Royal Commission report day 36 page 9

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The Royal Commission evidence for 6/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 36)

[[../../people/peD_G/fitzpatrickAPC.html|Const Alexander Fitzpatrick]] giving evidence

12916 Who told you?— Inspector Mager, I think. He told me that I was reported to the Chief Commissioner over here.

12917 By whom?— By Inspector Green, I think, there.

12918 For what?— For being in the premises of a tobacconist there, and accusing me of telling a young woman to run away from his place–this tobacconist's housekeeper.

12919 Anything else–did he tell you that Inspector Green would recommend your removal from Sydney ?— He did not.

12920 Did you expect, in consequence of that complaint, you would be removed?— No. It was only a trumped up charge.

12921 Were you ever brought before any other officer there–did they ever complain except this time?— They complained of my missing the train. I had to work about twelve or fourteen hours a day.

12922 You had the opportunity of answering the charge at Sydney ?— I did write out a report in reference to that.

12923 Would that have the effect of making you more careful in future when you were charged with the same offence at Sydney and Lancefield?— I considered I did my duty as straightforwardly as any police constable in Victoria. That has been testified to by respectable citizens, and there was not a signature put to that but expressed the wish that I should be reinstated or heard. I was there nine months. That accounted for the time I was at Lancefield, where the charges were preferred against me.

12924 They did not know of the charges at Sydney ?— They deal with the charges against me at the time I was at the place. I had not the slightest opportunity of defending myself when the Chief Commissioner sent a communication, and I was instructed by Senior-Constable Mayes to proceed to Melbourne from there. The late Sergeant Porter had my voucher made out to be stationed at Romsey, temporary duty for a ten days. That night a telegram was sent to the police depot, stating I was to be discharged from the police force to-morrow. That was Tuesday. I asked Captain Standish to tell me the reason why, and he just explained that he had received this communication from Mayes; and I understood from Captain Standish that was the sole reason I was discharged from the police force; and I think, as against that, those 200 petitioners ought to go further than Constable Mayes. It is hard my character should be blackened. I might have erred in small things. There are many constables in the force who have done more serious things than I did, and have remained in the force and got promotion.

12925 In your letter you said that you would give information that would go a great way towards clearing up the question of the cause of the outbreak of the Kellys . Now it is no clearing up to say they were criminals and that there were warrants against them. You also mentioned the conduct of the police officers in charge at the time. What conduct of the police officers in charge have you to deal with; what was on your mind when you wrote that?— Aaron Sherritt, the man that Detective Ward seemed to be able to get his information from, told me whilst stationed at Beechworth that he could lead me to the Kellys in a very short time. He told me that several times. I was given other information by Mrs. ——, of Sebastopol . It might have resulted favorably if it had been acted upon.

12926 What was the nature of the information that Sherritt gave you?— That he had it in his power, that the Kellys were in that locality, and he had it in his power to give the information.

12927 Did he tell you why he did not give that?— He complained of having a down on Detective Ward and Senior-Constable Mullane.

12928 Why?— On account of their arresting him for some cattle stealing, or skinning a bullock near Beechworth, and he would not give them the information. I told Sergeant Kennedy of it; he was in charge of the party I was out with searching for the Kellys , and he never acted upon that in any way.

12929 Did he give any reason why not?— He said, “Oh, we will put that down as worthless.”

12930 That he looked upon it as no information worth having?— Yes.

12931 Did Aaron Sherritt at any other time tell you that Ward and Mullane would receive no information from him?— He did. He used some threats towards them that he would like to put a ball through either of them.

12932 Did he inform you that he would not give them information?— He did.

12933 Did you tell any other officer in charge?— Detective Kennedy was the only man I told. There might have been some of the other constables I was riding with heard me mention it to him.

12934 And he said it was no use.?— Yes.

12935 When Detective Kennedy did not make any move the officer in charge could not know what Sherritt's state of mind could be?— He was supposed to report all information he received to the officers, as far as I understand. I let the matter drop at that.

12936 Do you know whether he did report it?— I do not.

12937 You never enquired?— No.....

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