Royal Commission report day 10 page 6

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/4/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 10)

Sup John Sadlier giving evidence

1774 Before going to that, perhaps it would be as well for you to clear up the statement made by Mr. Nicolson as to when you met Captain Standish and Mr. Nicolson at Beechworth—was Mr. Nicolson made aware of the information that you had obtained and of the mode you intended to adopt?— Well, I thought so at the time, but I found out afterwards he was not—he was away searching about a horse— there was some mistake.

1775 Will you look at Mr. Nicolson's evidence on from question 361. He speaks about a great noise because of the great party, and so on?— You cannot take a party over a rocky hill like that without that.

1776 Who was responsible for bringing this large party together?— It was an accident. When the information was received by me, I did not know really what police there were at Benalla, and I did not know how many I could get from Taylor 's Gap. Six was what I expected, and as I thought I could make sure of six, and I thought with what they could bring from Benalla, we should have had just enough. It turned out that we got the whole of those at Taylor 's Gap.

1777 How many?— Thirteen. I think there were some more somehow. There was no account taken that morning—the men met us as we travelled—we could not stop them. We did not know of their presence till we met them in the bush.

1778 How many would there be altogether?— I think our whole party would be about thirty-five, including reporters.

1779 You do not agree with the statement that there were fifty?— No; yet it may be correct. I could find out exactly, but these things are very troublesome to find out exactly.

1780 You and Captain Standish and Mr. Nicolson were with this particular party, and Mr. Nicolson states that, after starting from Beechworth, you and Captain Standish travelled on the way together, and he knew nothing about what you were going out for; and that there was a confidential conversation between you two in which he was not included until the party arrived in the front of the first hut?— I do not think Mr. Nicolson meant that.

1781 Is it a fact that Mr. Nicolson had received no information from you who, he says, was in charge of that particular party, until you arrived in sight of the first hut?— Well, in the first place, Mr. Nicolson had received a telegram. That is the foundation, and when explaining matters more fully on their arrival at the platform, I thought Mr. Nicolson was standing by—my impression was that he was standing by, and naturally would catch up what was said, and I took it for granted that he heard, as well as Captain Standish, what I said, which was simply an enlargement of the telegram I sent.

1782 If Mr. Nicolson is under the impression that he was designedly excluded from the conversation, he is mistaken?— Yes, he is. I was saying that that was the first time I met Aaron Sherritt, going down to Mrs. Byrne's house from Sherritt's house. Sherritt's house is on the table-land, and we got down the gully, and at the foot of it a little way off is Mrs. Byrne's, and there we met Aaron Sherritt for the first time.

1783 Did any of the officers in charge of that party have any conversation with Aaron Sherritt at that time?— Yes, we all had.

1784 Was Aaron Sherritt at that time asked to assist the police in the capture of the Kelly gang?— I will state what I know about it and that will cover that. I was informed who he was by one of the police, and that he was a likely man to know about the Kellys. I spoke to him and asked him just to do what he could to assist us, and made certain promises which I forget. I was a stranger to him and he was not satisfied with my authority. I then called, I think, first to Mr. Nicolson and asked him to come and speak with him, and I think he was still uncertain about whether we had any authority. I then told him of Captain Standish, and I asked Captain Standish to speak with him. I think we were out of hearing of the police standing around us, but they could see all that we were doing. He seemed to promise. I expected that he would do something, in fact there was a promise to that effect from him.(JJK)

1785 Did you agree on the terms then?— We came to an understanding. I do not know what the terms were.

1786 You were present and the first to speak to Aaron Sherritt?— I think I was—I am pretty sure of it.

1787 Was the conversation in the hearing of other men?— I cannot be certain about it. I cannot understand myself talking to a man in that strain in the hearing of the men; but I cannot say for certain.

1788 You have been a long time in charge of the district, the responsible officer, and you ought to be able to say whether you would ask a man, a perfect stranger, in the hearing of others, to assist you?— I say that, from my experience, I do not think I would do such a thing; I should instinctively refrain from so doing.

1789 To the best of your recollection, you did?— To the best of my recollection, there was no person within hearing who ought not to have been......

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