The Royal Commission evidence for 10/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 17)
Constable Dowling giving evidence
5111 But you will not swear whether he was there at the time that Paddy Byrne rode away or not?— No.
5112 But he was at his own house in the morning?— Yes.
5115 By the Commission—He has not positively sworn that. (To the Witness.)—Did you meet Detective Ward when you came in?— On the way down to the hut we did.
5116 Did he speak to you or to your party then?— Yes; he said, “Go on, and take up your posts at Byrne's house.”
5117 Did any of you say it was not necessary for you to tell a lie—to make a misrepresentation?— Yes, I did.
5118 By Mr. Ward. —Within my hearing?— Well, I do not know you heard.
5119 By the Commission. —If Detective Ward said to you, “Go and take up your place at Byrne's house,” without saying anything else, would that be for the purpose of deceiving your officer; would that not be for the plain purpose of deceiving your officer, without anything else?— Yes.
5120 Would not that be the effect?— Yes, it would.
5121 By Detective Ward. —Do you know what the orders were from me to the then in charge on any night at first?— No, I did not know the instructions we received at first.
5122 How do you know then that it would be deceiving your officer; do you know whether the order was to go out at eight, nine, ten, or eleven, from me to the constable in charge?— No, I never got any instructions what time to go out or what time to come in in the morning.
5123 By Mr Nicolson. —The week before you were surprised at this post and Sherritt shot, did you receive any warning from head-quarters to be on the alert in case of surprise?— No.
5124 By the Commission. —Was it reported among your comrades that any order for special care had been promulgated among them; was it said among the men that there was to be special caution, or anything?— No, I never heard of it.
Mr. Nicolson — May I ask for D13 to be produced and read?
The Chairman — It is a letter from John Sherritt to Mr. Inspector Hare, Sheep-station, dated June 20th 1880 — “Dear Sir, — I would like very much to have seen you yesterday, as the outlaw Byrne does he frequently and sleeps in 's haystack on Sebastopol. I cannot see how it is that he is not caught before now. His brother Patrick does be out all night and sleeps all day. Mrs. Byrne has their winter flannel and socks all ready to go to them, and she has provisions for six families stored by in her house. Sir, I don't want to dictate to a gentleman of your ability, but the plan I would suggest is this—for Patrick Byrne to be watched minutely day and night, as this is a particular time. As long as Aaron has the men down there, they will never do any good, as to my knowledge he lets too many of his mother-in-law's children to his house, and his mother-in-law herself will go there night after night, and will stop ometimes until two o'clock in the morning, and this will be the means of discovering the police, as the Barry children and the Byrne children go to the same school and are on friendly terms. Dear sir, the reason I send you these few lines is this—anything I say up here, they will not listen to it; therefore I would like to explain matters to yourself. I am certain before long they are going to make another raid; I have not heard yet what it is. I am very busy now, but if you don't succeed, sir, I have a grand plan made up that I think will carry through. I remain yours most respectfully, JOHN SHERRITT, junr.”
5125 By the Commission (to the witness). —Do you remember any of those children coming about when you were there—the Barry children?— I remember one coming into the hut on one occasion.
5126 Did you go out of that room when the children came in?— No.
5127 Did you hear what was said?— No.
5128 How many was “we”?— Four of us.
5129 How old was the child?— About eight years.
5130 Do you believe, from hearing that letter read, that the child was likely to meet the Byrne children at the school—do you know whether he did meet them at the school?— No, I could not say.
5131 Do you know the haystack alluded to there—you used to go on duty to Byrne's house at night; do you know where that haystack is?— No.
5132 Used Mrs. Barry, the mother-in-law, to stay at night, as that letter says, and go away towards morning?— Not that I am aware of.
5133 Did she live permanently in the house with her daughter?— No, she did not; she visited her daughter every night very nearly.
5l34 How did you know that?— I saw her coming in.....
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