Royal Commission report day 42 page 3

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The Royal Commission evidence for 3/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 42)

Mr James Wallace giving evidence

14562 Never took tea?— No.

14563 Did you ever dine at the place?— No.

14564 Were you on friendly terms outside?— Yes, outside. I had not seen Mrs. Byrne a long time. I met the other members of the family.

14565 Did you consider you were on terms of confidence with them?— Yes, to a certain extent. Of course, they were guarded in their communications.

14566 Did you ever see either of the outlaws after the time of the Wombat murders?— I met one one evening. I met Byrne one moonlight night on the Oxley road, going in the direction of Sebastopol from Greta . My school was right in a line from the two places, and of course they would follow the track. He was by himself.

14567 Did you have an interview with him?— I had no interview with him. I was in company with others, and of course I did not state it was Byrne—simply said “Good night,” and he passed on. I recognized his form and voice.

14568 Did you inform the police?— I did.

14569 Immediately after?— Not exactly immediately after, but within a few days, I think.

14570 If you were working in the interests of the police, why did not you take immediate steps to inform them about that?— Doubtless because I would think that no good could come from informing them. I had no confidence in the detective in charge at Beechworth. I would think that he might burke that evidence, so to speak, in order to frustrate the capture of the outlaws through any other means than his own.

14571 Would it be to the detective you would give the information?— Certainly not.

14572 Then why had you fear in giving the information to the officer of the police you were previously in communication with?— I cannot say, except it was I thought no good would come of it. I was expecting to see the others, and no good would accrue from taking Byrne alone. It would have been the worst thing that could have happened.

14573 How far from the telegraph office were you then?— Sixteen miles.

14574 What office?— Wangaratta.

14575 That was at night?— Yes.

14576 You saw the direction Byrne was riding in?— Yes, to Sebastopol. —

14577 And you waited some days?— I cannot say the exact time. I know I mentioned the circumstance to Mr. Nicolson .

14578 Did you see either of the gang any other time except that?— I believe, I am not positive, I met Ned Kelly one morning some time after I had dropped communication with Mr. Nicolson.

14579 That would be the latter end of 1879?— About that time, I think.

14580 Did you see Byrne on any other occasion than the one you have already described?— No.

14581 Do you remember Captain Standish being at your place?— I do, on two different occasions.

14582 Do you remember he was there not long before the bank robbery at Jerilderie?— I do, he was in my house.

14583 Are you sure you did not Joe Byrne about that time?— I am positive, as far as I can recollect.

14584 Will you swear that Byrne was not in your house that day?— Certainly.

14585 You swear now positively you never saw Byrne but on one occasion?— Yes, positively.

14586 Did you have no direct communication with any of the outlaws?— What do you mean— by letter, or word of mouth?

14587 By letter or word of mouth—was there no confidence between you and the outlaws by which you could have communication?— No direct communication.

14588 Are you prepared to swear positively that after the murders you had no direct communication?— No direct; I had indirect through others.....

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