Royal Commission report day 18 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 11/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 18)

'Constable Alfred John Faulkiner' giving evidence

5312 From your own knowledge was any reliable information obtained as to where they were for the month after, from that time to sticking up the Euroa bank?— No, I cannot. Some time, I think, in February or March, Superintendent Hare's party received information that Joe Byrne was going to run a horse at the Whorouly races. Three of us were told off in disguise, Johnson, Lawless, and myself. We went on to the course separately. After being there some time, I recognized Aaron Sherritt as the party whom I had seen at Byrne's house the morning that we rushed the place. This was the man who was, I believed, to ride a horse for Byrne. I passed the remark to Senior-Constable Johnson that if this was the man we could consider the information a hoax either on the part of Sherritt or Byrne. I said it was not at all likely that a man twelve or thirteen stone weight was going to ride in a country hurdle race when Byrne and Hart had brothers of their own, good horsemen. I believe from the remark Mr. Hare made afterwards that Johnson must have told Mr. Hare what I had said. We remained for the two days' racing. On our way home Mr. Hare asked me how it was I did not approve of the information he had received with reference to the Whorouly races. I gave Mr. Hare my reasons the same as I gave to Johnson, I also replied that I could bowl Sherritt out in a week.

5313 Meaning by “bowl” that you would find how truthful he was?— Yes, Mr. Hare replied, “You are very clever, Faulkiner; how is it I have been sleeping with this man in the bush this last three weeks, and I cannot bowl him out, I have always found him and proved him to be true.”

5314 Was it the fact that Sherritt did ride the horse?— No; that was all I omitted to state.

5315 Have you been accustomed to horses?— Yes, since I was born I have been with horses.

5316 Are you aware that bushmen in the bush, when they want to ascertain who is about, police or otherwise, that their first attention is drawn to the horses?— Yes.

5317 Is it not the first thing they enquire about to trace?— Yes.

5318 Do you recollect any horses you had at Whorouly races?— Yes.

5319 Were they distinctly branded?— No, none of them had brands on.

5320 Were there horses there that were bred in the district of particular brands?— Yes.

5321 Did you see a horse there branded “ G.V.S.,” a brown-colored horse?— There was a brown colored horse that Johnson was riding; I do not remember the brand.

5322 Would you consider it unlikely if, before the outlaws or anyone could have recognized you and Johnson as policemen, it was said on the racecourse, “Here are the troopers, because there is the G.V.S. thoroughbred horse that was bought the other day”?— No, because there were policemen on the ground doing duty there.

5323 Was Johnson riding that horse?— Yes.

5324 Was he in uniform?— No.

5325 Did you take your horses up to the ground?— They were tied to the fence, a distance out from the racecourse.

5326 The public could see them?— Yes, only the main thing is they had not a Government brand on them.

5327 Had they Government saddles and bridles on them?— Yes, but not the kit bridle, but rusty stirrups and rusty bit.

5328 Did we understand you to say that you mistrusted Sherritt all through?— Well I did at the first, when I heard of this information about riding a horse, but afterwards I did trust to him.

5329 Now the whole thing has passed, and, reflecting over your experience in the matter, do you consider that Sherritt behaved faithfully to the Government in the position he was employed in?— Well, I believe he was not friends with Mrs. Byrne, and that was the only thing that led me to believe he was in with the police.

5330 Had you occasion to believe at any time that he was acting ostensibly in the interests of the Government and at the same time serving the outlaws?— No, I had not.

5331 In the main your opinion is he behaved faithfully?— Yes, because he was not friends with Mrs. Byrne. If he had been that would have led us to the conclusion he was in league with the outlaws. She had a great down on him.

5332 Will you go on with anything further?— On handing Senior-Constable Mullane my second report Detective Ward and he had a conversation together. Mullane must have given my reports to Detective Ward, as he came to me with them and asked me to withdraw them.....

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