Royal Commission report day 40 page 2
The Royal Commission evidence for 28/7/1881
(see also introduction to day 40)
[[../../people/peU_Z/wardPdet.html|Det Michael Edward Ward]] giving evidence
14120 How do you reconcile that with your report that you sent in here— “I am pleased to be able to state that the conduct of the constables has been everything that could be desired for care and secrecy; they performed their duty to the satisfaction of the men placed in charge of them from time to time. * * * They willingly obeyed all orders given by me by the instructions of the Assistant Commissioner; and although the duty has been very severe, their disposition was good, as they were in great hopes of being successful, although it has been a failure”?— They always were careful.
14121 But then it came to your knowledge that one of those men said that he believed that their presence was known?— Yes, in that report.
14122 He stated in his report, “But Mrs. Sherritt, senior, has made statements to me, which I afterwards reported to Detective Ward, which would lead me to believe that the Byrne family were aware of our presence”?— But he never did make any statements to me; he never told me that; had he done so, I would have reported it at the time.
14123 You swear he never told you that?— He never told me anything about Mrs. Byrne; he only told me that Aaron Sherritt absent on two nights. I then wrote him a letter, which letter he afterwards produced. Barry was never supposed to see Mrs. Sherritt .
14124 Have you any idea what could have induced Senior-Constable Mullane to have written this— “I have called on Constable 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”?— I have not; for I told Mullane in the office, when I came home, had he attended to my telegram and spoken to Constable Hagger, he would have told him what was required.
14125 We want this cleared up, because I may tell you it has a very ugly face upon it?— Well, I am willing to do anything I possibly can in the world; I am telling you the truth, and am not frightened of any man for the truth.
14126 The simple thing is, on this 2nd of April 1880, you had a report in your possession which states it was the belief of the man who made the report that their presence was known, and you say nothing whatever of that to your superior officer; how do you account for that?— Well, I did not see my superior officer again, as Mr. Nicolson was away, I think, on the 3rd.
14127 But how could you refuse his report when he said that?— I did not refuse it; he took it back
14128 Of course, at your instance?— The moment I told him what was wanting, he said, “Give me that back, and I will make another report.”
14129 He made a report that did not suit the view you had at the time?— It did not suit Mullane.
14130 It did not suit your own view; did you see both reports?— I saw both reports.
14131 And you told him those were not what were wanted at all?— Yes.
14132 Having had that information before you, and having seen that Mullane asked him for a certain thing, which he did not give, in his third report it must have come fully to your knowledge that that man believed it was known they were there?— Well, my reason—
14133 It must have been then in your knowledge that the man believed it was known he was in the cave with the party?— If the six said that it was known they were in the cave, I would not believe it, with the strict enquiry I had made myself.
14134 Barry , in his evidence, said, “I handed that to Detective Ward on receiving the others back. Did he wait while you wrote that?— He asked me to write it. 7537. Did he wait while you wrote it?— I wrote it in the barrack-room, and met him that evening and gave it to him, or the next morning, in the street. 7539. Did he dictate something like the wording of the report that would be acceptable to him?— He gave an idea of what should be said, but did not dictate it”?— I said, as I say now, what was required was the names of the men, the time they were engaged, and how they performed their duty, as Mr. Nicolson would put a favorable entry on their sheet. I then walked out of the barrack-room to the office. I did not say I would not accept it; I said that was what was required.
14135 But you refused the other because certain matter was in it?— I took it back to Mullane and showed him the mistake.
14136 You handed back the report?— I handed back the report, because he asked for it.
14137 You told him what you wanted, and he prepared another report?— Yes.
14138 How do you account for the fact that you gave him back the report, the first report that he wrote, saying that would not do, and the second you returned saying that would not do, and you told him how to write the third report — according to your own statement;—how do you account for having all that knowledge before you in writing, and not allowing your superior officer to know it?— From the time I received this from Mullane I walked to the barrack-room and told Barry what I wanted, and he then said, “Why did not Mullane tell us that?”
14139 But here is the point—you forgot to give in that report?— He asked that back from me.
14140 What right had you to give it to him—that was his report?— I do not know what right I had, but I did not call for the report; it was Mullane.....
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