Page 61 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
P. 61
The Commissioner: Quite so. I do not suppose I have any jurisdiction to direct that the Captain’s certificate should be interfered with? The Attorney-General: No, I think that only arises in a collision between two vessels. Then there is jurisdiction. The Commissioner: Assume that I take a view adverse to the conduct of the Captain of the “Californian,” all I can do is to express an opinion about it? The Attorney-General: Yes. What we were going to ask your Lordship to do was to express your view upon the evidence which you have heard, and to give us the benefit of your Lordship’s conclusions of fact. The Commissioner: Quite. The Attorney-General: And then we shall be able to consider it. The Commissioner: I think that disposes of that. The Attorney-General: May I say one thing more with the object of clearing the ground? I say this with special reference to my friend Mr. Duke and his appearance in this Court, which your Lordship will remember, for Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon. The view I take of that incident, as I indicated to your Lordship before I called the Witnesses, is that the conduct - I am not making any comment upon it - of Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon is quite immaterial in this Enquiry. The only point of calling them was that it threw some light upon a suggestion which might appear to underlie or might underlie one part of Hendrickson’s statement about the bribery not to go back; therefore, it became very essential to call them; and the only way in which I propose to comment upon their evidence or deal with it is, not in reference to any personal part, neither to ask for nor to express any opinion whether they were right or wrong in the view they might have taken, but only to use it in reference to the conduct of the man in charge of that boat, Symons, and that only in connection with the boats which we have to deal with both generally and specifically. That particular boat, of course, must form the subject of a good deal of comment and a good deal of criticism. It is only in reference to that I wish to say anything. I say that now so that my friend Mr. Duke, who appeared for them, may know that, so far at any rate as I am concerned, I intend to make and shall make no further comment or criticism upon Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon. The Commissioner: Well, I have been thinking about it also, and at present I am of opinion that I am not required, and ought not to express opinions upon the conduct of individuals in the position of passengers. The Attorney-General: Quite. The Commissioner: Different considerations may arise with reference to Mr. Ismay. The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: I will say nothing about that at present. There is one other matter. I wish to know in what order you intend to address me. The Attorney-General: The practice is that I should address you last. I have been thinking about it and considering whether any useful purpose would be served if we departed from that practice. My view is that we should save no time, but, on the contrary, in the end probably it would take more time, there would be a greater expenditure of time if we departed from that course, because, as your Lordship sees, the questions which have been put and which are in writing state quite clearly what the points are to which my friends representing the various interests would have to direct their observations and arguments to your Lordship. I was thinking of this to see what assistance could be given to the Court, and whether there was any useful purpose in departing from the usual practice. If I were to sum up the whole of the evidence the difficulty would be that upon that we should have, no doubt, argument as to the inferences which were to be drawn by my friends in reference to their various clients; and then, of course, I should have to reply to that, and that would mean again going through the evidence. Therefore, that seems to me the proper course to follow, subject to anything your Lordship may say; I am not intending to state any definite view that I take about it, except that, as the result of consideration,
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