Royal Commission report day 50 page 9

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 50)

[[../../people/peN_P/nicolsonPAC.html|Ass Com Charles Hope Nicolson]] giving evidence

16895 Is it possible that Sherritt could have been confusing the two occurrences of the 13 th November and the 23rd, as noted on the printed list of appearances?— From the copy I gave you from my memorandum-book we believed at the time that that other visit was to tell Sherritt not to meet Joe Byrne, as appointed, at Evans's Gap. It had nothing to do with the banks. By the printed paper you will see that, on the 27th, Joe Byrne himself visits the Sherritts' hut, and tells them that, and tells Sherritt not to meet him, and explains the cause of Dan Kelly 's previous visit on the 13th. He said that he sent Dan for that purpose-to tell him not to meet them at Evans's Gap. I saw that Jack Sherritt was very timid, and that it would not do for him to come in contact with those men. He was utterly wanting in sufficient nerve for that. He was very much afraid of their coming and carrying him off as a scout, and I always took every care of the people I employed, so I arranged, for his protection against that, that he should sleep in their garden. As I have already stated, he said in his evidence the outlaws proposed to attack Beechworth, and that I prevented that. Some of my instructions here to him explain the meaning of that. They wanted Jack to join them; but it was quite out of the question to think of Jack pretending to agree to join them in such an exploit. I therefore told him to convey through his agent, Patsy Byrne , or himself, that he was afraid to attack Beechworth. I particularly enjoined him to say it was not for fear of the police, but just to express a general fear that it was too big a place to go into. From the information that I got through this man I ascertained the designs of the outlaws upon many other places, and I was able to take various precautions against them. I had no idea of encouraging them to attack a bank. I knew their intention was to go into the bank, and enter the manager's room, and cover him with a pistol, even if he was a married man with his family, and to shoot him if he would not give up the keys; and if he had one key, and the accountant or clerk living in another house had another, two of them were to remain with him, and the other two to go to where this accountant or clerk lived, and shoot him if he did not give up the key. They were not to stick at bloodshed in the least; and then they were to come and rob the bank, and carry off the spoil. That was the agreement. They were all most bloodthirsty characters. I had no objection to their taking Aaron on a ride into New South Wales , I arranging that he would send back a telegram, stating where he was going to, but I never encouraged them to attack a bank. I knew what the circumstances would be-that there would be bloodshed; and I knew it was quite contrary to our principles, and to law, and would lay an officer who agreed to such a proposal open to a charge of wilful murder.....

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