The Argus at KellyGang 12/5/1881

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(full text transcription)


Wednesday, May 11

Present - Messrs Longmore (chairman), Graves , Gibb, Fincham, Anderson , and Hall, MLA's, and Mr Dixon.

Constable Faulkner further deposed, - Was one of the party sent in disguise to the Whorouly Races, when it was believed Joe Byrne was to run a horse there. They did not use the usual police saddles and bridles. Was not aware that one of the horses ridden by the police was well known as bearing the "GVS." brand. Witness, who was one of the cave party that watched Mrs Byrne's house, had reported in writing to Senior- constable Mullane that the existence of the party was known to the outlaws. Two of these reports, which were written after the cave party was broken up, were returned to him, and he believed that he had been wanted to write reports of a different effect to order. Detective Ward had asked him to withdraw his reports, but he did not think he was required to furnish other than truthful reports. [Report from Constable M'Hugh produced, to the effect that the existence of the cave party was not known to Mrs. Byrne or her family.] Witness could not have truthfully reported that Ward had required him to send in reports that would suit Mr Nicolson, by suppressing the statement that the existence of the cave party was known to the outlaws or their friends. Other constables - Daniel Barry, for instance - who made similar reports to witness had them returned. [Report produced from Constable Barry, stating that the existence of the cave party had not been known to the Byrne family.]

Constable Daniel Barry, called, produced two other reports written by himself, which reports, however, were not read.

Constable Faulkner - The cave party was specially instructed to maintain secrecy. Witness believed that the outlaws received much assistance from Chinese settlers. Ned Kelly, after his capture, led witness to believe that. Kelly also said to him - "The idea of Mr Hare being picked out to catch me. I can tell every place he stopped at on the Warby Ranges , and who caught the horses every morning." That conversation occurred when Ned was being conveyed to Beechworth. Kelly, continuing to refer to Mr Hare, said, "I would have liked to have caught the fat ---. What was ----(meaning a police agent) doing in Benalla? I suppose he was giving you fat ---- work. Witness believed the Warby Ranges to be the outlaws' stronghold, and the country by Glenrowan and Greta.

To Superintendent Hare - When searching the Warby Ranges with Mr Hare, frequent fresh traces of men were seen. Once information was received that the Kellys had passed through Wangaratta, Sergeant Steele, in charge of the party receiving the information, took the opposite direction to that indicated by the informant. Inspector Brook Smith was in charge at Wangaratta then.

To the Commission - witness believed Aaron Sherritt was shot because he gave in- formation to the police, not because he had courted and not married a sister of Joe Byrne. The constables in the district were never warned by the officers that the out- laws had armour.

To Detective Ward -There was some unpleasantness between Senior-constable Mulane and some of the constables of the cave party about the reports being returned. Ward told Barry, witness, and one or two others, that the reports they had sent in would never suit Mr Nicolson, and that he wanted a re- port of what they knew themselves, so that Mr Nicolson could put a favourable entry on the record sheet regarding the men. Ward asked the constables to report as to how they carried out the instructions as to secrecy themselves. Then witness sent in his third report, but refused in his mind to withdraw his two previous reports. Never told Ward the two previous reports might be destroyed. Ward said Mr Nicolson only wanted a report so as to be able to make a favourable entry on the record-sheet. Ward returned Barry's report to him.

Detective Ward stated he returned some of the reports, and understood that they were useless.

The commission adjourned until Friday, when they will meet at Benalla.  

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