Page 65 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 65
to repeat one word my friend, Mr. Laing, has said. I have sufficient confidence in Mr. Laing from experience, and I am quite certain when he has done with it he has said all there is to be said on the technical aspect of it; but the point to which I shall direct attention is this. As I understand my friend, Mr. Edwards’ contention, this is not a charge of negligence against the Department of the Board of Trade. It is a charge, if it means anything, against one particular official of the Board of Trade. I am drawing the distinction, which your Lordship will appreciate, between saying the Board of Trade is negligent in not framing regulations for certain purposes, and saying that the Board of Trade has framed regulations and proper regulations, but a particular official has not in this case carried out those regulations. Of course, there is all the difference in the world between the two charges. The second is the charge which is to be gathered from what my friend, Mr. Edwards, has said, that is to say his whole contention is that “these regulations are quite right and proper. I make no attack upon them - indeed, I rely upon them.” The Commissioner: That is Table C. The Attorney-General: Yes, he says they ought to have been carried out, and in this particular case they were not carried out, and he says there was no discretion to be exercised by the Surveyor. Your Lordship will remember there was a little discussion as to what was the meaning of these Regulations and suggestions, and obviously the answer was that if there was any discretion left to the Surveyor no attack could be made upon the exercise of that discretion. If there was - and it seems to me really that is all that results from it so far as I have been able to follow this point which really was made for the first time when my friend, Mr. Edwards, came to address your Lordship - The Commissioner: I doubt whether it was Mr. Edwards’ point. The Attorney-General: I doubt it, because he did not succeed in making it clear, and I am not quite sure that he fully grasped the meaning of the point and the calculations which would have to be made. But I certainly would admit this, that he indicated the point when both Mr. Archer and Mr. Carruthers were in the box, and then he asked for correspondence about it. Your Lordship will remember I said the correspondence should be produced, and it was produced, and it is that correspondence to which my friend is referring. The point I want to make is this: From the moment that my friend had the correspondence he has never put a single question, or asked to put a question, to either of the witnesses, whichever it may be, against whom he is making this charge of negligence. The Commissioner: It is said they did not get the correspondence in time to examine it and to put the questions. The Attorney-General: I quite agree that my friend had not it at the time; but when he asked for it it was produced, and I do think it is a matter for comment that if he meant to charge either of the two gentlemen who spoke upon this matter with dereliction of duty founded upon the correspondence, at least the point ought to have been put to him. Mr. Laing: While Mr. Wilding was recalled. The Attorney-General: Yes. It is very difficult, of course, to see exactly at all times what was in my friend’s mind on this point. The Commissioner: Whom do you call your friend now? The Attorney-General: Mr. Edwards. The Commissioner: Oh! The Attorney-General: My impression, from what took place, is that when the correspondence was produced there was an end of the point. I had no notion that when my friend came to address your Lordship he was going to say that Mr. Carruthers had made some miscalculation, which had never been put to him. That is the difficulty I have; it is all based upon an argument and upon calculations which have not been put to the witness who is involved.
   60   61   62   63   64   65   66   67   68   69   70