Royal Commission report day 41 page 1

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The Royal Commission evidence for 2/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 41)

[[../../people/peU_Z/winchSup.html|Sup Frederick Alfred Winch]] sworn and examined


The Hon. F. LONGMORE , M.L.A., in the Chair;

E. J. Dixon , Esq., J.P. , W. Anderson , Esq., M.L.A.,

G. W. Hall, Esq., M.L.A., Hon. J. H. Graves , M.L.A.,

G. R. Fincham , Esq. , M.L.A., J. Gibb , Esq. , M.L.A.

[ The room was cleared.]

14193 By the Commission— What position do you occupy in the police?— Superintendent of police. I am the senior superintendent in the force.

14194 In charge of the Melbourne and Bourke district?— Yes.

14195 We have had certain statements made by Captain Standish and by other officers of the police speaking slightingly of certain officers, showing there was a disagreement in the force between the officers?— Yes.

14196 And we would like to know if you have any information to give the Commission on that point?— As to the want of harmony or otherwise between the officers?

14197 Yes—are you aware that it existed?— I am quite well aware that it has existed for some time past.

14198 Are you aware when it commenced?— I think it has existed now for some years past.

14199 Can you give about the time?— I cannot say exactly how long, but it has been quite patent to me and other officers that there has been a want of harmony existing for a considerable time.

14200 Cannot you say how long—was it two, three, four, five, six, or ten years?— I should say for the last four or five years at least.

14201 Have you any idea of what first led to that want of harmony?— Well, my impression is that it was brought about owing to Captain Standish's action in extending so much favor and consideration towards one officer in particular.

14202 You had better name the officer—in fact it will be necessary for you to name him?— I have no hesitation in naming him. I mean Mr. Hare .

14203 Have you any idea how it exhibited itself in the first instance?— It seemed to me that whenever there was any particular duty to be performed which would bring an officer to the front, Mr. Hare was invariably selected over the heads of others, his seniors, who ought to have been called upon to do that which he was detailed for.

14204 Could you specify any of these?— I can. One case was in the matter of Power the bushranger to begin with, and subsequently in the matter of the Kellys.

14205 In the matter of Power I think Mr Nicolson has given evidence that as senior officer he went up to the hut?— Yes.

14206 And he asserted his right when he was on the ground?— So I have always heard.

14207 Had Captain Standish taken that right from him by any overt act before they went up?— I cannot say; I was not in Melbourne at the time; I was at Castlemaine. What I mean to say is, that the selection of a particular officer for a duty of that sort, which, if carried out successfully, must give that particular officer kudos, was not fair to his superior officer, who ought to have been selected for it.

14208 We must have something more than mere feeling. How do you arrive at that opinion that Captain Standish specially favored Mr. Hare in this particular business?— As a matter of fact he was selected for it; that is all I know.

14209 And as a matter of practice do you say that Mr. Nicolson should have been chosen for the duty?— I think so. Certainly he was a senior officer, and should take precedence over a junior in a matter of that sort; and he is a man of great experience in such matters, and a man of indomitable pluck as I know..

14210 We have plenty of evidence, and this feeling exists very strongly?— Very strongly.

14211 Can you give us any evidence of Mr. Hare's conduct as to whether he, on his own behalf did anything unfair in the matter to get himself selected?— Certainly not to my knowledge.

14212 Are you aware whether Mr. Hare ever prompted, or used any influence with Captain Standish that would be to the detriment of other officers?— I cannot say that.

14213 Or on any occasion interfered with the discipline of the force?— I cannot say that either. Mr. Hare is not recognised as the head of the department, but it was pretty well known that very little was done in respect to the department without consulting Mr. Hare, and the officers generally looked upon it that he really had more to do with the whole conduct of the force than Captain Standish. That was the general feeling of the officers through the force.....

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