Page 55 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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The Commissioner: Very well. Mr. Clement Edwards: Your Lordship recognises better than anyone that in this Enquiry there is a huge mass of evidence, and if the case were an ordinary one where there is a responsibility placed upon individual Counsel to draw your Lordship’s attention to the effect of the evidence, it would involve, if I may say so in my own case, taking up quite a considerable time, but inasmuch as the learned Attorney-General must, in the discharge of his duty to all concerned, point quite in detail to the effect of the evidence on the respective points, I suggest that there will be no need for me, except, perhaps, in the case of the Board of Trade, to go at all into detail with regard to the evidence, but to point out broadly to your Lordship what I deem to be the effect of the evidence on the respective points. It is a difference between two hours and two days, and I thought your Lordship would much prefer the two hours. The Commissioner: I am always delighted to hear you, and, though it may seem inconsistent, I prefer the two hours. The Attorney-General: I hope the same observations will apply to me. It must not be assumed that I am going to take up days by referring in detail to the evidence, except where it is necessary. The Commissioner: Who am I to hear first, you, Mr. Scanlan? Mr. Scanlan: I understand so, my Lord. The Attorney-General: There is one matter Sir Ellis calls attention to which, perhaps, for formality’s sake we had better put right. Under the Rules to which I called attention in opening the case, when the examination of witnesses has been concluded, the Board of Trade shall state in open Court the question in reference to the casualty and the conduct of officers or other persons connected therewith upon which the opinion of the Court is desired. What I want to call attention to is this: That if there is any other question which any of my learned friends would desire submitted which is not included in the questions which I have submitted, as amended, at the end of the evidence, I shall be very glad to consider any such question and determine whether or not I would ask your Lordship to consider it. So far as I gathered during the course of the case, and from the questions, of which my learned friends have had copies, they do cover all the ground upon which we are engaged, and I am not asked to put any other questions to your Lordship than those already before you. I understand that is so. Mr. Scanlan: My Lord, at the outset, as this is the first opportunity that I have of addressing you, I desire, on behalf of my clients and myself, to express our sympathy with the relatives of those who were lost in this dreadful catastrophe, the circumstances of which have been brought so vividly back to us by the admirable evidence of Captain Rostron today. I should like also to say that we feel that the greatest scope and indulgence has been given to us in putting the views of our Union before your Lordship, and so far as the conduct of the case by the learned Attorney-General is concerned, I may be permitted to express my indebtedness to him for calling a certain number of witnesses whose names and the nature of whose evidence I had an opportunity of submitting to him. My Lord, there are portions of this case with which I feel it is quite unnecessary for me to deal. In the whole twenty-six Questions, as they are set down by the learned Attorney-General, there may be found three leading divisions. There are three considerations of safety which apply to every ship that goes to sea. The first is the seaworthiness of the ship; the second is the skill in seamanship and in navigation; and the third is the provision for the saving of life, which may be taken as the last resort. As to the construction of the “Titanic,” saving, of course, what I shall have to say to your Lordship as to her boat equipment and appliances for life-saving, I do not think it is necessary for me to deal with this aspect of the case, because I feel I am justified, subject to what has been brought out in the evidence and what may be submitted to your Lordship, to proceed on the assumption that this ship was in a perfectly seaworthy condition, and
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