Royal Commission report day 1 page 24

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The Royal Commission evidence for 23/3/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 1 )


Captain Standish giving evidence

308 What were the contents of that letter-I want to show that that letter should have been communicated to me?-( The witness made an impatient gesture).

309 You may sniff, but that will not alter it at all?- I have not the slightest objection to answer the question to the Chairman of the Commission. I communicated to Mr. Hare.

310 You consider the information contained in that letter was very important?- The information was discussed by Mr. Hare and myself, and we determined to adopt a certain course.

311 That is not my question-did you consider it important?- I did.

312 That is what you ought to have answered first?- Will you conduct yourself like a gentleman ?

The Chairman interposed, and requested both Captain Standish and Mr. O'Connor to restrain their feelings.

The Witness. -He is so insolent in his manner.

313 By Mr. O'Connor. -Why did you not inform me, or order myself and the boys to pick up the tracks?- Because if we had had you and your numerous baggage, horses, and trackers, we should have been known some hours before we got there.

314 How many men accompanied Mr. Hare in that party?- Seven or eight.

315 By the Commission. -You took immediate action in the matter?- Yes.

316 By Mr. O'Connor. -Why were we sent for and our services not made use of?- They were sent for against my recommendation.

317 Do you ever remember saying to me that you would endeavour to get the Kellys without my valuable assistance?- I never said any such thing. (JJK)

318 From the outset you were jealous of my trackers finding the outlaws?- That is absolutely untrue.

319 What was the result of Mr. Hare's visit to this hut?- You had better ask Mr. Hare.

320 Is your memory so bad?- He went with a party of men and ransacked the hut.

321 Did Mr Hare meet a man coming from the hut?

The Chairman- (to Mr O'Connor)- You had better for the present confine your questions to any personal matters you wish dealt with at this sitting. The witness stated he had he heard things about you he would not like to mention.

Mr O'Connor- He made some reflections about my private character, but I do not care a fig about it from a man of his private character, but I should like him to state what he alluded to.

322 The Chairman- Captain Standish referred to your letter in which you said you had been treated in an ungentlemanly, ungenerous, and discourteous manner by him throughout the whole sixteen months you were under his command, and he said he gave that the lie direct, and further that he found out things that made him keep out of your company; do you desire to say anything about that?- Captain Standish's knowledge of my private character is very limited, and all I can say is that if he has so low an estimate of my character I care very little about it, considering the character of the man who judges. He said I was not a fit and proper person; I say that of him.

323 By Mr. O'Connor (to the witness). -Did you allude to my private character?- No; I said things came to my knowledge that shook my faith in you. Mr O'Connor. -Let him say it.

324 By the Commission (to the witness). -I think, in fair play to Mr. O'Connor, you ought now to state what you refer to?- You (Mr. O'Connor) told several people that you were engaged to be married to a certain lady, and I remember asking what day, and you said on the anniversary of your birthday, the 10th of February, and I found that you were married all the time.

Mr O'Connor -I give that the lie direct. I say that is a falsehood, and I am ready to prove it. On one occasion when I dined with Captain Standish, he said, "I noticed you were making love to a certain young lady;" and I said, "That is nonsense, it is only fun;" and I thought nothing more about it until I received a letter congratulating me. I immediately wrote back and said there was not a word of truth in it.

The Witness -I was driven to say this, and Mr. O'Connor was married a few days after he came to Benalla.

Mr. O'Connor -But everything was quite correct.

Captain Standish. -May I ask for all that to be withdrawn. I request, as a particular favour, that you allow the whole of that to be expunged from the evidence.

Mr. O'Connor. -I am sorry for my loss of temper, and will be glad if this matter be not reported. The Chairman observed that as the earlier statements of Captain Standish's had already been printed in the Herald newspaper he did not see how the latter remarks could be withdrawn.

The witness withdrew.

Adjourned till Eleven o'clock to morrow. .

[See report of Proceedings 23/3/81]



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