Sunday, December 17, 2006

The gentle art of evasion

Anxious as ever to alleviate our concerns about the formal investigation into the sinking of the Gaul, we have continued to press the DfT for their views on the technical paper that we had provided and their scientific arguments for dismissing this evidence of a design fault on the Gaul.
The reply from the DfT eventually came (we have published it HERE) and it states:
The report to which your e-mails refers is a document without attribution from a named individual with recognised qualifications and cannot be considered to be either new and important evidence or grounds for suspecting a miscarriage of justice under this Section.” (i.e. Section 269 to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995)
The above paragraph gives a gentle hint, from the Department, that the issues raised in the technical paper do not in fact constitute new evidence; so we will take this as our cue to publish a fragment from one of the items of correspondence, now in our possession, which can, perhaps, shed some light on this matter:
The fragment reproduced above indicates that, even before the RFI, a number of governmental experts, with recognised qualifications and experience, considered the design and construction of the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul to be a cause for concern and advised accordingly.
However, the DfT’s ambiguous reply presents us with an intriguing contradiction: if the design fault theory is not new evidence, then the DfT no longer needs to check it -this must have been already discussed in the past, and the reasons for its dismissal known and capable of being shared with the public.
Otherwise, now that we, together with the DfT, have finally come to the conclusion that this was not new evidence, should we not wonder whether a miscarriage of justice might have occurred?

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