Royal Commission report day 19 page 49

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The Royal Commission evidence for 13/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 19)

'SConst Charles Johnston giving evidence'

7238 Did you speak to him them?— No; Mr. Sadleir said to me— “Well, if it does not take fire, it is not your fault. I do not know where I left your rifle.” I had left it with him when I went up. I think he said, “It is standing at the tree,” so I went round the rank of men to get my rifle.

7239 Then you returned to the position opposite to where you had set fire to the building?— No; that was on the north side where I had left my rifle. I got down partially in front of the building then.

7240 When did you come back to the position where you were able to knock away a portion of the building?— After we had got Cherry out of the building.

7241 That was after the priest had been in?— Yes, some time after.

7242 How far were the bodies lying from the wall that you set fire to?— They were in a different room to the room I set fire to, back on the skillion, on the same side, but in another room, the skillion at the back.

7243 Was there any window looking out from the end of the hotel that you set fire to?— No; there was one from the detached building.

7244 They were not in that?— No; there were none in the and of the building. There was a window in the back.

7245 Was it possible for you to have made a mistake about their being in armour or out of armour before they were dead?— I am satisfied they were out of armour before they were dead.

7246 You saw the two burnt stumps that remained before they were removed?— Yes, I removed them myself.

7247 Was any portion of the armour underneath those stumps?— No.

7248 On which side was the armour—on the innermost portion of the building?— Lying towards the door and bedstead, across the end of the building—that is where I set fire to the end of the bedstead—across, with the side to the end of the building; and the bodies were lying on the other side of the bed, between that and the door leading out on to the passage.

7249 And where was the armour lying?— Between the bodies and the passage.

7250 Altogether distinct and removed from the two stumps?— Yes, about a foot between the bodies and the armour.

7251 Do you think it is possible for those two men to have died in armour, or either of them?— It was not possible.

7252 You have no hesitation in saying now that those two men must, of their own accord, have taken off their armour before they died?— They did.

Mr. Sadleir — Is not this examination departing from the purpose expressed to-day. If you go on to this, I must crave the permission of the Commission to cross-examine. I did not wish to do it.

The Chairman — Has he stated anything materially different from other witnesses.

Mr. Sadleir — He stated things very different from my own representation of the evidence.

7253 By the Commission —Did you see anything of Mr. O'Connor from the time you arrived at eleven o'clock until you saw him in the position described by you behind the tree, when you asked about setting fire?— I did not.

7254 Were you in a position, from eleven till a quarter to three, to see what was done by the two officers, Mr. Sadleir and Mr. O'Connor, between eleven and a quarter to three?— I saw Mr. Sadleir go round frequently amongst his men, but Mr. O'Connor I did-not see at all, except the time I have stated.

7255 At the time you saw him had he the black trackers immediately under his control?— No.

7256 Do you know where they were at the time?— No, I did not see them.

7257 Did you see them?— I only saw them in the afternoon, after the place was burnt.

7258 Not before?— Not before.

7259 What time elapsed after the police went towards the hotel before they entered?— That was when the priest went in?

7260 When the police went to the hotel, what time elapsed before their entry?— After the hotel was fired?....

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