Royal Commission report day 45 page 19

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The Royal Commission evidence for 10/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 45)

[[../../people/peU_Z/wardPdet.html|Det Michael Edward Ward]] giving evidence

15602 How many days before the appointment to meet Joe Byrne?— I do not know. My reports will show.

15603 A sufficient number of days to take action if you thought fit?— The moment I received information I communicated with Mr. Nicolson immediately.

15604 When did you communicate with Mr. Nicolson that Jack Sherritt told you that?— It will be in my correspondence, November 7th, 1879 , about eight. I either wrote, or ran to the telegraph office and telegraphed if there was not time to write.

15605 That telegram would be in existence?— Yes, or the report.

15606 Sherritt has sworn that he told you (and he did not know Mr. Nicolson at that time) that he had an appointment to meet Joe Byrne at Sandy Creek; now when did he so inform you?— I cannot tell the date, but I know that immediately anything occurred I made Mr. Nicolson aware of it at once.

15607 Then you knew some time prior to the appointment, and communicated to your superior officer that the appointment was to take place at a certain time?— Yes.

15608 Were any arrangements made by the police to intercept the outlaw on the occasion of that appointment ?— No.

15609 Could you give a reason for not doing so?— No, I can give no reason, because I had not power to. I had not sufficient knowledge myself as an individual, as I would not dare to dictate to an officer of standing like Mr. Nicolson .

15610 You said, in your evidence before, you were in a position at any time to act on your own responsibility on any information that came to you. Were you not in that instance?— No, I was not. I could not have done so.

15611 Then which are we to believe—the statement you made when you said you could take an, action you thought necessary, or the statement now that you had to obtain authority from your superior officer before you acted?— At what time do you refer to?

15612 I refer to your first evidence, in which you stated that you could at all times act upon information that was given to you without waiting for instructions?— Yes, if I could do it; but how could I collect men? Suppose I could see one of the Kellys , and had men with me, then I could do so. This was thirty miles from Beechworth in this instance, and I was in Beechworth at the time.

15613 Did Sherritt from time to time give you information that he had seen any of the outlaws?— Not that he had seen them, but that he had heard of them. He gave me from time to time information. On his return from Sandy Creek he told me he met Joe Byrne, and, as he has described, that when he went to the place appointed this man Thompson had left there for twelve months, and he remained there for the night, and did not see Byrne until he was returning home. When returning home, Byrne suddenly rushed out of the bush at the foot of the hill, and called him, and they stepped to one side, and he was speaking to him, and they had a long conversation. His boots were bloody and his spurs, as if he had ridden a long distance. And he asked about the Yackandandah and Beechworth banks, and the different means about getting there to the banks, and that Ned and himself could not agree. They would want a couple of men there with them, and several things like that; that their horses were bad, and that Joe 's grey mare was the best of the lot.

15614 Shortly the substance of the statement was that Byrne asked him to assist them in sticking up the Yackandandah bank; is that so?— No, to give information as to the advisability or otherwise.

15615 Did he also tell you an appointment was made that, after Sherritt had made the enquiry, he was to meet him at a certain place to report?— Yes, at Evans's Gap.

15616 Did Sherritt after that see you and when?— I could not say when. My reports will all speak for themselves on that subject.

15617 When Sherritt next met you did he tell you the result of this meeting with Joe Byrne as to the advisability of sticking up the banks.?— He sent a letter in accordance with instructions. He did not see them after that with my knowledge, but from time to time he received instructions from Mr. Nicolson what to do—to tell them they would not get £20 in the Eldorado bank, and as to the Beechworth bank that was too large, and as to the Wangaratta banks that one of them might be got at—all to that effect.

15618 In point of fact that Sherritt did, from the very first time he told you he had an appointment with Joe Byrne to meet him at Sandy Creek, and long after he visited you, supply you with all the information he obtained in relation to the outlaws?— Yes, I believe he did.

15619 We have had this evidence about Sherritt's telling you that Dan Kelly had called at his mother's place—do you remember when you saw Sherritt next after that?— No.

15620 Did you see him the next day?— No.

15621 The day after .?— I think not.....

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