Royal Commission report day 17 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 10/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 17)

Const Dowling giving evidence

4690 Was he to show the way always?— Yes

4691 Was he supposed to be in the pay of the police at that time?— I did not know.

4692 You only got instructions he would show the way when you had to go there?— Yes.

4693 Was he always about the premises?— Yes.

4694 Had he arms in the house?— No, he was not armed. He had no arms at all, unless he used the ones we were supplied with.

4695 Did he do so?— No.

4696 When you returned from Byrne's house in the morning, what did you generally do?— We; went to bed.

4697 Which bed?— On the floor of the hut.

4698 Not to Sherritt's bed?— No, in the kitchen we went.

4699 Was the door kept locked when you were in bed?— No, there were no locks on the door.

4700 Was it secured?— There was a stick on the inside.

4701 Was it shut in such a way as to prevent strangers coming in and seeing you?— No, anyone could come in and see we were there. They were in the habit of coming in there, but we were always on the alert and managed to get into the other room.

4702 Do you remember anyone coming into the room and seeing you?— No, not to see us.

4703 You never had any conversation with anyone who visited the house?— No, we had to remain in the bedroom for two hours sometimes.

4704 Did I understand you to say you were not aware of Sherritt's not being employed by the Government?— I was aware he was employed by the Government.

4705 But I understood you to say he was not fully employed by the party of which you formed a part?— No, I was not aware that he was.

4706 Was he engaged in any other sort of occupation whatever?— I believe he was engaged by the officers, I am not sure.

4707 I mean during the time you were resident in this house by day and down by the hut at night, were you not conscious that he formed one of the party, with the same object and purpose that you were employed for?— Yes, I was.

4708 You say you went into the bedroom frequently when strangers came into the kitchen?— Yes.

4709 Could you overhear the conversation?— We could.

4710 From that overhearing, were you led to believe that any of those persons who came to the house were sympathizers?— No.

4711 There was no conversation of importance with reference to the Kellys and their sympatbizers? — No.

4712 Was there anything to believe that the public knew you were in that house?— No; nothing passed by any of the visitors that came to the hut.

4713 Did they speak in a whisper as if some one was in?— They spoke in a very low tone of voice.

4714 Do you think that was to prevent anyone in the adjoining room hearing?— No; I do not know.

4715 Were the Byrnes there?— Paddy Byrne stood on the road the Sunday previous to Sherritt being shot.

4716 We have it in evidence that the old lady, Mrs. Byrne, used to go about—was Paddy Byrne the only one that seemed to be about there?— He was the only one I knew of.

4717 Did it occur to you that he was searching for the police?— I believe he was.

4718 Were the Sherritt and Byrne families on good terms?— Not that I was aware of; I never saw them holding any conversation.

4719 Where was Sherritt?— In the kitchen.

4720 Did he say “There is Paddy watching the place”?— Yes.

4721 And did he say “keep quiet” or anything?— He told us to keep quiet—that Paddy Byrne was standing on the road on a grey horse watching what was going on. Two or three days afterwards he came round to the back of the hut, and took stock of the back of the hut.

4722 It was quite possible for Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly to be in Byrne's house and you not know it?— It was.

4723 This was two or three days before the murder when he came to the back of the hut?— Two or three days prior to the murder, and about a night or two afterwards we saw him going away on this grey horse, about two o'clock in the morning.

4724 He was watching the house?— I believe he was going to give information that we were there and about the hut.

4725 How old is Paddy Byrne?— About 20, I should think.

4726 Do you think the object of those two visits was from the impression that he had that you were present there—do you think he had any information that you were in that building?— That I could not say.

4727 What was the impression on you and the men you were working with at the time as to that?— I believe he was to give them a description of the hut.

4728 Were they not of their own knowledge familiar with every spot surrounding the hut so that they did not require information from him?— I could not say.

4729 Was it a new hut?— I could not say it was new; I cannot say how old it was.

4730 How long had Sherritt been married?— About seven months, I should think. ....

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