reported to Detective Ward, which would lead me to believe that the Byrne family were aware of our presence—DANIEL BARRY, 2710. The Assistant-Commissioner of Police, Benalla.” I handed both those reports to Mullane, and he told me that would do. Those are the originals.

7774.7532 How did you come to be possessed of them so that you could tell if those were the original reports sent in by you by order of a superior officer?— I got them returned to me from Detective Ward. He asked me to make out another report, as those would not do.

7774.7533 And you took them back?— I took them back.

7774.7534 Did you make out another?— I did.

7774.7535 When Detective Ward told you those reports would not do, just use his exact words—What did he tell you, and the nature of the report required?— He said we were not to make out reports about what we thought, but what we actually did, and beyond that it was simply for us to get a good mark on our record-sheet for the hard work we had done.

7774.7636 In consequence of that, you made out this report—[reading the same as follows.] “North-Eastern District, Beechworth Station, 2nd April 1880.—Report of Constable Daniel Barry, 2710, relative to special duty near Beechworth.—I beg to report, for the information of the Assistant-Commissioner of Police, that I have been engaged on special duty from 3rd December last to 17th March last, watching Byrne's house at Sebastopol. During that time, so far as I could judge, none of that family were aware of our being in the vicinity. The instructions received from the Assistant-Commissioner of Police were strictly carried out, and the greatest possible precautions were used by the party to prevent our being discovered.— DANIEL . BARRY, 2710. The Assistant-Commissioner of Police, Benalla”?— I handed that to Detective Ward on receiving the others back.

7774.7537 Did he wait while you wrote that?— He asked me to write it.

7774.7538 Did he wait while you wrote it?— I wrote it in the barrack-room, and met him that evening and gave it to him, or the next morning, in the street.

7774.7539 Did he dictate something like the wording of the report that would be acceptable to him?— He gave an idea of what should be said, but did not dictate it.

7774.7540 How do you account for this, that you wrote that report stating you had no reason to believe your existence was known on the 2nd of April, when you wrote on Boxing Day to Detective Ward, informing him you believed, in consequence of the way you had to obtain provisions, your existence was known in December?— Because I could not positively say.

7774.7341 If you thought it portion of your duty in December to write to Detective Ward conveying that information—is that the fact?— That is the fact.

7774.7542 And yet in April you wrote that other?— It was not exactly that our existence was known, but that I did not like how things were going.

7774.7543 I have taken down the number of the Sherritt family, and in consequence of Aaron not attending to his duties as you thought he ought, after marriage, you thought it within your province to write to Detective Ward of your own accord?— Not of my own accord. I was officer in charge at the time.

7774.7544 Was it in consequence of the conversation between you and your comrades?— No; it was my duty to do it. I was in charge.

7774.7545 There had been no conversation amongst your comrades about that in December?— When I wrote it I handed it to them. They all agreed to say the contents were correct.

7774.7546 What arose between that time and April to remove from your mind the impression that your existence was known?— Nothing occurred to remove from my mind the impression that our existence was known.....

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