Page 12 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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The Attorney-General: And a negligent act, in view of the freight they carried. The Commissioner: You mean the lives they carried. The Attorney-General: Certainly, the number of passengers. The Commissioner: You can imagine every man in the trade has been negligent for the last 20 years, but I should be much more disposed to say that a man who has followed the practice that has existed so long is guilty of an error of judgment. The Attorney-General: There are so many considerations to apply to this particular case. The Commissioner: I am not arguing it. I am only mentioning to you the consideration that I think might be given to these facts and figures if they can be procured. The Attorney-General: The only thing I want to know is, where we are. Am I or am I not to proceed with this Enquiry in order to deal with the request which your Lordship made? We have done it as far as we possibly can, and we are waiting for the further documents. If objection is to be taken to it, and your Lordship rules it out, then of course we will go no further. If on the other hand your Lordship thinks it of importance that you should have it then we must take steps, and we must call evidence properly before you and take care to subpoena the owners to produce the logbooks and get all the material before the Court. Sir Robert Finlay: What I said was, I object to it at present. We will give every help in our power to the Court, but it is absolutely essential that before a statement of this kind goes in, we should see not only the letters which are written, on which the statement is based, but also the logbooks of the several vessels. The Commissioner: I quite agree. Sir Robert Finlay: Subject to that, we will cooperate in every way in our power. The Attorney-General: That does not really meet the difficulty. If my friend wants to see the logbooks of the vessels we cannot get them except by subpoena. The Commissioner: You talk about subpoenaing these gentlemen to produce the logbooks, but you must remember these are German ships. The Attorney-General: There are only two German ships, and there are a number of other lines we have to deal with. Of course, I cannot get the German ships. I am not thinking of them for the moment, but so far as they are concerned they may give them. I do not know. We have asked for them, and they have said they will supply us with all information, but have not specifically dealt with the logbooks. On the other hand, there are companies which have answered and have given us the information, but do not answer with regard to logbooks. If we want to get those logbooks we have to bring them before the Court, and we should have to subpoena the companies to produce them. That is the only way we can get them. If that is required it must be done, and we cannot treat the evidence as concluded; that is all. The Commissioner: All I can say at present, Mr. Attorney, is this: proceed to get the evidence; try to get it together, but do not let the Enquiry be delayed for the want of it. I think we had better, on the whole, go on, although the evidence may not be gathered together in such a way as to satisfy Sir Robert. If it is not, I shall not accept it. But still I think it would be desirable to get the evidence if you can, so that you may show it to Sir Robert, and if he chooses he can allow it to go in. If he does not choose, he can object. Perhaps you would not like that. The Attorney-General: No, I object to that. The Commissioner: Yes, I can see why, because it would mean giving him the opportunity of letting it in if it favours his case, and of excluding it if it does not. The Attorney-General: Yes. Of course I represent no party, I am here merely for the purpose of putting the matter before the Court. The Commissioner: Sir Robert does represent a party. You do not. The Attorney-General: If the Court wants the information I can see how it can be got, but, at the same time, as I say, it will take a little time, and the one thing that would be impossible is for
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