Page 203 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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the submission I must make to you, is that there is no excuse. Whether I am right or wrong in that is, of course, for your Lordship’s consideration. Now the position of matters in this Enquiry is this. Attention was called at an early stage of the Enquiry to the fact that the “Californian” had seen the distress signals and had taken no steps in consequence, and further the allegation was undoubtedly made that the ship that she saw was the “Titanic.” Upon that my friend, Mr. Dunlop, appeared when Captain Lord of the “Californian” was called. One must bear in mind also that this was not a new suggestion; that it was made first in America; and that it was enquired into in America. I am not, of course, going to refer to the details of what took place there. The only reason I am calling attention to it is that they knew perfectly well what the complaint was with regard to the “ Californian.” And no doubt that is the reason why my friend was instructed to appear, and did appear, as he stated at first, both for the owners and the Master of the vessel. I pointed out at once that in the view which I took of this matter the owners were not affected at all. No one suggested that the owners were responsible for this. This was a matter which affected the Master and, it might be, the officers of the vessel. I notice it is on page 156 that Mr. Dunlop first appeared in the matter, when he asked for leave to appear, when he said he was appearing for the owners. He said: “Will your Lordship allow me to appear on behalf of the Leyland Line - the owners, Master and officers from the ‘Californian,’ who are to be examined today?” That was my friends application before they were examined. So that he knew quite well what the point was of calling them. Then I stated what the questions were that would be discussed. Then later on your Lordship says to Mr. Dunlop: “In the meantime, what you can do is to watch, and, if you find any attack is made upon your clients, then you can ask me to allow them to go into the box,” I said, “It cannot affect the owners, I think; it may affect the Master if the story were true.” Your Lordship will remember the position we were in at that moment. All that we knew about it was that the donkeyman Gill had made a statement on affidavit, and that that had been reported in the public press, and that the Master of the vessel had been examined in America, of which we also had some report in the newspapers. But that is how it stood. Whether the story was true or not we did not know. Then I said: “It cannot affect the owners, I think; it may affect the Master if the story were true.” Then your Lordship says: “I understand this gentleman was applying on behalf of the owners and the Master,” and my friend, Mr. Dunlop, says: “Yes.” Then I say: “I do not see how it can affect the owners.” There the matter rested. Then Captain Lord is examined and my friend Mr. Dunlop examined him, and some question was raised about it at page 170 only because I pointed out that he was leading Captain Lord. I thought, and I am going to say when I examine his evidence, that he was an unsatisfactory witness, and Mr. Dunlop was putting leading questions to him on the most vital points in the case. If you look at the top of page 170, I say: “I quite understand that he is here for the protection of the Master, and I am raising no objection to that, but in all the circumstances I think it would be better to let him tell a little of the story.” That was the discussion. Then your Lordship says you did not think any harm had been done at that time, and later on your Lordship pointed out at Question 7834: “You are falling into the error that the Attorney-General warned you not to fall into. You are putting the words into the man’s mouth. You might as well hand your proof to him and tell him to read it out.” That makes it quite plain that my friend appeared, and appeared from the first moment, for the Master. May I just call your Lordship’s attention to the Rules. My submission with regard to it is that by appearing he becomes a party. I am not asking your Lordship in any way to deal with this matter, except to state the conclusion of fact to which you arrive. The Commissioner: Have I any jurisdiction to do more? The Attorney-General: I think not. If your Lordship will remember, you put this question to me at an early stage of the “Californian” Enquiry, and the view I took then was the view I take now, and that I submit to you that all we are asking your Lordship to deal with is the conflict of fact
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