Royal Commission report day 37 page 29

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The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 37)

SConst Patrick Mullane giving evidence

13354 Did you hear anything at all about it outside?— I heard it from no person outside of Mr. Allen, the storekeeper from whom we got the goods, the Sherritt family, Mrs. Barry, and a Mr. Willis who came up to me one night from Wangaratta.

13555 What was he?— Saddler, and at one time hotelkeeper, at Wangaratta.

13556 How did he come by the knowledge?— He said some person told him, but he would not tell me who. My belief at the time was that it came from some member of the police in the cave, because some of the Wangaratta police came up here on duty at the time. However, he said he was aware of it at the time, and he told me so, On the 1st of April 1880 that party was withdrawn from the cave.

13557 Did some of the police ever tell you that Mrs. Byrne was watching them?— They did not. They gave me no information an that subject whatever, and the first information I had of it was when the reports were called for by Detective Ward after the party had returned from the cave.

13558 Did they give you any information then?— The reports were asked for by a telegram from Ward from Benalla, calling on the men who had been in the cave for separate reports. In those report Constables Barry, Falkiner, and Alexander stated that they were under the impression, that they believed that Mrs. Byrne was aware that they were watching her house.

13559 Did you ever hear of one of them having met Mrs. Byrne?— I heard that Mrs. Byrne went into the camp of the men who were some twelve months out before watching her house also, but I never heard that she was aware of the presence of the men in the camp except what I state now through those reports.

13560 Did you ever hear of her coming to where Aaron Sherritt was lying on the ground?— That was the time I refer to.

13561 Was it the same cave?— No, a different place altogether.

13562 Did those reports come in to you?— They did.

13563 There were more than four men—there were two detachments?— Yes, one to relieve the other

13564 Alexander , Hagger, Armstrong , Barry , Cox, Falkiner, McHugh, and Dixon . Those were the whole of the police there?— Yes, some of those men belonged to the station. Men were scarce, and the station men used to be out there at times to do duty.

13565 Did those men send in reports to you?— Yes, I received, I think, four reports.

13566 Whom were they from?— One was from Barry , one from Falkiner, one from Armstrong , one from Alexander , and one from McHugh. Falkiner's report, I think, came a day or two afterwards

13567 What did they report to you?— I received a telegram calling on me for a report as to the nature of their duties— “Call on the special duty men for separate reports as to the nature of their duty. Hagger knows what to say.”

13568 Were the reports all satisfactory?— The reports were not satisfactory that I obtained at first, and I returned Barry's to give me what was called for—the nature of the duties they performed. At first I told Hagger to get those reports, as he was in the office at the time. I got the telegram, and I showed him the telegram, and told him to get the reports. He went to the barrack-room, and said the men did not wish to give them. He did not assign any reason, and I then went to the men and told them they would have to give them, that they were called on to give them.

13569 In what way were they not satisfactory?— Because they did not state the duty.

13570 That was all the reason?— That was the simple reason and no other.

13571 In what way were the reports returned—what was in them that was not correct?— The first report I obtained from Barry . I think it stated that he did not know what he was called on to report, but that he would speak to Mr. Nicolson and answer any questions he was called on. That was not satisfactory. This is one also that I noted and returned:— “I respectfully report to the Superintendent that I have this day been called on for a report by Senior-Constable Mullane relative to the special duty I have been engaged on since the 13th December 1879. I am at a loss to know what to report about, as I am under the impression the Superintendent is well aware of the duty I have been engaged on, and how it was carried on. As I am returning to Benalla this evening, I will be most willing to answer any questions put to me by either the Superintendent or the Assistant Commissioner of Police.” This is from Constable Falkiner, dated 2nd April 1880 . My minute on that is:— “What Constable Falkiner, 2784, is called on to report is whether it came to his knowledge that the friends of the outlaws were aware of the presence of the police at Sebastopol.—P. MULLANE, M.C. , 2/4/80 .”

13572 What did Falkiner report?— I read his first report, and this is the second one:— “April 2nd 1880.—Report of Constable Falkiner (2784) relative to special duty, and Senior-Constable Mullane's memo. on the attached report. I beg to report to the Superintendent that the Sherritts have been continually backwards and forwards together at Byrne's, and as much as sleeping together, and, from their intimacy together, it has been impossible to say this duty has been unknown to the outlaws' friends.”....

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