Royal Commission report day 31 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 16/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 31)

Sup John Sadleir giving evidence

11889 Was that said in jest or in earnest?— No, it was said in earnest, and I was very much offended, of course, and hardly knew how to take it at the moment.

11890 So that in reality you considered that Captain Standish, you being the superintendent of that district, gave Mr. O'Connor a separate command in the district, not under you in any way whatever?— It was an order that turned things so completely upside down that I did not know what to make of it—no one can give a junior authority over a senior officer.

11891 You say now by that act he did in reality, so far as his words are concerned, put Mr. O'Connor over you for the time being?— Certainly, that was his object.

11892 By Mr. O'Connor— To your knowledge, did Captain Standish ever give an order of the same effect to other officers?— Oh, no; as far as my knowledge goes, that was the only order of that sort given by him.

11893 May I remind you of the time when Mr. Brook Smith was in charge of the Beechworth district; do you not remember Captain Standish wiring up Mr. Smith and telling him not to interfere in the Kelly work?— I cannot say that I do; the telegrams will show that or not.

11894 Are you not aware, in conversation then, that Captain Standish repeatedly told Detective Ward that he was not to be interfered with by Mr. Brook Smith—that he was to do all the work connected with the Kelly business?— That was quite understood.

11895 In the same line of reasoning, that was an absurd and illegal order, to put Detective Ward or Senior-Constable Mullane over an officer?— It was not quite on all fours with the order he gave to you and me, because they were not acting in the same business; but it was disparaging to Mr. Smith, no doubt.

11896 Do you not remember Captain Standish ordering Mr. Brook Smith on a tour, the longest tour he could possibly make, to prevent him being at Beechworth during a particular time?— Yes; he sent him to Tintaldra, Corryong, and all up that country.

11897 Was that not for nothing also but to prevent him having anything to do with the Kelly work?— Yes, on the particular occasion.

11898 At questions Nos. 1085 and 1086 there is this evidence:—“Had you any the first time?— None. We went up the King River, and on the fifth day out, namely, the 21st April, arrived at De Gamaro station — informed us of his having found on the run, near the Black range, a horse answering the description of one of the horses ridden away from Jerilderie by one of the outlaws. — offered to show us the horse and its tracks; but just as we were arranging for an early start for the morrow a constable galloped up with a letter from Captain Standish. saying if we were not on anything good perhaps it would be better to return. ‘Anything good’?— Any good information. The letter stated that Mr. Hare thought he had found some traces in the Warby ranges. Mr. Sadleir and I conferred together, and sent Captain Standish word of what we had been told, and as he had left us to decide, we preferred to follow our own information; but if he (Captain Standish) still thought it advisable for us to return, he was to send us word again and we would obey. This he did the next day, and we returned to Benalla immediately, on the morning of the 23rd”?— Yes, that is substantially true. There is one thing I do not quite remember. I know the man referred to; he represented this horse, not as one of the Jerilderie horses, but as a horse recently very hard ridden, and that could only have been left there by some of the outlaws or their friends.

11899 I admit we did not know it was the police?— The last is quite true. I am not quite sure about your dates, and we were about to go in search for the horse when we returned on being called in.

11900 Is my statement in questions Nos. 1091 and 1092 correct:— “Captain Standish showed a great want of interest in any work in the Kelly pursuit. This was not only observed by myself, but by both Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Hare.” — “Was that verbally, or how?— Repeatedly, day after day. Mr. Sadleir will be ready to prove it, and I suppose Mr. Hare will repeat what he has often said to me. In fact, Mr. Sadleir often observed to me that he never could get two minuses' conversation with Captain Standish upon Kelly business; that the moment he began to talk upon the subject Captain Standish would take up a novel and commence to read”?— Well, Captain Standish is not here, and not in the service.

11901 No matter; I made this statement, and it is to corroborate or otherwise my statement?— What is the question then?

11902 Nos. 1091 and 1092. If the Chairman thinks I ought not to put it I will withdraw it.

The Chairman —I think it may be put, under the circumstances.

11903 By Mr. O'Connor— Will you answer that?— It is quite true that Captain Standish showed a want of interest in the work; we all remarked it—every officer there.

11904 Do you remember Captain Standish ever telling you or you hearing his opinion of me; I refer to the time that he wrote a certain letter to Mr. Fosbery?— Oh, yes; that was immediately after you came.....

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