Royal Commission report day 49 page 11

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 6/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see introduction to day 49)

Sup John Sadleir giving evidence

16729 As an old officer of police, what is your own opinion of the suitability of the two Sherritts for the police force?— One I had never seen, but I should have nothing to do with men connected with the criminal class.

16730 You have seen Jack Sherritt?— Yes; there is nothing physically objectionable in Jack.

16731 I am asking about his suitability for the police force. What is your opinion, as a superintendent of police, of the suitability of a man of Jack Sherritt's bearing and character for the police force?— I do not think he is at all suitable. Any man with criminal connections or under any doubt about character I think ought not to be in the force.

16732 Did you recommend him?— No. I said to Captain Standish if he was taken on I hoped he would not be sent to my district.

16733 Having been taken on, do you think it was right to dismiss him?— I think I would have asked the sanction of the Government, but I would not have been content with a man like him in the police force; and I am sure that respectable members of the police force would not have liked it if he had been taken on.

16734 By Mr. Nicolson — Do you think it right to have sent him away after if they were innocent?— Yes; I think it was a dishonor to the force to have a man of that type in the force at all, however innocent he may be.

16735 By the Commission— Have not members of the police been guilty of objectionable acts, though not of so serious a matter as robbery?— You would have to mention the offence.

16736 Do you think that frequenters of brothels, members of the force, are desirable men who ought to be retained?— I think it is a very disgraceful thing frequenting brothels.

16737 Are they desirable men to be retained in the police force?— I think they would do better to marry respectable wives, and live chastely.

16738 Would you recommend their continuance in the force?— I have known something of that sort—a case of a man living in concubinage. It was put to the constable in that case either to marry the girl or leave the service. That was a case in point. Of course I think it is very disgraceful conduct on the part of a constable or officer frequenting brothels.

16739 And those are acts they are responsible for?— Yes.

16740 More so than Sherritt would be for the conduct of his father, or mother, or relations?— Yes.

16741 By Mr. Nicolson— Will you look at this paragraph in Mr. Hare's report of 2nd July 1880 , re the Kelly gang:— “I received orders from you at the end of May that I was to proceed at once to Benalla to relieve Mr. Nicolson. I accordingly, on the 2nd June, went up there. I arrived at Benalla at about 11 o'clock that day. I saw Messrs. Nicolson , Sadleir, and O’Connor in the office. After some conversation on general subjects, Mr. Nicolson produced a letter he had received from you, directing him to give me all the information he had obtained concerning the Kelly gang during his stay at Benalla. He showed me the state of his financial account with one of his agents, and said there was nothing owing to any of the others. He opened a drawer and showed me a number of papers and the correspondence which had taken place during his stay at Benalla, and said, “You can get all the information from these papers.” He gave me no verbal information whatever, but said, ' Mr. Sadleir can tell you all I know concerning the movements of the outlaws.' He left the office, and I never spoke to him again, and he went to Melbourne by the evening train. The principal agent employed by Mr. Nicolson I had appointed to meet me that evening. He was one who was considered the best man they had. After talking with him a few minutes, he positively refused to work for me or have anything to do with me, although he had accompanied the police from Beechworth the previous day for the purpose of having an interview with me.” Is that statement he gave no verbal information whatever true and correct?— No, I do not consider that correct. I have already been examined very fully on that subject.

16742 This statement, “He left the office, and I never spoke to him again, and he went to Melbourne by the evening train.” Is it implied by that that I left the office leaving him behind; that I went to Melbourne without any further communication?— If that is implied, it is wrong. Mr. Hare left the office before you did.

16743 Whom did Mr. Hare leave behind in the office?— He left you and me.

16744 Did I see Mr. Hare again in the course of that day?— Yes; I think it was brought to my mind that you came to the door to ask him to come to dinner, but that was all that passed.

16745 By the Commission— What was Mr. Hare's reply?— That he would go; but that was in the afternoon, and nothing to do with the period when they were explaining matters.....

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