Royal Commission report day 46 page 1

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The Royal Commission evidence for 30/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 46)

F. C. Standish further examined.


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

J. Gibb , Esq. , M.L.A., E. J. Dixon , Esq. , J.P.,

G. R. Fincham , Esq. , M.L.A., G. C. Levey, Esq., C.M.G.

G. W. Hall, Esq., M.L.A.,

15774 By the Commission— You have read the evidence, I suppose?— I have.

15775 The Commission now wish you to say anything you desire to say with reference to it?— I have very little to add to the statements which I made on the occasion when I was examined here. It might take me nearly a month to comment on the gross mis-statements which have been made on me by Mr. Nicolson and Mr. O'Connor, but I will just give you only three or four instances of the inaccuracies they have been guilty of in their evidence. In part of Mr. Nicolson 's evidence he alludes to the fact that our official relations had been strained for about three years. In reply to that I may state that, up to the time of his removal by order of the Ministry of the day, I always entertained the most friendly feelings towards him, and our official relations were always carried on in a very pleasant way. As for private relations, he is a man I hardly ever saw except on duty, during the many years I have been in the police with him. He also states in his evidence that he is aware that it was owing to my representations that the Government decided to remove him from Benalla and to send Mr. Hare in his place. To that I give a most positive denial. As I stated in my evidence before, Mr. Ramsay sent for me one day to his office, and told me the Cabinet discussed the question of Mr. Nicolson 's fitness for the duty he had been engaged on for nearly twelve months, and they had unanimously resolved to remove Mr. Nicolson and send Mr. Hare in his place. Now, I had no more to do with that than any gentleman present in this room; and, as I stated before, when he came down to see me he behaved in a most rude and impertinent manner, and whenever he met me in the street he cut me dead. I have not the slightest ill-feeling towards him or personal feeling towards him, but I feel it my duty, in self-defence, to make these statements. In addition to this, I see in his evidence that in November 1879, when I went up to see him at Benalla, the day after the Melbourne Cup, and when, owing to information received, we started at once for Beechworth and went out with a lot of mounted men to the Sherritts, Mr. Nicolson states that, after we had decided to stop there and all the men were at luncheon, he had reproved me for talking to Aaron Sherritt before the constables. Now, I want to put before you the true facts of the case. I had sent for luncheon for the men to the adjoining public-house, and I was smoking my pipe afterwards, and I saw Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Sadleir talking to a man whom I did not know. They conversed with him some time, and then—I cannot state positively whether it was Mr. Nicolson or Mr. Sadleir that came up to me—at all events, I went and talked to Mr. Nicolson; and he told me he had been talking to Aaron Sherritt, and hand every hope that Aaron Sherritt would assist us; and that very likely, if I held out to him the inducement that he would receive a considerable portion of the reward, he would work loyally for us, and that I had better see him myself, that a could give him a personal guarantee, being the head of the department. I went up with Mr. Nicolson and had a talk with Aaron Sherritt , and told him if he put us in the way of catching the outlaws shortly, I would guarantee that he would receive a substantial portion of the Government reward


15777 This was at Beechworth?— It was after we left Beechworth—near Beechworth and Sebastopol, close to Mrs. Byrne's house. After this conversation we decided to return home, and I see that in the face of this Mr. Nicolson has stated in his evidence that he reproved me for going to talk to Aaron Sherritt.

15778 By Mr. Nicolson— Not “reproved”?— Well, remonstrated then; and previous to that I knew nothing of .Aaron Sherritt, and it was entirely at Mr. Nicolson's request I went to talk to him.

15779 By the Commission— As a matter of fact, did you, in the presence of some of the police make overtures to Sherritt?— We were standing about 100 yards off, and Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Nicolson, had been speaking to him before I did, and I saw them talking to him.

15780 The statement was that you endeavored to negotiate with Sherritt in the presence of some others?— That is utterly untrue. I beg to state that personally I have no ill feeling against Mr. Nicolson and it is probable that the loss of memory, which certainly is very palpable in him, may have induced him to make those statements, believing them to be true. I may add that I have read through the whole of Mr. O'Connor 's evidence, and really it is so beneath contempt that I shall not offer any comments on it. The statements he makes about me are utterly false. Amongst other things he stated that when he consented to take the black trackers up in pursuit of the murderers of Aaron Sherritt , he asked me to order a special carriage for the convenience of his wife and sister-in-law. Not only is that untrue, but if he had asked me I would have declined, because I do not think men being despatched on important duty should be allowed to be accompanied by their wives and families.....

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