Friday, May 30, 2008

The doorkeepers

There is a parable in Kafka’s novel, The Trial, which begins with “Before the Law stands the doorkeeper” and tells about the difficulties that the “man from the country” has with the Law, to which he never gains access. This parable seems very relevant to what I have recently learned.
On the 20th of May I had a most interesting conversation with Mr Max Gold, the solicitor who represented the families of the Gaul crew in the 2004 RFI.
Mr Gold admitted that it did come out during the formal inquiry that the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul had a design defect, which meant that, in certain sea conditions, the vessel could take water on into the factory deck, loose stability and sink.
So, the families’ solicitor admitted that he knew all along that the loss of the Gaul had not been due to crew error, but due to a design defect.
As regards the compensation for the families of the deceased, Mr Gold made some extraordinary assertions:
  1. That, during the inquiry, the bereaved families had in fact been informed that the most probable cause of the tragedy was a design defect. (?!) (Obs. However, it appears to me that not all of them were informed.)
  2. That only a few of the families were "interested" in suing for compensation. (?!)
  3. That those who were interested in suing for compensation were advised by their barrister (Mr Tim Saloman, QC) that they stood no chance of getting any because of the limitation rules that exist on such claims. (?!) According to Mr Gold’s recollection, Mr Saloman’s expert opinion was that no action for compensation could be brought after the expiration of 15 years from the date of the victims’ death, no matter if the cause of the tragedy was only ‘discovered’ in 2004.
    (Obs. This opinion, as far as I have learned from independent advice, does not appear to be correct, the law being pretty straightforward in this respect.
    And, in any case, this could not have given any justification to the RFI panel to manipulate the results of a public inquiry
  4. That Mr Saloman’s written advice is confidential and I am therefore not entitled to receive a copy of his counsel. (?!)

I had more questions for Mr Gold, but he was in a hurry and promised to call me back towards the end of the week (i.e. last week.). Unfortunately, he never managed to.

(To be continued…)


Anonymous said...

I was the last person to see the Gaul visibly the afternoon before she was reported missing i believe,and had steamed from the area of the wreck of the HMS Edinburgh to fishing grounds off Bass Fiord 2 days previous before going to a Position not far from where she was eventuallydiscovered
when the weather deteriorated i had a mechanical problem which stopped me hauling my nets,so had to carry on towing for 2Hrs and by thenall other vessels in the area had gone to find shelter,i had to make my way to Passanger Fiord, and passed the Gaul about 3 ships length away,all crew where on deck they had the trawl streached out along the working deck the ramp door was open with the codends down on the ramp,the wx at this time was ESE force 10-11 sea 8-10 ft,as she had not been catching as much fish as other vessels i assumed the crew where checking the set of the gear,she must have been hit and overwhelmed by large seas while stopped in the water

gadfly said...


Interesting suggestion, but, I'm afraid, in the Gaul case, it does not appear to be in keeping with the rest of the evidence and logical considerations.

What was the reason, you think, for which she was "stopped in the water"?