Royal Commission report day 38 page 6

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The Royal Commission evidence for 21/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 38)

Det Ward giving evidence

13856 Did you know at this time why they had been removed?— Under instructions from Mr Nicolson they were removed. I do not know what the reason was.

13857 Mr. Nicolson requested you to have the party removed?— Yes; he gave instructions to call in the cave party.

The Witness — On my arrival there I saw Mr. Nicolson. He told me that the men would be all called away for the present, and for me, on my return, to read this memo. to the men that were engaged on the cave party:— “Benalla.—Memo.—Warn all concerned to keep secret the duty they have specially been employed upon in the watching party, Beechworth Sub-District.—(Sd.) C. H. NICOLSON, A.C.P., 2 April 1880.—To Detective Ward.” I then said to Mr. Nicolson, “The men that have been engaged on that cave party have had very severe duty to perform. When you were up the other day you said that when it would be over you would make a favorable entry; I wish you would do that.” Mr. Nicolson said, “You can write a report of the men that were employed on that duty, and the time they were employed, and show they carried out the instructions, and forward it to me.” I was then returning by the mid-day train, and on my way to the railway station I called in at the telegraph office, and wrote a telegram, of which a copy was produced by Senior-Constable Mullane yesterday. The wording I do not remember, and I would like to see it.—[ The same was handed to the witness for inspection.] “Call on the special-duty men for separate reports as to the nature of their duty. Hagger knows what to say.” That is signed by myself. My reason for sending that was simply that I had no record of the men who were engaged, or no opportunity of getting their names, as I had arrived by the twenty minutes past two train, and Mr. Nicolson told me the men would be leaving that day by the mid-day train. I would like to see the memo. that Senior-Constable Mullane put on Constable Barry's report. I presume, on the arrival of my telegram, that Mullane did call for the report, which he did receive, and this memo. was put on:— “I have called on Const. Barry (2710) for a report relative to how the special duty at Sebastopol was performed, and whether it came to his knowledge that the Byrnes, or any of the friends of the outlaws, were aware of the presence of the police at Sebastopol .” How Senior-Constable Mullane arrived at that decision I cannot say. I sent the telegram before, and I do not know what time those reports were received. I did not instruct him to call for it. On my arrival in Beechworth, at twenty minutes past two o'clock , I went into the office, and on my arrival there saw Senior-Constable Mullane. He said to me, “I received your telegram, and called for reports. See what your friends have done, whom you have always been standing up for,” handing me the reports of Harry, Falkiner, and his own file, which is there, with the recommendation about Canny, the special man. I read the reports, and Senior-Constable Mullane's remarks on the reports also. I said, “That is not required. All I wanted is the names, the time they were employed, and if they did their duty in accordance with directions given, as I want to furnish a report to the Assistant-Commissioner, as he has promised to place a favorable entry on their record sheets.”....

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