Royal Commission report day 46 page 9

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The Royal Commission evidence for 30/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 46)

F. C. Standish giving evidence

15939 To be absolutely responsible for business of that sort, you must have the power to follow your own judgment?— Yes.

15940 Was my position there that of the responsible officer in the Kelly business?— No; because you must see yourself that it was necessary to have somebody to conduct the ordinary affairs, because in the charge of an enormous district like yours, if you had been in charge of the Kelly pursuit also, you would have had to neglect the supervision of your district.

15941 By the Commission— How far would that authority rest with Mr. Sadleir, because we have it in evidence that when Mr. Nicolson was in the district it was the duty of Mr. Sadleir to act in the absence of Mr. Nicolson on any information he received. When that happened would it be necessary for him to communicate with Mr. Nicolson?— If Mr. Nicolson was at Benalla, of course it would be, but if he was away, some way off, and he could not communicate with him by telegram, it was Mr. Sadleir's duty to act upon any valuable information he might have received.

15942 By Mr. Sadleir— I accept that position. Will you state (you have known me since ;you joined the service in 1858) what is my character as an officer, publicly and privately?— Privately you and I have always been on the best of terms, and publicly I have always found you a very active and efficient officer, and have never had any fault to find with you.

15943 You say an efficient officer?— A very efficient officer.

15944 What is the practice of the police service as regards records in the constables' sheets in the country; is it to make them known to constables or not?— No; they are not communicated to the constables, except when a man has done a very gallant or heroic deed. He is then informed that an entry has been made, but that is only if the man has really distinguished himself, and I think that is only right.

15945 The rule of the service is not to make known an ordinary matter that may be entered?— No.

15946 If I departed from that rule, would I not be held blamable?— I may say that it is a custom of the department, not a written law.

15947 There is a law that the record sheets are merely to be prepared in the Superintendent's office, and forwarded to the head office?— Yes.

15948 Does not that imply the dealing with those papers in a more secret manner than the ordinary correspondence?— They are generally kept dark; but if a man has done anything specially gallant or heroic, he is informed of the entry.

15949 But, as a rule, they are confined to the Chief Commissioner and the Superintendent. Will you look at this correspondence—the report of Senior-Constable Kelly at question 8314—and will you read this in connection with it—[referring to a letter dated 18th September 1880]?—[The witness read the same.]

15950 Will you say whether I dealt with that matter fairly or not?— I think I left the department on September 13th.

The Chairman — I think the object is to ask whether Mr. Sadleir has treated Senior-Constable Kelly fairly.

Mr. Sadleir — Yes, that is the point. Captain Standish has had twenty-three or twenty-four years experience.

By the Commission — I will read the letter.

Police Department, Superintendent's Office,

Benalla, September 18th 1880 .


For information of the Assistant Commissioner of Police I had arranged to send Senior-Constable Kelly to Greta to form a station there, with three other mounted constables, but at once, when I informed him of this, he asked to be relieved from the duty. He is the only sub-officer I have available. I admit that the senior-constable's reasons have some weight, and that his past services have been satisfactory. His conduct now, nevertheless, is calculated to discourage others, and I am obliged to employ an ordinary constable on a duty that this sub-officer does not think it prudent to undertake. I shall be glad to have a bold active single sub-officer in his place.



The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Melbourne.

The Witness — I think Mr. Sadleir has stated very fairly that he wanted to leave.

15951 By Mr. Sadleir— What I want you to say is whether that entry of mine, in question 8333, is a fair one or not, under the circumstances?—[ The witness read the same.]—I do not quite understand this. I do not see if he applied for transfer, and you recommended it, that that would be an expression of disapproval of his conduct.....

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