Royal Commission report day 32 page 7

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The Royal Commission evidence for 21/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 32)

[[../../people/peA/armstrongHPC.html|Const Henry Armstrong]] 'giving evidence'

12171 Did either of those four outlaws ever speak to you about two other men at any time?— I never had any conversation with any of them but Steve Hart, and that was prior to his taking to the bush.

12172 Did you get that from Sherritt in a direct way that the six were seen together?— No; Sherritt knew nothing whatever about the outlaws after they crossed at Jerilderie.

12173 Do you know anyone who ever saw those six together?— I do.

12174 Who can give direct evidence?— Yes.

12175 Do you know more than one?— I believe I do.

12176 Will you give the names of those privately?— Yes.

12177 Are they, in your opinion, reliable men?— They are. I am not the least afraid of a new gang breaking out, and I know as much about them as any man who was in connection with the search parties.

12178 Did you ever suggest to your superior officer the advisability of taking action in this matter?— No.

12179 Did it ever strike your mind without suggesting that in the interests of justice it was advisable to take action against those men?— I had not seen any officer after that.

12180 Did the officers know it?— I heard it was suggested to the officers, and it was not considered advisable to take action, fearing it might prevent or injure the search for the Kellys.

12181 This information was equally in the possession of your superior officers?— I have reason to believe it was. I had been speaking to Jim Kelly for an hour and a half at Glenrowan before Ned's execution. He said, “l will not enter the bush; I have got a good trade; I can earn £3 a week by making boots, and I am too fond of going to theatres, and taking girls in the gardens at night, for the work; but should I ever be interfered with by the police I will not do as Ned has done; I will sh oot every man, and have satisfaction.” Tom Lloyd and Dennis McAuliffe, two of the most prominent of the Kelly sympathizers, went out voluntarily and helped us when we were stationed at Glenrowan, and looked for a horse down in the bush after Kelly's execution.

12182 Do they express any opinion to the police?— They seem inclined to be most friendly with the police, if the police will treat them in the same friendly way. I have been drinking on three occasions with Tom Lloyd since the capture, and found him most friendly.

12183 Do you think it dangerous?— By no means whatever, if he is treated well by the police; he is a splendid fellow.

12184 Do you think that wrong treatment by the police hurried them out?— I could not say, but I can tell what would drive a gang to the bush—the improper arrest of any of the friends of the late outlaws—for instance the arrest of the Byrne family for that saddle belonging to the late Aaron Sherritt. I think there is evidence forthcoming that will prove that is a put up case.

12185 If so, what policeman will be responsible?— The family was arrested by Detective Ward.

12186 You think there will be evidence that that was the case?— If the Commission will examine the wittinesses I will name them; and if they will allow me to repeat the statements made to me by Senior-Constable Mullane, so that he does not back out of it, it will be shown it was a put-up case.

12187 By Ward?— Well, I would not like to say the name.

12188 It would come out in evidence?— Tom Lloyd boasted in the hotel of the civility he had received from the Glenrowan and Greta police; but if they were wrongfully arrested it would have a very bad effect on the Kelly sympathizers in the district. I know Dick Hart, and I do not think he would ever take to the bush.

12189 We are now coming back to the time that you were in Sherritt's hut; did any of the men that were with you show a desire to go out at any time to meet the Kellys?— No; I suggested a rush about nine o’clock, and asked if the men were game to follow me, and every man said “Yes,” and every man repeated the words, “I do not consider it advisable”; and I then said, “You do not consider it advisable.” and every man said, “Yes.” At the inquest held on the remains of Sherritt, I stated how every man answered “Yes,” and I omitted to state how every man said the words, “I do not consider it advisable.” At the same time had I taken the lead I have no doubt but some or all might have followed and shared my fate; but I honestly admitted I did not see my way clear to run it, because I thought every man would have dropped at the door, and by hanging out I thought there would have been the opportunity of following them after. In addition to other disadvantages, I had been treated by the doctor for inflammation of my eyes, and the inflammation was gone, but my eyes were very bad at dark nights. I was guarding the bank at Wahgunyah. I was wearing a green cover over my eyes.

12190 Then your own opinion is that you were hardly fit to undertake such a service as that?— Had I calculated on only two being there, but I hardly think there was that, I might have made an attempt at going out, or had I calculated on the gang leaving; but the night was unusually dark. I might as well have thrown up my hands.....

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