Royal Commission report day 42 page 22

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The Royal Commission evidence for 3/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 42)

Mr John Sherritt Jn giving evidence

14967 Did you make an appointment for you to go out to any particular place?— He was to come to our place when they were going to fight, and he said if Aaron was there he would make us go and fight the—police.

14968 Did he come back?— No, he did not.

14969 Did you see them after that date?— No. I had seen him so many times that I cannot tell in what order they came.

14970 Was that the only time you informed the police they were to be at a certain place—the one you speak of just now?— I informed the police several times; I saw three of the outlaws come from Mrs. Byrne's, over by the Chinese camp, where I believe they purchased some things. I informed the police the next morning.

14971 Whom did you inform ?— Ward , I think.

14972 Do you know whether they took any steps to trace them .?— There could have been no steps taken

14973 Was it not possible for the police to have taken steps to endeavor to follow them without your knowledge?— They could not go without my knowledge. I am not aware of any steps being taken. On another occasion I saw the Chinaman at the Chinese store, E Fang; I was in there one day. I was fetching a lot of bark down to Sebastopol . He can talk very good English; I can understand every word he says. He called Joe Byrne Ah Joe, and my brother was known as Ah Jim; they could not say Aaron . He said, “Last night me see Ah Joe come along with Ah Jim to the store.” He said, “Him welly bad man before he shot policeman; him shoot policeman and kill him Chinaman.” They got a bottle of gin and some tobacco, and something else, and went away. You might think that my brother was with them, but the police knew where he was with them this night; but this man it appeared to me was Ned Kelly who was with them; Joe Byrne was, no doubt, because the Chinamen knew him well, because he used to pelt them and hammer them with stones.

14974 Did you report that?— Yes, I did; I told Mr. Nicolson about it, and he said he would adopt some plan to catch them.

14975 How soon after did you report that?— Immediately afterwards.

14976 On every occasion you came across them and became possessed of information you lost no time in communicating with the police?— I lost no time, and never hid anything from the police,

14977 Did you remain it that district till the capture?— Yes.

14978 And giving the police the same character of information all the time?— Yes.

14979 After the capture of the Kellys , what did you do then?— I was at the capture myself.

14980 How did you come to be on the ground?— Well, the same night my brother was shot, so many of the police went down to his house and stopped there; that was on the Sunday night. Sometime through the night a telegram came that the outlaws had surrounded Glenrowan and Mr. Hare was wounded, so I went. Mullane or Ward told me to go and fetch the men up, and I lost no time. I was only thirty minutes going the twelve miles.

14981 Were you serving with the police at that time?— Yes, but I was getting very little for it.

14982 Were you enlisted at that time?— No, only what they call an agent.

14983 It was not known that you were in the pay of the police to outsiders?— No, it was known to nobody.

14984 About the shooting of your brother, can you assign any reason why the Kelly gang should have shot your brother?— The only reason I can assign is, I believe (this is my own opinion), that if they had him out of the road they could go anywhere they liked, and could visit Mrs. Byrne 's.

14985 Did they know that he was acting with the police?— Well, I believe they had a suspicion he was acting with the police, but they did not know where or how.

14986 It was in consequence of their belief that they were desirous of making away with him?— Yes.

14987 It did not arise, in your opinion, from the fact that your brother had been previously paying his addresses to one of the Byrne girls, and had married another girl?— No, I do not think so.

14988 Do you know whether he broke off the acquaintance or she broke it off?— He broke it off himself

14989 After you had remained in Beechworth for some time, when did you leave—how long after the capture?— I think about a week afterwards.

14990 What reason did you leave Beechworth for?— After my being at Glenrowan, I was seen on that morning going up with the police carrying breech-loaders, and was seen by all the Woolshed people, and I was known at Glenrowan, and I was afraid I would be shot. I would be shot now— Mrs. Byrne would shoot me herself, she has such a down on me—she placed such confidence in me about those letters.....

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