Royal Commission report day 45 page 4

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The Royal Commission evidence for 10/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 45)

John Sherritt giving evidence

15369 How long was it in your mind after the cave party was formed, can you say—was it before your brother Aaron was married?— No, it was not.

15370 By Mr. Nicolson— When you went to Crawford's, and I sent for you to see me, did you not leave the service of the police there on account of your brother's quarrel?— No.

15371 Did you not go away to Melbourne against my will and knowledge, and contrary to the remonstrance of the police?— I do not think so.

15372 By the Commission— Did Mr. Nicolson remonstrate with you about going?— I do not think he did.

15373 Did Ward object to your going to Melbourne to run?— No.

15374 By Mr. Nicolson— My conversation with you—was it not asking you to return to the work, and make friends with your brother Aaron?— No, there was no quarrel; only just the one occasion on the one day.

15376 By the Commission— That was shortly after his marriage?— Yes.

15376 How long after, do you think—a month or six weeks?— I expect it would be about that. My duty to Mr. Nicolson was such that I was not bound to be all the time helping his men. I was to knock around, and he did not tell me I was not to go anywhere unaware of him. I was to go about just as usual, pretending I was working for myself, and not for the police.

15377 By Mr. Nicolson— Were you not working?— Very seldom.

15378 Were you not working with someone bark stripping?— Yes, but very seldom.

15379 By the Commission— Your engagement with Mr. Nicolson did not prevent your going to Sydney if you thought fit?— No, so long as I gave all the information.

15380 By Mr. Nicolson — Not quite so far as that. Were you not supposed to be following your ordinary occupation?— Yes.

15381 By the Commission— Was there an understanding with Mr. Nicolson that the whole of the time you were to be engaged with the police, and not in anything else?— I was to attend to the police as long as I was not detected. I had to do a little work—to make an appearance of work.

15382 Do you remember anything of this letter—[showing the witness an envelope]—addressed to Detective Ward?— I do not know that it is my handwriting.

15383 By the Commission— Is it your handwriting?— I do not know.

15384 By Mr. Nicolson— Do you remember giving a letter to Ward, about the beginning of September. I think that was before you ever met me at Wangaratta?— I gave Ward so many letters— about fifty or sixty.

15385 A letter that was given to you by a man of a certain description. There is a memo. here, stating that the letter was handed by you to Detective Ward, having been given to you by a man who asked you to put a stamp on it; do you remember that circumstance?— This handwriting on the envelops is not mine

15386 By the Commission— Do you remember giving that letter to Ward?— I do not know whether I posted that or not, but I can tell about the occurrence, and tell you what I told Ward and Mr. Nicolson. I told them I was harrowing up in my father's paddock, when a man came to me, whom I knew, and told me to post that letter for him and he would pay me for it.

15387 Who was he?— Joe Byrne; and he said he would shoot me if I told who it was. I did not tell Ward who it was, but I told Ward what he wanted me to tell him. I told Ward I did not know the man, and so I told Mr. Nicolson who it was—that it was Byrne.

15388 By Mr. Nicolson— Well, I did not know you at that time; I never saw you?— I am certain I told you that.

15389 You may have done so after you became acquainted with me. This is dated the 1 st September 1879 . I think it was the 13th September I first saw you.

15390 By the Commission (to Mr. Nicolson)— The question is: was the letter given to Ward on that date.

Mr. Nicolson — Yes; there is Ward's report about it. My instructions to Ward were, after its being received by Ward, that it was to be passed through the Beechworth post office and noted in the Ovens and Murray Advertiser that Ward had received a threatening letter from the outlaws.

15391 Did he at any future time tell you?— I found it out. It was not he that told me.....

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