The Argus at KellyGang 26/7/1881

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(full text transcription)




The Police Commission held a sitting here to-day at the court house, there being present Mr Longmore (chairman), Mr Anderson, and Mr Gibb. Several officers of the police were also present.

Several communications had been received, and some evidence had been previously given reflecting upon the Wangaratta police for alleged remissness in following the outlaws on the 3rd November, 1878 , a few days after the murder of the police at the Wombat Ranges . From the evidence adduced it would appear that the outlaws were seen making for the One Mile Creek, which, though flooded at the time, they swam across, at great risk of being drowned. The information was shortly afterwards given to Sergeant Steele, who was then proceeding by special train to Beechworth, but as he was under distinct orders for particular duty, that officer referred the informant to Inspector Brook Smith, the result being that nothing was done in the way of following up the tracks.

Mr Laing , railway station master, gave particulars as to the special train which left for Glenrowan on the day the gang was destroyed, the object being to test the value of some material evidence given by a previous witness. Mr Marsden, clerk of the Bench, who was a passenger by the special train referred to, was examined in reference to certain charges made by several previous witnesses against Sergeant Steele, and also as to the precise circumstances of the capture of Ned Kelly. It was elicited that Sergeant Steele was the first to seize Kelly, and take his revolver, which he handed to Mr Marsden, by whom it was passed round for inspection.

A witness named Willis , a saddler, was called for the purpose of eliciting from him from whom he obtained his information respecting the presence of the police in Aaron Sherritt's hut prior to the murder. Mr Willis declined to give the name, but stated that his informant was not a constable. He further stated that at the time he had an order of the local bench against Aaron Sherritt for the supply of certain goods, and on proceeding to Beechworth, with a view to its being enforced, he heard that nearly every-one in Beechworth was aware of what has been called the hut party, which was supposed to have been kept a profound secret. Sergeant Steele was also examined upon various matters respecting his conduct at Glenrowan. He denied the charges made against him by Constables Arthur and Phillips, about having fired at either Mrs Jones or Mrs Reardon when they were endeavouring to effect their escape from the hotel. He admitted having shot young Reardon, but it was because he did not hold up his hands when commanded to do so.

The commission adjourned until Thursday, the 28th inst, and the members left by the afternoon train for Melbourne . 

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