Royal Commission report day 37 page 30

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The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 37)

SConst Patrick Mullane giving evidence

13573 Was that report expected?— Yes. Detective Ward then from Benalla, and I handed over the reports to him.

13574 Did Constable Barry report?— He did.

13575 What did he report?— His report was something similar to that; but he reported he was not certain what to report. I almost forget what it was.

13576 Is that Barry 's—[handing a paper to the witness]?—[The witness read the same]—Yes, that is it, and he then gave a second one [both inserted above].

13577 What did you do with that second one?— I also gave that to Detective Ward. I gave the whole of the reports I received to him.

13578 You do not know why that report was not amongst the papers that were in the police offices —I do not. Ward afterwards told me that the reports were required by Mr. Nicolson in order to make a good entry on the record-sheets of the constables, because their duties were of a severe nature.

13579 What the Commission have to deal with now is that those reports which you have in your hand now of Barry's were not amongst the reports; they were in Barry's possession, and he handed them in to us; they found their way back to Barry?— My opinion is that the report did not suit, or that it was not what Ward wanted, that he went to the barrack-room and got other reports, and gave those back to the constables.

13580 But then there is no report from Barry at all?— That is all the account I can give of their getting into Barry 's possession.

13581 You do not know anything further about that?— No, I do not.

13582 Here is the report from Barry —[reading the same, inserted previously]—you see that that is a direct contradiction of the other returned?— Yes.

13583 He has given evidence that he was compelled to give that report?— He could not be compelled.

13584 Well, that the others were returned to him, and he was told they would not be accepted, and he was also told what report to make, and that was the report he made. He reported before that he believed they were discovered?— Yes.

13585 Now he reports under pressure this—you know nothing of this?— No.

13586 It is a fraud on the face of it?— Yes, it is, but he would not be compelled to do that if he did not like.

13587 It was to his advantage to send in a favorable report like that?— Yes, it would be to his advantage if the reports were required for that purpose. I was glad to hear that when I was told that by Ward , because the nature of the duties was very severe, and I was very glad to hear it was to be favorably mentioned. Of course if they were discovered there would be a certain amount of blame attachable to them, but it might be without any fault of their own.

13588 To your own certain knowledge, there were seven or eight people going through the country who knew they were there?— Yes.

13589 And whose families were going to school?— The Sherritt family went to a different school. The Barry family were going to school with the Byrnes , but I am not aware they knew all about the cave party.

13590 Did not Sherritt and Mrs. Sherritt ?— Yes of course.

13591 Then the Barry family were going with the Byrne family to school?— I think the cave party was known Mrs. Sherritt junior.

13592 And Mrs. Sherritt, senior, says she knew it well?— Yes, it was to there the provisions used to go. I was not aware that Mrs. Barry was aware of the cave party. I could not say whether Aaron Sherritt kept it a secret from his wife or not.

13593 That did not derogate in any way from the proper way the police did their duty, if those people-did tell it outside?— Certainly not.

13594 That is why we want to know why a report was to be sent in that was not in accordance with this man's idea of truth; why was pressure put on him?— I cannot tell. I may say I would have sent those reports to Benalla that I minuted if Ward had not appealed.

13595 Now coming to the Sherritt party. You had the ordering of the party in Sherritt's house; they were sent out from here?— Yes.

13596 You were aware who were there and what their duty was?— Yes.

13597 Had they any instructions, written or verbal?— Verbal on both occasions. The same men were in charge at the house that were in charge at the cave, so the instructions for one party would answer for the other as well—they were alike.....

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