Royal Commission report day 26 page 4

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 26)

Mr Carrington giving evidence

10066 If you did not see Mr. O'Connor or Mr. Sadleir giving instructions between the hours you speak of, did you see any constables or men giving any orders or doing anything as if they were under orders?— No; I saw Mr. Sadleir several times during the day, but he was always, when I saw him, in the room with Ned Kelly, cutting up tobacco and smoking, standing, by the fire and talking to the others. I was in the room three times.

10067 This was while the house was surrounded?— The house was surrounded at this time—it was surrounded until the burning—the men held their positions at the trees.

10068 Did you know whether Mr. Sadleir went out to the men?— I did not see him go out.

10069 Had you much opportunity of seeing him in the station house?— Yes, I went in three different times.

10070 Was he in there each time?— Yes, engaged as I have said, standing by the fire.

10071 You did not see him out in the field at all giving any instructions?— I did not.

10072 Do you know what time the cannon was sent for?— I do not. I heard a rumor of a cannon being sent for, but I thought it was a joke; that someone was amusing himself. The idea of a cannon to blow two lads out of a house seemed to me something very remarkable—a house surrounded by something like fifty men armed with Martini-Henry rifles.

10073 You say lads—how do you know there were but two?— We were told that Byrne had been shot while drinking whiskey, and Ned Kelly was a prisoner.

10074 Who told you Byrne was shot?— Nearly everybody that came out of the hotel.

10075 Did you hear Ned Kelly say so?— No.

10076 Was it generally believed by those present that Byrne had been shot?— Yes.

10077 It was an established fact?— Yes, it was circumstantially told that he was shot, drinking a glass of whiskey, and that the other two were standing in the passage—that was what the twenty or thirty men said coming out, that the other two were cowed—were standing in the passage frightened; and then when I heard about the cannon to destroy those two lads I looked upon it as a joke.

10078 Here is a letter that has been placed in evidence, you had better read that?—[ Witness read letter of his own, dated 19th July 1880, printed at question 1602 above.] This is not properly punctuated.

10079 You must have received a letter prior to that from Mr. Hare?— I did.

10080 Have you the letter he wrote?— I have not.

10081 Could you inform us of the nature?— Yes, I can give the substance of it.

10082 Will you do so?— He said he did not know who bound up his wrist at the time, and he thanked me for it—that is just the substance of it; it was a little more open, he said I did him good service, that was all; it was just a letter of thanks.

10083 Did that letter in any way ask you to express an opinion of the proceedings on that occasion?— Not in any way at all.

10084 He did not ask you to say whether you thought or not, that after he left the police were left without anyone to give instructions?— He never asked me anything directly or indirectly—it was simply a note of thanks. I am sorry I did not keep it.

10085 You say in the last paragraph, “I think Mr. Webb ought to know that a man who had fainted from loss of blood was not in a very fit state to look after ladies. I never saw any one bleed as you did”?— Mr. Webb complained of Mr. Hare not looking after the ladies.

10086 Who is Mr. Webb?— I did not know who he was. He said in the letter that Mr. Webb blew me up for not looking after the ladies. I said he ought to know a man in a fainting state was not in a very fit state to look after ladies.

10087 Have you any notion who Mr. Webb is?— No. I saw two ladies in the train.

10088 Do you know one was Mrs. Webb?— I did not know who she was.

10089 Is the Commission to understand that really your impression is that had any officer been present after Mr. Hare had to retire, in consequence of the shot, that those outlaws could have been captured much earlier in the day, and without the burning of the hotel?— My idea is this, that if anybody had been there to take up the command, after those four outlaws had come out and emptied their weapons, and called on his men to rush in, they could have taken them easily. They were all outside the hotel when Kelly was wounded.

10090 What was your impression later on in the day after the civilians were released—were you then under the impression, that if any officer had been there to have commanded the men to have made a rush, that they could have been taken easily?— I am perfectly certain they could, because the house towards the Benalla end was a blank wall. There was a door here and there, a small passage and a blank wall the other side. The men could have come up to this side and rushed round simultaneously.....(JJK)

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