Inquest or Inquiry?
- A bushranger was shot at Kentucky Creek by Constable Walker on Wednesday 25 May 1870.
- An official investigation into the bushranger’s death was conducted the following day, Thursday 26 May 1870.
- The investigation took the form of magisterial inquiry conducted by Armidale's police magistrate, James Buchanan. The Special Correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald, who attended the inquiry, wrote: On the intelligence reaching Armidale, Mr Buchanan, police magistrate, immediately started off, accompanied by Mr Mitchell, solicitor arriving at the inn about half-past 1. After viewing the body, an inquiry was commenced by Mr Buchanan and conducted for over six hours...
A Uralla correspondent for The Empire wrote: A magisterial inquiry took place on Thursday last before J. Buchanan, Esq. P.M. [Police Magistrate] ... 
The Armidale Express wrote: A magisterial inquiry was held by Mr Buchanan, P.M., when the evidence was most conclusive as to the identification of the body with that of the man Fred. Ward, alias Thunderbolt.
- The magisterial inquiry into the bushranger's death was not a coronial inquest (as the Fred-Ward-escaped-to-America camp keep insisting), which would have been conducted by the Armidale district coroner, Lewis Markham. Instead, Markham wrote to the Sydney authorities stating that he had not conducted an inquest.
- No doubt the investigation was an inquiry conducted by the police magistrate rather than an inquest conducted by the coroner because the bushranger had been shot by a policeman in the aftermath of committing a crime.
- Clearly, claims that the investigation took the form of a coronial inquest are wrong. They reflect either a lack of research by the Thunderbolt conspiracy camp or a failure to understand that a magisterial inquiry was a different court of inquiry to a coronial inquest. That distinction having now been clarified, let's not hear any further claims about an inquest having been conducted into the bushranger's death on 26 May 1870. It was a magisterial inquiry.
- Why does this matter? Because this is just one of the many errors that have been made by the Thunderbolt conspiracy camp. And it is these types of errors – some simple; some major; one on top of another – that have a compounding effect, leading those propagating the Thunderbolt conspiracy to seemingly "believe" that there was indeed a conspiracy. Yet the facts tell a different story, as shown in the Myth-Debunking pieces. Moreover, the facts show that the supposed "conspiracy" is merely a product of the conspiracy camp's failure to undertake adequate research, their failure to understand the information in the documents they have discovered, and their failure to understand the historical backdrop to the documents they have discovered.
- Inquest rather than Inquiry? It might seem like a simple error but we all know what happens when we miss a credit card payment and the simple interest charge for the failed payment starts to compound. Disaster!!
 Sydney Morning Herald 1 Jun 1870 p.5
 The Empire 1 Jun 1870 p.2
 Armidale Express, 28 May 1870 repeated in Maitland Mercury 31 May 1870 p.2
 Inquest (sic) on Thunderbolt 26th May 1870 - Personal summary and conclusions by Barry Sinclair [http://users.tpg.com.au/users/barrymor/Thunderbolt%20Inquest.html]