The Royal Commission evidence for 11/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 18)
Constable Alfred John Faulkiner giving evidence
5882 By Detective Ward. —You remember the morning of the 2nd April, with reference to those reports?— Yes.
5883 Where was I on that morning?— I believe you had just returned to Benalla, and were at Benalla that morning. I fancy you were somewhere in the train.
5884 Could you tell what time I returned?— I suppose half-past two.
5885 What time did you receive instructions with reference to those reports?— About eleven or twelve, I should say.
5887 Then I was not there?— You were not there when those instructions were given.
5888 By the Commission. —Barry was the man who brought you the first instructions to report?— Yes.
5889 From Mullane?— Yes.
5890 About eleven o'clock ?— I think so.
5892 At half-past two, when I returned, was there some unpleasantness between the Senior-Constable Mullane and the men who had been in the cave party?— Yes, there was with reference to returning their reports.
5893 By the Commission. —With reference to those very reports?— Yes.
5894 The asking of them?— Not the asking of them, through him wishing to return them back.
5895 By Detective Ward. —Did I say if I had been at home there would have been nothing like this occur?— Yes, you did.
5896 By the Commission. —Meaning home where?— At Beechworth.
5897 That this unpleasantness would not have arisen?— Yes.
5898 By Detective Ward. —Did I say to you, “Those are not the sort of reports required; all I want is a report of the duty you were doing in the cave, of what you know yourselves personally, as I wish to recommend you to the officer in charge for the services you have rendered during your time in the cave. I will forward my remarks to the Assistant Chief Commissioner, who I make no doubt will put a favorable entry upon your report sheet”?— That is something of it but not in all.
5899 Say it yourself?— You asked us how it was we came to put in such reports as those, that is Constable Barry and myself, and other constables. “Had I been here this would not have happened.” You had my reports then with you, you half drew them out and showed them to me; you said, “These reports would never suit Mr. Nicolson.” Those were the exact words, “I want a report from you so that Mr Nicolson could put a favorable entry on your record sheet.”
5900 Of what you know yourself, did I say that?— Yes, of what I knew myself.
5901 That would be about a quarter to three, at all events—you left by train at three that same day?— Yes.
5902 Before your leaving, after my telling you this, what did you say?— You asked me then to forward that report with reference to how we had carried out the duty ourselves, the secrecy of it. I remarked to you I had not time to make out a report just then, and that I would forward you one from Benalla. I made the report No. 3, and forwarded it to you on, I believe, the 3rd of April.
5903 Then when this conversation occurred, when I asked you what would I do with the other two reports, what did you say?— I said I would have nothing to do with them, to destroy them.
5904 By the Commission. —Did you mean that you would not withdraw them?— Yes.
5905 And that you would not take them back?— Yes.
5906 On your mind was the idea that you were to report, and that it should be said by the men that the party was not known?— Yes.
5907 Was that the point in your own mind, and you absolutely refused to withdraw them?— Yes.
5908 And that was solely your objection?— Yes, so that I could go before Mr. Nicolson and speak of it.
5909 Did you tell Ward to destroy those Nos. l and 2 reports?— No.
5910 Or say anything to leave that impression on his mind
5911 By Detective Ward. —Did you ask me to forward them?— I had given them to Mullane to forward them.
5912 By the Commission. —You meant that the whole three should go forward?— I did. I attached the one to the other, and said I would forward the third to Benalla....
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