The Argus at KellyGang 13/5/1879
THE MONK INQUIRY
[BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH]
(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER )
The Monk inquiry was resumed this morn ing, Mr Panton, PM , presiding and the parties being represented as before. Three hours were occupied by the clerk of the court in reading over Mr Monk’s depositions, correcting them, and supplying points in the evidence which had been omitted.
Mr Monk, re examined by Mr Panton, valued his dam at £60 or £70. Five men were employed for over six days in repairing it after it was broken down and also a man and dray at 15s per day. Paid the men an average of 30s each per week. A month's work was laid out on the embankment as it now stands before it broke away. Paid the men £11 to raise it 2ft. Altogether the dam had cost him over what he stated. Amongst the cattle which had strayed or been let go out and driven away were some steers and calves which were in a paddock, the slip rails of which were let down. The other cattle which strayed were not fenced in. Considered that payment for two tons of hay he supplied to the police and search party was included in the £50 he first received for the police, as also for a five acre paddock of English grass which had been used or trodden down by the same parties. When the dam was broken down Constable Neville, who had been at witness's house for an hour or two, drew witness's attention to the rush of water that came down when the embankment gave way. The occurrence took place about 5 p m. Constable Love was away at the time. Only a portion of the picket of nails was lost from the valise on his galloping home. The remainder was taken from the valise by some one on his arrival.
To Mr Smyth -Was paid for no pay outside of the £70, the sum which he first received from the police. The police com plained about the quality of the provisions witness was giving them. All the accounts due to him by the police were paid three weeks ago, and his own charges were allowed. They were settled two weeks previous to the appearance of his letter on the subject in the press. Witness gave the first threatening letter he received after Lynch's conviction, and which was dated 23rd March to Sub- inspector Pewtress and not to the press. Before handing it over to Mr Pewtress, how ever, he showed it to a number of private persons. The first publication of it which he saw was in The Argus. The second one was dated 23rd April, and he gave it to Sub- inspector Toohey. Previously showed it to several persons, but not to one connected with the press. Did not see it published m any newspaper. The third one was dated 2nd April, and was sent by him for publication to the Mansfield Guardian with instruc tions that it should be handed over to the police. The fourth was dated 18th April, and was handed into the Guardian office by witness himself.
Mr Smyth-So much, then for the annoyance you suffered from seeing the threatening letters in print.
To Mr O'Leary. - He objected to the presence of the police at his place because they lay in bed in the morning and his wife was put to inconvenience by having to keep them breakfasts hot. They also used to spend their evenings in his men's hut, and leave their arms in the kitchen. He referred more particularly to Constables Craddock and Douglas. They likewise went frequently out wallaby-shooting a mile distant, and were consequently no protection. One night he had to interfere between Constable Potter and one of his own men, who were fighting together. He also objected to the police because they wanted drink. They obtained drink in spite of him, and got drunk. Con stables Strachan and Potter were sometimes drunk. Constable Potter was drunk on Christmas Day. Witness reported the conduct of the men verbally to their officers, but declined to sign a report, as he did not wish to have them dismissed. On the Monday after New Year's Day reported Love, because he had got drunk again, and had when at tea insulted both witness and his wife most grossly. Potter accused him of having reported the matter to the officers, but afterwards said he had found that it had been his mate, Constable Love, who made the report, and apologised for his conduct. Accepted the apology, but did not tell Potter he (witness) had brought his conduct under the notice of the officers. Potter wanted to have a fresh mate on the Wombat-Neville, instead of Love.
Mr Smyth -To what officer of police, and when did you complain that the constables were away at your mens hut, leaving their firearms loose about the premises, and your place unprotected?
Witness -To neither of them
Mr Smyth -Did you ever complain, and to which officer, that the constables were away shooting wallabies, leaving your place unprotected?
Witness -To neither I never complained of that.
Mr Smyth -What complaint then, did you make?
Witness - Of their being drunk Mr Smyth -To whom?
Witness - I made one about Strachan being drunk to Mr Toohey, who said, " I knew him well in Geelong. He is not much good. I know he is given to drink, but I'll try and give you a better man." That was about a fortnight or three weeks after the police murders.
Mr Smyth - I don’t want you to be led into any mistake. The murders were in the end of October, and Mr Joohey was not here until 16th December, how, then, could your have made this complaint to him three weeks after the murders?
Witness - Oh I can't tell accurately as to dates. I wish to correct my evidence in this respect-that at the time I complained to Mr Toohey Constable Strachan was not at my place. Strachan had left my place long before Mr Toohey came into the district.
Mr Smyth - When he had left your place before Mr Toohey came to the district what did you mean by saying that Mr Toohey stated that he knew Strachan was given to drink, and that he would get you a better man in his place?
Witness - I made a mistake in confounding Potter with Strachan. It was Potter I was complaining of, not Strachan.
Mr Smyth - Potter then, was the man Toohey said he knew in Geelong?
Witness - No Strachan.
Mr O'Leary asked Mr Panton to make allowance for the manner in which the witness was giving his evidence in consideration of the long examination and re examinations to which he had been subjected.
Mr Panton assured Mr O'Leary that he had sufficient experience of witnesses to judge of the present one.
Witness continued - It was during a conversation about Potter that Strachans name was mentioned, and it was then that Toohey said he knew Strachan in Geelong. Told Mr Toohey about Strachan, but never made a formal complaint about him. Complained to Mr Pewtress who told him after wards that be had communicated with Superintendent Sadlier on the subject, but that Mr Sadlier had directed that Monk should sign a written declaration about Strachan's intemperance. Mr Pewtress then requested witness to make his complaint about Strachan in writing. Believed he did so, but was not sure Mr Pewtress, at all events immediately changed the men. (The question, "Did he refuse to put the charge in writing," was repeated, and the witness this time re plied in the affirmative.) The next complaint he made was regarding Potter. Did not remember which officer he complained to, but thought it was to Mr Toohey. The complaint was that Potter had accused him of laying information against him, and of having charged him with taking grog to Wombat; that he quarreled with witness at his own table; that he got drunk, and that he insulted himself and his wife. Was told to put this complaint in writing, but declined, as he did not wish to injure the man. He made no other complaint to the officers than these two.
To Mr O'Leary - During his dealings with the police Sub inspector Toohey once said he would get him made a JP. (Laughter) It was when in conversation with Mr Toohey that he mentioned the fact of the constables having, been drunk.
This concluded Mr Monk's evidence and he now made a statutory declaration that it was true and correct.
August Spehr, recalled and examined by Mr Smyth - On Saturday, the 26th ult, advised Monk not to go home alone, as the road was so lonely and offered to accompany him for his protection. The offer was bond fide, but it was declined. Witness was somewhat under the influence of liquor.
To Mr O'Leary - When he offered protection to Monk, witness had no firearms. The road from Mansfield to the Broken River was a much frequented track, and there were farms along it to within a mile of the river. Monk, whom he had known for nine years, was a generous, honourable, and straight- forward man, whose word witness always found reliable.
This witness having also made a statutory declaration, the inquiry was adjourned until next day.
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