Page 4 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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MR. C. ROBERTSON DUNLOP watched the proceedings on behalf of the owners and officers of the s.s. “Californian” (Leyland Line). (Admitted on application.) MR. H. E. DUKE, K.C., M.P., and MR. VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (instructed by Messrs. A. F. and R. W. Tweedie) appeared as Counsel on behalf of Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon. (Admitted on application.) MR. F. LAING, K.C., and MR. ALFRED BUCKNILL appeared on behalf of Messrs. Harland and Wolff. (Admitted on application.) The Attorney-General: My Lord, I have to be away a little later and as the evidence will conclude this morning, there are one or two matters to which I would wish to direct attention. First, I would ask your Lordship to adjourn from the conclusion of the evidence until Friday morning. On Friday morning we expect to have the Captain of the “Carpathia” here, and his evidence will then close all the evidence to be put before you. It might be that he would not be available till the afternoon. As his evidence cannot affect any of my friends - as it cannot affect the interests with which they are particularly concerned - I would suggest, and I think it meets with their approval, that they should proceed with their addresses to your Lordship on Friday, notwithstanding that he may not be available at once, so that we may not lose time; as soon as he does arrive I will call him. His evidence in the main affects the address which I should have to make to your Lordship principally, because I have to deal with all the questions, but it does not affect anybody else, at any rate, very materially. Then your Lordship was good enough yesterday to refer to a suggestion which had been made to you about a contrivance for the application of compressed air to a breach of the ship’s side; and your Lordship asked us whether we had considered it. We have not in fact gone into it. We have made some little Enquiry into it, only such Enquiry as could be made from yesterday morning. What I suggest to your Lordship, subject to its meeting with your approval, is that this is a matter which should be referred also to the Bulkheads Committee when they are dealing with questions affecting the sinkability of ships, and that we should draw their attention to the suggestion which your Lordship has made, and ask them to consider it amongst their experts with other questions which are before them. I think any other plan would involve our calling a good deal of evidence before your Lordship on a subject into which we have not even yet enquired, and it would mean also that if we once proceeded upon that we should have to enquire into further suggestions that have been made. I think that that would be contravening the ruling which your Lordship gave just before the adjournment at Whitsuntide. If your Lordship approves, that is the course we propose to take with regard to that. The Commissioner: Yes. The Attorney-General: If your Lordship pleases. Sir Robert Finlay: I entirely assent. I have gone a little into this matter with Mr. Wilding, and the result of what I have had from him on the subject is that I think the course which the Attorney-General proposes would be the right one. Mr. Edwards: There is one point, my Lord. When Mr. Wilding was being examined, and the question came up as to longitudinal bulkheads, the learned Attorney-General said that they were going to call somebody from the Admiralty. I am not certain whether in view of what your Lordship indicated as to bulkhead construction going to the Committee, that intention now is abandoned. The Attorney-General: My Lord, I will tell my friend at once. There are two considerations which affected me in not calling evidence from the Admiralty. The one, and I think the paramount consideration, is that on the whole it is not considered advisable that the Admiralty should give evidence upon this subject in a public Court. It must be obvious that it is not advisable. And, moreover, if I may say so, your Lordship has the advantage of the assistance of those who do know what takes place, and it becomes therefore unnecessary to call that particular
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