Royal Commission report day 13 page 11

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The Royal Commission evidence for 14/4/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 13)

Superintendent Sadeir giving evidence

2899 It was a mere question of yours to do the best?— I was greatly gratified at getting this trouble over that we had had on our hands for two or three years, and I was inclined to act liberally, and I know the effect has been most beneficial to the public peace. I had the thanks of those people since, both for that and for following a fair moderate course towards them; they have conveyed to me their messages direct that if I had pursued the course they had anticipated—that was a harassing course, pushing the law to the utmost, or, perhaps, going beyond the law—that there were eight or nine men prepared to break out, and we should have had the same trouble in an aggravated form again. I have ascertained since, too, that the vapouring and threatening that were said to have been over those bodies was confined to one or two drunken men, and it was put down by the real friends of the Kellys themselves as unseemly and uncalled for. The most dangerous of that crowd were the first to say the police had done their duty simply and you ought to be thankful for the kindness you have experienced. Of course these are mere reports, second hand, and to be taken for just what they are worth. I was anxious for the inquest upon all the bodies, especially Cherry's, as he was a man against whom there was no accusation, and about whose death there might be some serious question. It was impossible to arrange it. Mr. Wyatt had some private business at Seymour , as well as public business, and before he could return some necessity arose, I forget what it was, to have the bodies all disposed of and buried.

2900 Where the coroner is in the district, is it not more desirable and more recording to law to have the coroner's inquest as distinguished from the magisterial?— Certainly, but the rule is departed from every day.

2901 What is the difference of the effect in law?— No difference in effect. I think there is a greater security to the public in the coroner's inquest than in the ordinary magisterial enquiry, but, eventually, they both lead to the same result if fairly conducted. The magistrate, upon hearing the evidence of witnesses concerning the death of any one, can issue his warrant for the arrest of the person inculpated; but the coroner has a further power. He can issue his warrant for the committal, but, in effect, there it very little difference. Usually, in spite of the coroner's warrant of committal and case is brought before the police court, as if the coroner had not interfered in the matter.

2902 To whom does the result of the magisterial enquiry go—does it go to the coroner of the district?— No, the Crown Law officers direct; they are sent usually to the police to forward direct to the Crown Law officers. That is so in my district, but there is some variety, I believe.

2903 If Mr. Wyatt did not agree with the magisterial enquiry, would he have the power as coroner to order a fresh enquiry absolutely of his own action?— Of course, certainly. I spoke to Mr. Wyatt after the affair, and he seemed satisfied. I wrote to him, and spoke to him afterwards in Melbourne about it.

2904 What was the magisterial finding in the case of Cherry?— Shot by the police in the execution of their duty.

2905 And in the case of Byrne?— That he was shot as an outlaw. The evidence of Constable McIntyre was taken, the proclamation of the Government declaring them outlaws, the whole of the official papers from the Gazette were shown and read before the magistrate.

2906 Who was the magistrate?— Mr McBean. (JJK)

2907 Was Captain Standish on the bench?— Yes.

2908 The report of the magisterial enquiry in that case is what he puts as being his finding in that case?— Yes.

2909 At the coroner's enquiry the jury is sworn?— Yes.

2910 And the evidence taken and they find s verdict?— Yes. I may say I do not like answering the foolish rumours that appear in the press, but there is one thing personal to myself. One writer connected with the Melbourne press on the ground that day stated afterwards that I was off the ground, and that the men and police were without my control. Now I can only account for that in this way, and that upon the report of others, that the gentleman was not upon the ground at all himself.

2911 You can say it is not a fact?— It is a downright lie, a most annoying lie to me.

2912 You cannot tell who wrote it?— I can, I know Mr. Carrington wrote it. I would like to give my most emphatic denial to that. According to some other gentlemen of the press, Mr. Carrington was away off the field altogether—he found it too hot and went away to Mr. McDonnell's, and I wish to add further that I do not know him and he does not know me. I think he is mistaking me for some one else. I received from the Governor, through Captain Standish, the usual thanks on those occasions.

2913 You mentioned, in the early part of your evidence, and you told Mr. Hare when he came up, you could not assist him con amore as formerly, but you would do your best. Was there anything said by Mr. Hare about the disposal of those agents upon his coming into the district?— Mr. Hare spoke to me about that telegram we were considering yesterday, as to the dismissal of the agents. He asked me if I understood what it meant. I did not understand what it meant, looking at it in that light as the dismissal of agents. I have not seen the telegram, but he told me of it.

2914 You stated he had an interview with Detective Ward?— Mr. Hare spoke of that as the dismissal of the agents, and I could give no information about it.

2915 What was the cause of the coolness between you and Mr. Hare on that occasion?— There was no coolness, we were very good friends......

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