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George Stephens giving evidence at Ned Kellys committal hearing
Cross-examined by Mr Gaunson.―I left Mr Younghusband’s employ at the end of 1879. I made a statement about the prisoner’s conversation with me to Detective Ward, who wrote it down in his note-book. I had no conversation with the prisoner’s mates. I have read the newspaper reports of this case. Did not notice how my statement would clash or agree with McIntyre’s evidence. On Friday I saw McIntyre, and he asked me how Ned Kelly had made his statement to me. I have never seen the statement taken down from me by Detective Ward. First saw McIntyre at Glenrowan, but did not speak to him on that occasion. Have seen him several times since I arrived here―summoned as a witness. I lodge in the police barracks and pay for my board, but not for my bed. Did not see Detective Ward in the witnesses’ room on Saturday, but saw him in the passage. Since my arrival here I have not been spoken to by any one about my evidence except by McIntyre, who asked me what I had to state. I told him, “Ned said that he crawled down behind a log and called upon the police to throw up their hands, that Lonigan ran and got behind a log.” That was all I told McIntyre, who then said, “That is all wrong, that is not how it happened. When I wheeled round I saw four men with guns. Lonigan never got behind the logs at all, for immediately he commenced to run Ned shot him.”
I also made a statement to Sergeant Decey about my conversation with the prisoner. Did so on meeting with him in Abbott’s saleyards, Bourke-street, in July last. Constable Boyd, of Donnybrook, who served me with the subpoena, said to me that some people thought Kelly would be hung, others that he would not. His own opinion is that he ought to be hung, and will be hung. (Laughter in which the prisoner joined audibly.) I don’t believe that Kelly is an innocent man, and I don’t believe he ought to be acquitted. My opinion is that he will be hung. (Another laugh in which the prisoner joined in.) My opinion is that if all is true that the prisoner told me he ought to be hung. I believed all that he told me.
I am not in employment at present. I have been promised no situation under the Government. I was at Glenrowan in the beginning of June, but do not desire to say what for. I was acting as a detective at Glenrowan and Benalla. I have been promised no billet by the Government. I am a married man, and my family are living at my parents’ place at Donnybrook. I have been in the employ of the Government since the end of December last. No one asked me to work for the Government. In the first place I went up to Benalla to see Mr Nicolson. I had a conversation with him, and the result was that he took me on as a private detective. My appointment was not in writing. The agreement was that I was to go out and try to come across the Kellys. I had a great anxiety to meet them alone―(prisoner smiled)―and I was to get 6s. a day. Of course I had a chance of sharing in the reward money, but nothing was said about that by Mr Nicolson so far as I remember. The police were to refund me what expenses I incurred. Nothing was given to me beforehand. I am not getting pay now. I drew my last pay on the Tuesday after the gang were taken. I have not put a claim upon the reward, and I have no claim. I worked hard as a private detective. I am expecting to get some billet under the Government at the end of this trial; at least I intend to try. I sent reports to Mr Nicolson from time to time of my doings. I saw a picture of the prisoner in The Sketcher before the gang came to Faithful Creek, but I had not seen a photograph of him. I was about Glenrowan from the middle of March up to a fortnight before the capture of the gang. I then went to a farmer’s place.
Mr Smyth objected to the witness being made to indicate in any way any person from who he got information.
Mr Gaunson said he would avoid doing so.
Cross-examination continued.―Saw the prisoner when he was being conveyed in a trap from the Benalla station to the lock-up. Had other employment at Glenrowan.
Mr Gaunson.―In whose employment at Glenrowan?
Mr Smyth objected to the question.
Mr Gaunson, after talking with the prisoner, said he would urge the question and fight it out.
Mr Smyth said he objected on the ground that this class of evidence was objectionable, as being contrary to public policy, and quoted several authorities. To allow evidence of the kind to be given would be highly improper in the present dangerous state of the country.
Mr Gaunson argued that the authorities quoted did not apply to the question―Were you in the employment of Patrick Hennessy at Glenrowan?
Witness.―I was not. Superintendent Sadleir paid me off on the Tuesday after the capture of the gang. He did not say to me, “Stephens, don’t be out of the way; we may want your evidence.” I received £8 or £9 from him when he paid me off.
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