Royal Commission report day 45 page 8

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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

15467 By Mr. Nicolson — Did I not make the proposition that you should hide in the garden, that the outlaws should not catch you?

The Chairman — That is not the point.

15468 By the Commission— was it known to Mr. Nicolson that the outlaws asked you to enquire about certain banks?— Yes, it was.

15469 Was it known to him that the outlaws expected you to help them?— Yes.

15470 Did Mr. Nicolson then, upon that knowledge, propose that you should continue that same appearance of helping them, until they would come to the bank, and he would capture them?— Yes, that was it.

15471 That proposal was made to you and your brother, you say?— Yes.

15472 And you and your brother were known to the police to have been asked by the outlaws to come with them for the purpose of giving them information?— Yes, and we got our portraits taken on this.

15473 That you declined because you were afraid of being shot?— Yes, and the outlaws did not know I was frightened of them; but Mr.Nicolson did; I told him so, and he told me to sleep in the garden.

Mr. Nicolson — I was determined I should not lead the outlaws into any trap that would bring bloodshed upon anyone except the police.

15474 By the Commission (to Mr. Nicolson)— You thought it better, for police purposes, for him to continue to deceive the outlaws till you laid your hands on them?— I saw he had not nerve to go, and was not-fit to go with them.

15475 By the Commission (to the Witness)— Last week you said the first time it was generally known your brother Aaron was assisting the police was at the time he was supposed to have been seen by a man of the name of Batchelor: Do you know the circumstances surrounding that. Was your brother engaged by the police to go to that particular spot and receive information about the outlaws?— Yes.

15476 Do you know of your own knowledge whether the police, Ward, Mr. Nicolson, or others, could have gone to the place indicated without the assistance of your brother?— No, they could not.

15477 They did not know the country sufficiently well?— No, and it was necessary to take my brother for that purpose.

15478 You have laid considerable stress on the fact that you, after being engaged by the police, were dismissed, and also made a very strong statement that Mr. Nicolson told you to clear out, or you would get into trouble. Did Mr. Nicolson, or any other officer of police, give you any letter of introduction to any one in this or the neighboring colony?— No, Mr. Nicolson did not give me any letter—he gave my brother William one.

15479 What did he do with that letter?— It was a letter of introduction to the Chief Commissioner of the Queensland Police.

15480 Do you know where he went after leaving here?— He went with this letter of introduction, but it was no good.

15481 Do you know of your own knowledge that he had a letter of recommendation?— I did not see it, it was in an envelope. He obtained it from Mr. Nicolson, it was supposed to be a recommendation, it was a sealed envelope addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Queensland .

15482 Did he give you one?— No.

15483 Did your brother ask for this one?— I think he did.

15484 To Mr. Nicolson— Have you got a copy of that?— No.

The Chairman — Well, I think we should telegraph to Queensland for a copy of that letter.

Mr. Nicolson — It was a private note addressed to the Chief Commissioner of Police and was received by him. I have no copy of it.

15485 By the Commission (to the witness)— Did not the letter refer to you also as well as your brother?— No, I think not. I did not propose to go to Queensland . I said I would stop about Melbourne .

15486 Do the Commission understand that about Christmas 1879—about the time Aaron was married—the outlaws were continually in the neighborhood of Sebastopol?— Yes.

15487 They were seen time after time?— Seen time after time.

The witness withdrew.....

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