Royal Commission report day 50 page 3

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 50)

[[../../people/peN_P/nicolsonPAC.html|Ass Com Charles Hope Nicolson]] giving evidence

16862 You cannot swear that you did so?— After the contradiction and doubt I would not like to swear to it, but I have no doubt about it in my own mind. I also told him of the other agents, and what had been done by me in the pursuit, up to date, and particularly described to him the position Aaron Sherritt was in. I will mention the circumstance that brought the thing most clearly to my mind. Before Mr. Hare came up, I determined not to introduce Captain Standish's name in our interview, lest I should say something in the presence of junior officers that would be unbecoming. I made that resolution to myself, and the only time I broke it was in speaking about Aaron Sherritt , and explaining about his position. I said, “Captain Standish has laid down the idea that he (in Melbourne) knows better than I whom to employ in this part of the world, and has forbidden me to employ Sherritt, and I have consequently been obliged to continue him on my own responsibility and at my own cost”; and I told Mr. Hare that, when I went away, he would have to make the necessary arrangements; and afterwards I remember being annoyed that I had mentioned Captain Standish's name, because I had resolved not to mention it. I was also going on at the same time to tell him what I had prepared in my own mind before he came about the matter, and I told him if he wished to continue to employ Aaron Sherritt , he would have to do so at his own cost and take his chance of being repaid by the department. Then he got up on the side of the table, I think, and said, in reply to this about Sherritt, interrupting me in an impatient manner, “Yes, yes, yes; when did you last hear of them” (meaning the outlaws), almost implying that he agreed with me when I mentioned Captain Standish’s name and Sherritt; and I told him of the visit of two to ——'s, near Chiltern, of their subsequent appearance at Mrs. Byrne’s, of the interview between Mrs. Sherritt and Joe Byrne at Murphy's hut, Sheep Station Creek, and what steps I had taken on this information and other particulars of the pursuit. From time to time during this interview I turned to Mr Sadleir, who was sitting to my right hand, and said, “Have I omitted anything, Sadleir”; he replied, “No, chat is all right” This interview lasted from twelve o'clock until about one o'clock; it was uninterrupted, and neither Mr Hare nor I left our seats until about one o'clock when I had told Mr. Hare all I knew about the matter I do not care what Mr. Sadleir says, I have no reason to doubt in the least he is speaking his truthful impression; but I do not care what any one says on the subject, we were sitting down before twelve o'clock at this interview, and we never rose till one; and instead of my going out of the office, Mr. Hare left deliberately and walked cooly out of the office himself, and joined Mr. O'Connor outside the door, and there they were talking together, and I knew what they were talking about. I remained a minute or two, and I turned to Mr. Sadleir and said to him, “Is there anything at all that I have overlooked?” He replied, patting me on the shoulder, “No, old fellow, you have not omitted anything.” I then went out and joined Mr. Hare and Mr. O'Connor (they were talking about a dog they had there), and we all then walked down to the hotel (which is under half-a mile from the office) to lunch. We found we were at least ten minutes late for lunch which was set every day punctually at one o'clock, and the bell rings and is heard all over the town; therefore, my interview with Mr. Hare could not have been over before one o'clock, and must have lasted at least an hour. I again saw Mr. Hare in the afternoon and invited him to dine with me that evening, and he accepted my invitation; but finding that it would suit me better to go to Melbourne that night than next day, I wrote an apology to Mr. Hare and went down by the evening train. I would now remind the Commission, that I am upon my oath, and being so, that I solemnly declare the foregoing account of the interview to be correct in every particular, and I absolutely deny the assertion of Mr Hare (which he has written in his report of the 2nd July 1880 and subsequently reiterated in his evidence before you), that I gave him no verbal information whatever, and that the interview only lasted ten minutes. I will ask the Commission to say whether Mr. Hare would be likely to allow me to go away without asking for information, if I did not volunteer it. Mr. Hare 's next charge is that the principal agent employed “by me, and who was considered the best man I had,” came from Beechworth to see him, and then refused to work for him, implying that I influenced the man against working for Mr. Hare . I brought that man from near Beechworth to see Mr. Hare , and, in Mr. O'Connor 's presence, persuaded him to work for him, stating that he would “find Mr. Hare an exceedingly nice man to work with.” The man's reasons for refusing were no doubt these, viz., that the Police Department, during Captain Standish's term in Benalla, owed him over £20 which they refused to pay. Upon my first seeing this informant, he also refused to work for me unless this sum was paid; and it was only after several interviews I induced him, on the second day, to do so.....

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