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THE POLICE COMMISSION
The Police Commission met again yesterday. There were present - Messrs Longmore (chairman), Hall, and Fincham, MLA's, and Mr Dixon.
Mr Hall drew attention to a paragraph that had appeared in The Argus of that morning, with regard to certain charges brought against Sergeant O'Sullivan, who recently gave evidence against Superintendent Winch. He (Mr Hall) asked whether it would not be advisable to find out what reports had been sent in, and how it was that so many months had been allowed to elapse before any action had been taken, and whether it was not strange that after the sergeant had given evidence against Mr Winch, these charges had been made. He would move -
"That all the papers in connexion with this case be applied for by the secretary"
Mr DIXON seconded the motion, and remarked that if the paragraph were true it afforded further evidence that the police force was thoroughly disorganised.
The motion was carried, and the papers were sent for.
The papers included a number of official reports. In one Inspector Drought intimated that he had received a report from Constable Mahoney stating that while on duty in the Exhibition building, Carlton, he had seen Sergeant O'Sullivan, who was in charge of the men, take some packing cases from the Exhibition building into the police reserve room, break them up, and carry the boards away into the garden. Other reports confirmed the statement that Sergeant O'Sullivan had appropriated some packing cases, and gave details.
No further action was taken by the commissioners in connexion with the papers.
In compliance with a request made by ex Constable M'Cutcheon, Senior constable Conniff was called.
Senior constable Conniff stated that he had acted as clerk to Mr Winch from 1869 to 1872 at Castlemaine, and subsequently at Geelong . He never saw bailiffs come into the office for money. He did not remember Sergeant Bell coming into the office at Geelong while the bailiffs were there, and their leaving afterwards as the business on which they came had been settled by Sergeant Bell s intervention. He knew Mrs Moran at Geelong . He visited her once or twice. On one occasion he mentioned Mr Larner's name. He could not remember the conversation that took place. He did not go there to get Mrs Moran to use her influence in favour of Mr Larner. He did not say that Mr Larner could borrow money more safely at Ballarat or Geelong than at Melbourne . Mr Winch had appeared to be favourable to Sergeant Bell, and the latter seemed to receive preference to others of higher claims. It was supposed that Mr Larner was under some obligations to Bell .
Mr. DIXON gave notice that at the next meeting he would move that a full call of the commission should be made for Tuesday next, to consider the report on the evidence concerning the charges against Superintendent Winch and Sub inspector Larner.
A written statement from Patrick Boardman, a bookmaker, was handed in, and read. He stated that in his youth he was wild and reckless, and in 1874, to remove him from temptation and to place him out of the way of the detective police, who were continually following him, his father sent him to New Zealand . Three days after his arrival in New Zealand be obtained employment in Mr Sargood's factory. This employment he held for nine weeks, when the manager informed him that be bad received information from the commissioner of police that he was a convicted thief and burglar, and that his like- ness and character had been sent over by the Melbourne detectives. He walked about Dunedin for a week, with a detective dogging his footsteps: after which he went up country, where he learned to shear, and was regularly employed until 1877 on stations in New Zealand and New South Wales . Spending the winter in 1877 in Melbourne , he fell into bad company, and under the influence of liquor, and "dazzled by the showy prospects held out", he was induced by a man named Britchner to go to the Commercial Bank at Hotham.
He went with two others younger than himself, and found Britchner with a bag of burglars tools in his possession, and the bank half entered. He had scarcely been there five minutes, when Britchner went out and signalled to five detectives-Hartney, Duncan, Hayes, Lovie, and Nixon-who rushed upon him, and struck him with their handcuffs. The other two intended victims escaped, and the police then offered to let him off with six months imprisonment for being illegally on the premises, and to drop the charge of burglary, if he would give information leading to the identity of the other two, and conceal Britchner's name, as they wanted him to find out where some of his companions in- tended to sell jewellery stolen from Mr Goldstein's. Boardman refused to do as the detectives wanted, and he was then told by Detective Duncan that the evidence to be given against him at the trial would be 10 times worse than the charge itself. This was the case, and he received three year's imprisonment. For good conduct he was liberated after serving two years and four months of the sentence.
His parents then despatched him to Sydney . Three days after his arrival he was followed by detectives, but on explaining the treatment he had received to Sub Inspector Champin, of the New South Wales police, he was allowed a chance to thrive honestly. He then became the partner of a hawker, and travelled about the back districts of New South Wales for six months. Shortly after the discovery of gold at Temora he went there made some money, and re- turned to Melbourne , where he commenced business as a bookmaker. He had continued to follow that calling up to the present time, as from the continued hostility of the detectives it was an absolute impossibility for him to obtain any more respectable employment. About five months ago he was stopped in Bourke street by Detective Duncan, who offered him three guineas a week and half reward for any information he could give that would benefit himself and the department. This Boardman refused Duncan begged him to reconsider the matter, telling him in effect that he could enjoy the additional advantage of robbing and plundering with comparative safety.
About a month ago Detective Foster called on Boardman to come forward and substantiate his statements made to the Police Commission concerning the mode of procedure of the detectives who victimised him in the affair of the Commercial Bank. He refused to do this, because be did not wish his name to be again paraded before the public. He was then told that he would be summoned to give evidence. The conclusion he drew from this fresh attempt of the detectives to incriminate him was that they were afraid of the evidence which he could give to the commission, and were consequently striving to render it valueless by blackening his character.
Patrick Boardman was then called, and affirmed that his statements were true. He made certain statements as to a man named Charles Taylor having been systematically employed by the detectives to carry out pre arranged crimes and then to entrap the men concerned in them. He also said that discharged prisoners were similarly employed, and that he believed that in the Goldstein robbery case the rewards had never reached those who gave the information which led to the detection of the offenders.
Thomas Boardman, father of the previous witness, also stated that the allegations made in his letter were correct, and he stated that after his sons release from gaol after serving the sentence for the Hotham bank robbery, Detective O'Callaghan admitted that it was "a put up affair."
Constable Whitney stated that he remembered the robbery of the Commercial Bank at Hotham. He made a report upon it. He had heard that something was likely to take place at the time of the robbery, and learnt from a publican that the detectives had asked for a certain room in the hotel commanding a view of the back premises of the bank. Witness kept a sharp look-out over the place, and at about S o'clock one morning he heard a noise near the bank premises and rushed across. He there saw that Boardman had been arrested, and that there were five detectives there. Witness had not noticed them before. They had evidently entered the place from the back premises. Witness had inferred from hearing of the movements of the detectives that something was to take place. He was watching the front of the premises. He remarked to one of the detectives that it was strange that nothing had been said to him (witness) about the affair.
The commission adjourned till half past 10 o clock this morning.
This document gives you the text of the report about the KellyGang for this day. The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original on the National Library of Australia's system. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors.