Royal Commission report day 42 page 5

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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

14617 Were you aware from any confidential communications from a number of sympathizers, of the locality where the outlaws were residing?— Yes, several times, and I always communicated that to the police.

14618 At all times, immediately?— I think so, as far as I can recollect.

14619 We have here all the reported appearances of the Kellys —[handing a printed paper to witness].—Can you identify your information about Joe Byrne with any of those?—[The witness examined the printed paper].—It was not sent in by letter.

14620 By the Commission— (to Mr. Nicolson)— Can you help us as to the time about the information about Wallace seeing Joe Byrne?— It was some time, I should say, about the month of October 1879, and I had heard that Mr. Wallace had seen Byrne, or had reason to believe he had seen him; and I asked him if it was the case, and he told me he had not. I asked him first if he had been at his house, and he said not, and he had not seen him, except one night when he was driving; and as he passed during the night by his own house he saw a man pass he believed to be Joe Byrne , and he bade him “Good night.”

14621 Did he mention how long it had occurred?— This was a matter that had occurred some considerable time before.

14622 All this time he had been writing to you and giving you information?— He was writing from time to time.

14623 Can you give an idea how long a time had elapsed between the time and the information?— My impression now is that it was a considerable period, three or four weeks.

14624 Altogether beyond the possibility of its being of any service?— It was of no service then.

14625 By the Commission (to the witness)— You are quite certain you never went to Byrne's house to take any meals. There is a paragraph here in this letter ( 27th August 1879 )—”I went down to the old people's next morning (Sunday) and stayed to dinner”?— That is Sherritt's, not Byrne's.

14626 Then you appear to have relied entirely on Sherritt?— No, not entirely.

14627 Principally?— Yes, principally.

14628 You state— “The old lady was not at all communicative, but appeared nervous and frightened. Had a walk out with Jack for his father's horse (K. K.'s Iost chesnut). He was rather reticent and distrustful at first.” That was John Sherritt . “I asked him how the outlaws were so foolish as to go into the house while the children were there” ?— I think that refers to the night after the trial of Aaron Sherritt for the theft of Mrs. Byrne's horse.

14629 There is another passage with reference to Aaron Sherritt changing a National Bank note. Was it the National Bank stuck up at Euroa or Jerilderie?— It was the National Bank at Jerilderie.

14630 “He said they were ‘square,’ and that he had obtained them in payment of service rendered to the police. I changed one of them for him, and cashed it purposely in Ward 's presence at Wertheim's, Beechworth. I jocularly drew that gentleman's attention to it as being a ‘National,’ and asked him what he would give to be told where that came from.” Was that done with the view of putting Mr. Ward on his “mettle” to find out where the note came from?— I think so, and as a sort of collateral evidence that Sherritt had those notes in his possession. No doubt if Ward did his duty he would report that at once to Mr. Nicolson, being the officer in charge, and that would corroborate my statement that I had seen the notes in Aaron Sherritt's possession.

14631 It was with that view?— Yes.

14632 What was your own impression about that note at the time?— That he had received it from the outlaws. He made no secret of it;

outlaws. He made no secret of it;

14633 It formed a portion of the notes taken from the Euroa bank?— Yes.

14634 Again, you go on to speak about the watch:— “As to the watch, in the early part of the evening, he, of his own accord, proposed that I should go home with him that night and he would show it to me, to get my opinion as to the feasibility of getting it altered so as to defy identification.” You say you never saw the watch?— Never saw it.

14635 You do not know anything more about it?— Nothing more than that Aaron had it in his possession; and Jack Sherritt also said he had seen it. They both said at different times they wanted to get it altered.

14636 Did Jack say so?— Yes, he did.

14637 There was no doubt he had seen it then, and there was an inscription on it?— No doubt whatever.....

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