Royal Commission report day 52 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 9/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 52)

[[../../people/peB/brookeSmithPinsp.html|Insp Brooke Smith]] giving evidence

17469 Do you positively assert now that you have no recollection of having yourself gone down to the bridge and seen no traces of those men?— I am perfectly certain that there were no traces of any kind or sort, and I went to both bridges, and I think the person I took with me is still alive and up there.

17470 You were here when Constable Twomey gave his evidence last night?— Yes.

17471 You stated at the conclusion of his evidence that he was a man thoroughly reliable and whose word might be believed?— That is true.

17472 His statement was most emphatic on that particular that he himself went down, discovered the traces there, reported the matter to you, and that no action was taken. How can you reconcile that statement with the one just made?— I do not know whether he knows that action was taken or not. At the time I was informed of this affair by, I think, Constable Walsh, I had no party.

17473 Those sheets show otherwise?— I was not in command of that party; the party was taken away from me.

17474 The sheets show those men were at Wangaratta?— But I had no control; I could not take parties out like that.

17475 Why?— Because Mr. Nicolson was in charge.

17476 Did not your superior officer expect you, being the officer there, to pursue the gang in such a case?— I say most distinctly I know I would not take a party out without leave.

17477 Even though you knew the desperadoes had just passed there?— I cannot help that, I could not do it, I would if I was in my own district.

17478 Do you remember Constable Twomey's statement about the tracks?— I cannot, but I did not see the tracks when I went there.

17479 Under whose instructions did you go in the search party on the 6th?— Mr. Nicolson's.

17480 By verbal instructions?— Yes, this is the first written order I received dated the 9th.

17481 By whose instructions did you start on the 6th?— To Yarrawonga, by Mr. Nicolson's.

17482 By written instructions?— Verbal instructions.

17483 Then the statements made by Constable Twomey and by Sergeant Steele that those tracks were seen by several persons you do not believe—are we to understand that?— The person may be a very much superior tracker to myself. I was travelling along with Senior-Constable Johnson and Dixon, and they saw tracks that I could not see at all, I could see no marks whatever.

17484 Did you see Mrs. Delaney yourself?— No.

17485 Did you see the boy?— I did not.

17486 Did you treat the information so coolly as not yourself to make enquiry of the persons who had given it?— I did not believe it, I cannot say any more than that. It might have been an error and it might not, but I do not believe it now.

17487 You have read the evidence of Sergeant Steele on this matter?— No, I have not, I have only seen Senior-Constable Johnson's.

17488 Sergeant Steele makes a statement to this effect, that on his way to Rat's Castle. Twomey saw him at the station, told him that four men had crossed under the bridge some short time before, and that he told Twomey to inform Mr. Brooke Smith and for him to take action. Do you think that Sergeant Steele's instructions were so imperative but that he ought to have taken action in the matter rather than leave it to you, who had three foot police and three mounted men?— Certainly. If he was aware of it he ought to have gone himself.

17489 He was in a better position to follow those men than you were?— Unquestionably he was.

17490 Although Walsh informed you of this statement made by the woman and her son that the men had crossed under the bridge. Were you aware that Twomey was strongly impressed that they were the outlaws?— I was not; I did not know about Delaney and son. I was told by Walsh about a person living in a brick house by the bridge. ....

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