Royal Commission report day 38 page 10
The Royal Commission evidence for 21/7/1881
(see also introduction to day 38)
[[../../people/peH_J/harePsup.html|Sup Francis A. Hare]] further examined
13890 By the Commission— Did this man tell you that any of the party were over watching at the time?— Most decidedly he did.
13891 And did you and them watching when you went there?— I did.
13892 Did Alexander say anything to you about the matter?— Armstrong did; he told me. I said, “Why did you leave the two men behind?” he said, “Mr. Hare, they have misled you, or told an untruth. I was chopping wood when you were at the hut.” I said, “Do you mean to say that those fellows deliberately told me a lie?” And he said he was at the back of the house, and Ward sent him on as quickly as possible, and he was not going to tell a lie for anybody.
13893 Did he say why he was sent so quickly?— No; he said Ward sent him on to meet me there.
13894 Did you mention it when you came back to the hut?— Yes, to Ward. I said, “What in the name of goodness could induce those men to tell a lie to me?” “I don't know,” he said. “I found them, and sent them on to the place.”
13895 Did you question the men afterwards?— No. When I got to the hut I heard Ward say “Where Tommy?” and I did not see him come forward. I then heard him say something to another man; and there was an answer—a whisper. I was standing in the road on my horse. I do not think he could have been up there thirty seconds, nor was he out of my sight. When I heard the whisper, I pushed my horse up as quickly as I could, and said, “What is all this whispering about?” And I called one of the men—Alexander or Duross—and said, “Where is Tommy?” “He is away watching.” “What are you doing here by yourselves?” I said. He said, “Tommy said it was too light for us to go altogether, and told us to come on by-and-bye.” I said, “Can you take me to where they are watching?” One of them answered, “Yes”; and I said, “Then come along.” He said, “You will have to cross a very deep creek and we cannot go across the bridge to-night, it is too light.” And I said, “Never mind—go as you usually go, and I will follow”; and Alexander took the lead, and Duross followed behind.
13896 Did you start to go by the bridge?— No; they suggested it was too light—the Chinamen would see us. I said, “Never mind the creek, or anything else; I will follow.”
13897 How was it you got astray?— Going over that creek we got in among a lot of holes. He lost his way several times, all the time leading me to believe that Sherritt and the other men were there; and it was not till I got to the spot that I saw Armstrong. I went straight up to him, and I said, “What do you mean by leaving your men behind you, and coming here yourself?” And he answered, “Oh, I did not. I was chopping wood; and I am not going to tell a lie for anybody.”
13898 Did he lead you to infer who that “anybody” was?— He led me to infer it was those two men. He did not lead me to infer it was Ward.
13899 By what did he lead you to infer the two men?— Because it was the two men that told me this
13900 Did you tell him the other men told you so?— Yes; and he must have heard it from Ward also. I never had the slightest suspicion that Ward had suggested it till I heard it in the evidence here, and then I thought, “Could Ward have concocted the thing so quickly?” because I was not the distance of this room away from him, and I do not think he was thirty seconds away.
13901 Then your opinion is that those men did it?— I am giving facts; but I cannot say anything about that.
The witness withdrew. ....
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