Page 63 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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The Attorney-General: Not quite that. Mr. Laing: Of course, it would be very desirable we should know what is going to be said before Sir Robert has to deal with it. The Attorney-General: I remember the passage perfectly well. The Commissioner: I remember it, too. Mr. Laing: May I read it? The Attorney-General: My Lord says he remembers it, and so do I. The Commissioner: And if it is any consolation to you, Mr. Laing, I do not think there was very much in the point. Mr. Laing: I do not think I shall offer any further opposition to the course suggested to be adopted. The Attorney-General: All I wish to guard against is, whatever comment I am going to make I have suggested in the course of the case. What your Lordship will think of it you will determine when you have heard it, but my friend, Mr. Laing, must not take this course; he must not, in consequence of what your Lordship said, say, “Very well, I will take no notice of it,” and then, when I come to deal with the case, if your Lordship thinks anything of it, say that he has not had notice of it. That is the point. The Commissioner: Oh, no, the notice was clearly given a few days ago by you. The Attorney-General: Quite. The Commissioner: And, therefore, there is ample notice. The Attorney-General: If my friend wishes it, I have no objection, we will put a specific question in regard to Mr. Ismay. The Commissioner: No, no. The Attorney-General: But it did not seem to be necessary, because what I have to say is covered entirely by the questions. The Commissioner: After all, the question of the conduct of Mr. Ismay is only material to the extent to which he was said to have improperly influenced the conduct of the Captain. The Attorney-General: Yes, and so far as it affected the navigation of the ship, and what was done on the ship. I will say at once, so that my friend may know, that I am not going to make any comment with regard to Mr. Ismay’s conduct in leaving the ship on the boat at that particular moment. I make no observation, and I intend to make no observation with regard to that. I only say this, that I think it is always a very difficult thing to determine in the special circumstances whether or not he took the right course; and I rather suggest also, with respect, that it involves considerations which are not quite those which ought to guide the Court in this Enquiry. The Commissioner: I absolutely agree with you. Mr. Laing: After what my friend has said I think Sir Robert Finlay will have ample grounds on which he will be able to address your Lordship before my friend, and, therefore, I offer no further opposition. Mr. Edwards: With this one consideration, my Lord. It is said by the Attorney-General that there is no reason why there should be any departure from the ordinary practice in relation to these Enquiries; but there is this distinction between this Enquiry and others, which I would suggest to your Lordship, and that is this, that not only is there a question here of the conduct of the owners of the “Titanic,” but there is also a question here as to the conduct of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade. Now, the learned Attorney-General is here, of course, in a dual capacity. He represents the Board of Trade, as he represents those who are responsible for formulating the charges. Now, I do suggest if he does not begin the address to your Lordship on the general question, he at least ought to be in the position of addressing your Lordship on behalf of the Board of Trade, so that those of us who stand in a position somewhat adverse to the conduct of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade should have an opportunity of replying to whatever defense is set up. The Commissioner: I do not think I should allow that, Mr. Edwards. I regard you and Mr. Scanlan and various others - but you two mainly - as the accusers of the Board of Trade, and I shall expect you to put forward your case against the Board of Trade, and to explain to me what it is you allege against the
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