Saturday, January 27, 2007

The smell of fish and bilge water
In the period between 17 and 24 January, two emails were sent to justice David Steel (the Chief of the 2004 Re-opened Formal Investigation into the sinking of the FV Gaul) and two emails were received from the judge's office in reply.
These items of correspondence were concerned with the very same question that had not quite made it to the Parliament Question Book earlier this year, and which was now addressed to the judge:
Was any evidence of design inadequacies in the construction and arrangements of the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul, specifically relating to:
a. The non-return flaps and their possibility of malfunction (i.e. to open under the action of the sea)
b. The strength of the inner covers when subjected to direct sea loading,
presented to you prior to the publication of your final report on the Investigation on 17 December 2004?"
A simple ‘yes' or ‘no’ from the judge, who acted as solicitor on behalf of the Insurers back in 1978, then as Chief of the Investigation in 2004 and was therefore in the best position to know the answer, would have sufficed.
Sadly, however, we were not meant to get either.

1 comment:

gadfly said...

"Legitimate public criticism of judicial performance is a means of ensuring accountability."

"[Participation in public debate] may contribute to the public understanding of the administration of justice and to public confidence in the judiciary."(Guide to Judicial Conduct, June 2006)