Royal Commission report day 36 page 10

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The Royal Commission evidence for 6/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 36)

[[../../people/peD_G/fitzpatrickAPC.html|Const Alexander Fitzpatrick]] giving evidence

12938 Did you see the officers committing any wrong by not following up information or not using their best endeavors upon any occasion–that any of the officers were lax?— I never found any of them lax in their duty. Inspector Brook Smith displayed a good deal of energy in the first outbreak of the Kellys–just after I was shot–but there could not have been more energy used. At the time of the trial at the Assize Court , at Beechworth, it was reported then currently that the Kellys were a very few miles out of Beechworth when his mother and Williamson and Skillian were being tried.

12939 There were not sufficient efforts then?— There were no search parties engaged outside the station then. It was just before the constables were shot. The search parties seemed to cease for some time. They organized parties after the time they shot me, but there were none during the hearing of the case at the Assize Court . I know very well it was not kept up with the same activity after the first month or six weeks as it was at first. Had it been so they could not have camped where they did.

12940 Were you aware where they were camped?— I was not aware where they were camped at the time.

12941 Was there a proper search for the Kellys at the time there was a warrant for their arrest?— The only search parties were Lonigan and myself from Benalla; and I was given to understand that Mr. Sadleir had a party of police from Mansfield and a party from Greta, and Inspector Brook Smith had some from Beechworth.

12942 And did Kelly seem to make a boast of it at that time that they could not catch them?— Yes, Ned Kelly said he would keep them out for twelve months.

12943 If you had gone to Greta to relieve Strahan, how many mounted constables were left at Benalla then?— One.

12944 Is there anything else you would like to inform the Commission upon with reference to the Kellys–any other point. Were you out in any of those search parties?— Yes.

12945 What time were you out?— I applied to Hare–I was in the depot at the time the four men were shot–to be allowed to go up, as I knew the four outlaws, and I would know them at a great distance. This was after the police were shot–two or three days after.

12946 You sent in an application in writing?— Yes.

12947 What did you say in it?— I asked Mr. Hare to be good enough to allow me to proceed to the North-Eastern district. I could not give the exact words. It was for Mr. Hare to allow me to go up there in search of the Kellys , as I had known them.

12948 You said just now the four outlaws?— I did not say that in my application. They were not outlaws then.

12949 Did you know who the men were that shot your comrades when you applied to go up there?— I knew them.

12950 Did you know Byrne?— No.

12951 Did you know he was one of them at all?— I was called upon for a report, asking if I knew those men, and I; by the description given, thought one of them was King, and another of them was— I do not know whether I mentioned Byrne or Hart, but I fancy I did. According to the description I knew the two Kellys were there; of course I mentioned their two names.

12952 And did you say you thought one of the other men was King?— Yes.

12953 The constables did not know who they were at the time?— No; but I was called upon for a report, to see if I knew those men from the description McIntyre had given of them;

12954 Were you sent up?— Yes; Superintendent Hare sent me up some time afterwards. He put it off a day or two before he sent me up

12955 Were you in any of the search parties?— I was in Sergeant Steele's party and Inspector Brook Smith's.

12956 How many?— I think there must have been about twenty-five. The first or second day I went out with the party. Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Nicolson , and Inspector Brook Smith, and Sergeant Steele , were in the party, besides my other comrades, the mounted men. We went to the Warby ranges that day, from Wangaratta, on some information that was given.

12957 Were you with the party, while Mr. Brook Smith was in charge, when they were supposed to be close upon the tracks of the Kellys, when the pack-horse was found?— No; we went out the following day. I think this was the day I am referring to.

12958 Were you with the party when they came to the tracks in the brush, and the blackfellows were unwilling to go in?— No.....

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