Wednesday 27 September 2017

Rally - FAI nears the Finish

The Fatal Accident Inquiry in Edinburgh is due to be completed tomorrow and it would appear that STV are intent on carrying a short report on their daily News programme (6 - 6.25 pm) on Thursday (28th) evening. How do I know this? I had a visit from reporter Oliver Dickinson and his cameraman this afternoon.

An initial approach had been made some days ago seeking background information on the sport and I pointed him towards earlier reports I had published on my Blog and Facebook. That elicited another approach asking if I would go on camera. I said not while the FAI is still underway. He had previously tried others connected with the organisation of rallies, but all had refused, and he needed someone to provide balance!
I initially agreed to a meeting to provide background information and specialist knowledge. Last week he called to make an appointment, we agreed a date, and then he said he would be bringing his cameraman. I was extremely reluctant, but he seemed quite genuine and since no one else was willing to speak up, and I hadn't been called as a witness during the Inquiry, I agreed.

We'll soon know whether that was a good idea - or not. Anyway, the interview lasted fully 20 minutes so it will have to be edited. And therein lies my fears. If he doesn't do a good job I can always clipe to his Dad, Mark Dickinson, who is competing on this year's Roger Albert Clark and has done it before, plus he's done Mull a couple of times.

As for the Inquiry itself, the formal proceedings are due to be concluded by close of play tomorrow following which Sheriff Kenneth MacIver QC will consider the evidence gathered and issue his Determination in due course, that could take weeks or perhaps even months. So we'll all have to be patient.

What the Sheriff will seek to establish includes the following, and any other pertinent matters he deems appropriate:
- where and when the death and any accident resulting in the death took place
- the cause or causes of such death and any accident resulting in the death
- the reasonable precautions, if any, whereby the death and any accident resulting in the death may have been avoided
- the defect, if any, in the system of working which contributed to the death or
any accident resulting in the death
- any other facts which are relevant to the circumstances of the death

It should also be noted that a Fatal Accident Inquiry is not the proper forum for the determination of criminal or civil liability. It is not a function of the Court in a Fatal Accident Inquiry to make findings or express opinions on questions of fault or liability or to attempt to apportion blame.

Although he is not seeking to apportion blame, simply assessing the facts, dismissing irrelevant testimony and coming to a conclusion with recommendations will amount to a considerable body of work, especially in light of the amount of information gathered.

Sheriff Kenneth MacIver QC is already aware of the outcome of the 'Motorsports Events Safety Review' and the 29 recommendations which have since been implemented across the UK. He is also aware of the 'compensation culture' which is prevalent in modern society. On that basis we can but hope that his Determination will be favourable to our sport.

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