Page 62 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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that is the conclusion I have arrived at. Then my friends will, in the ordinary course, and I think in the order in which they have been conducting the Enquiry so far as their clients are concerned, address your Lordship, and only, of course, in reference to the particular interest which they do represent; and then Sir Robert Finlay will address your Lordship for the White Star Company - he knows exactly what points are raised by us - and then I should have to sum up the whole case, because I have to deal, of course, with the twenty-six questions. I think that would be the proper course to take. The Commissioner: Well, I am not sure that you are not right. It occurred to me that it might be convenient that I should hear you first, and that I should hear the others afterwards, finishing with Sir Robert Finlay, and then that you should reply. The Attorney-General: I think your Lordship would find that it would take up much more time than the other way. The Commissioner: I would very much rather take your guidance in that matter than my own. The Attorney-General: We have considered it carefully, and my impression is it would be more useful that we should follow the usual course, and certainly it would save considerable time. The Commissioner: Very well, I daresay that will inflict no hardship upon the other people. Mr. Laing: I was just considering that. Sir Robert Finlay will address your Lordship upon the points that appear to him to be relevant, and then the Attorney-General will reply, and if that practice is pursued we shall have no reply. The Attorney-General: It is the invariable practice. The Commissioner: That is why I suggested it would be convenient if the Attorney-General began first, and finished. The Attorney-General: I do not understand why the invariable practice should be departed from. The Commissioner: I do not know what it is. The Attorney-General: I am telling your Lordship, and you will find it both in the statute and in the Rules and Regulations. The Commissioner: Is there any one here who knows the procedure? The Attorney-General: It is provided for; there is no question about it. I referred to it in opening, but I will give your Lordship the reference again. It is the invariable practice, and it is also the prescribed practice. The Commissioner: Oh well, if it is the prescribed practice that is an end of it. The Attorney-General: We have been following rather a convenient course in this case of adopting your Lordship’s suggestions; but it is provided for. I will call your Lordship’s attention to it a little later. The Commissioner: Mr. Laing knows all about this? Mr. Laing: Oh yes, I know the usual practice. The Commissioner: Is that the usual practice? Mr. Laing: Oh yes, as a Rule; when these enquiries are conducted into wrecks and so on, charges are formulated against particular people and the Counsel representing the particular people know what to deal with; but, so far as I understand these twenty-six questions, there are no specific charges made at all. The Commissioner: Oh yes - not in the shape of a charge, it is true, but questions are asked which point to my possibly deciding that you have been guilty of negligence in the matter of speed and in the matter of look-out, and, possibly, in the matter of track Mr. Laing: That is quite clear; I have no difficulty about that; but what I have in my mind is that the Attorney-General suggested the other day, in a discussion between him and Sir Robert Finlay, that he was going to make (I think his words were) strong comment on the conduct of Mr. Ismay. The Attorney-General: I did not use those words. Mr. Laing: I am not quite sure what the words were, but he indicated he was going to put forward some charge against Mr. Ismay, and was going to ask the Court not to accept his evidence. That is how I understood the words which fell from my friend, the Attorney-General.
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