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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

Old 30th Nov 2022, 15:35
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
It needs to be kept up to date but can we avoid revisiting every aspect that has been flogged to death on here in the past
Indeed.

Also respect that fact that a jury who, unlike everybody on here heard all the evidence, unanimously found the pilot not guilty on all charges.

Last edited by Thoughtful_Flyer; 1st Dec 2022 at 11:12.
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 11:10
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-63813366
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 13:36
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A coroner has apologised to the families of 11 men who were killed in the Shoreham Airshow tragedy for their seven-year wait for answers.

West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield expressed her "deepest regret" that the ordeal endured by relatives of those who died had been "added to" by delays to the inquest.

The men died when a plane taking part in a display in August 2015 crashed into the A27. A further 13 people were injured. The pilot of the Hawker Hunter plane, Andrew Hill, was charged with 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence but found not guilty on all counts in March 2019. He maintains he has no recollection of the crash.

The inquest was originally opened on 2 September 2015 but adjourned in 2018 due to the criminal trial of Mr Hill. The inquest resumed in March 2019 after the trial, but hearings set for September 2020 were adjourned due to the pandemic.
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 14:47
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The Coroner also explained that the high court had refused her request for access to the cockpit video. The reasons are explained in the greatest detail in the following judgement.....

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2022/215.html

It also transpires that the police had, contrary to a court order, retained copies of the video!

"The Chief Constable, represented by Mr Downs, has apologised to the Court for the failure to abide by the terms of the order of this court; and has provided assurances in evidence that processes have now been put in place to ensure that such a breach does not occur in the future."
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 15:40
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Originally Posted by Thoughtful_Flyer

It also transpires that the police had, contrary to a court order, retained copies of the video!

"The Chief Constable, represented by Mr Downs, has apologised to the Court for the failure to abide by the terms of the order of this court; and has provided assurances in evidence that processes have now been put in place to ensure that such a breach does not occur in the future."


I wonder if the Coroner will write to the Home Secretary expressing a ‘matter of concern’ over this unseemly trend?

In the Jon Bayliss case (Red Arrows Hawk XX177, 2018), the police’s retention of Jon’s iPhone was only revealed when MoD’s QC misled the court, claiming MoD had it and it was damaged beyond any data retrieval. (Which is very specific, and he was briefed beforehand as he answered immediately). The Coroner didn’t believe a word and demanded to know the details. MoD had to admit it didn’t have it, and her investigators tracked it down in plod HQ. All data was retrieved. The same claim (outright lie) was made about Jon’s GoPro, yet 24 videos of the day in question and 89 images were retrieved.

In the Mull of Kintyre case, the families still await the return of personal electronic devices and watches. It will be clear to any followers what the latter might reveal, given MoD lied about the entire timeframe. The police have exercised their right to ‘neither confirm nor deny’ possession, citing ongoing terrorism risks. Similarly MoD, who say evidence in an ongoing (!) investigation cannot be returned.

Given this failure to disclose, one wonders how the pilot can receive a fair hearing in any future civil case. Or indeed anyone affected by an accident where the police have at some point held primacy and been allowed to trouser key evidence at will.
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Old 2nd Dec 2022, 08:25
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I'm afraid you can't trust the police to tell the truth all the time
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Old 2nd Dec 2022, 12:37
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
I'm afraid you can't trust the police to tell the truth all the time
My experience once was that you cannot always trust the AAIB to do the same, either. I attended an inquest many years ago, where the evidence given by the AAIB contradicted that in their report, significantly so, despite their witness being the author of the report. I spoke with the Coroner's Officer at the end of the end and pointed this out, to be told that the Coroner had disallowed the AAIB report from being used as evidence. I have no idea why, or whether the disparity between the report and the evidence given made any difference to the findings by the jury, but it's stuck in my mind as being an example of how bias, perhaps unconscious bias, may change with time and impact the weight applied to events. Not suggesting this is wrong, it may well be that there was additional evidence found after the report was issued, but it did puzzle me as to why the report hadn't been amended, and why the Coroner chose to make the report inadmissible as evidence. I'm not a lawyer though, so it may be that this is normal.

This was pre-internet, so I don't think anyone picked up on it and the media didn't seem to spot it, either. Nowadays "trial be media", or by discussion on the internet, seems to be the way everything is judged. I am not convinced this is commensurate with real justice, and I am equally sure that it is of no comfort to the unfortunate victims.
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Old 2nd Dec 2022, 17:29
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Worth summarising the range of verdicts open to a coroner:

accident
industrial disease
natural causes
open verdict
suicide
unlawful killing
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Old 2nd Dec 2022, 18:21
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Worth summarising the range of verdicts open to a coroner:

accident
industrial disease
natural causes
open verdict
suicide
unlawful killing

That helps, thanks. The sad case I listened to was an accident, and ruled as such by the jury, so in all probability the significant difference between the cause as given in the AAIB report and the cause as given by the AAIB investigator giving evidence didn't matter. Still seemed odd to me that the report wasn't amended to reflect the two different causes they presented.
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Old 2nd Dec 2022, 21:42
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Worth summarising the range of verdicts open to a coroner:

accident
industrial disease
natural causes
open verdict
suicide
unlawful killing
As I understand the instruction given to me when I was a juror in a coroner's court the only decisions that can be made are :

Who died
Where they died and
How

BUT, the coroner can then construct a narrative based on the evidence.

The coroner decides who to call to give evidence and the jury can ask questions of the witnesses, the answers form part of the evidence. Cue the coroner leading the jury.
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Old 3rd Dec 2022, 06:22
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To be fair to the AAIB inspectors, their perception over time often changes with the emergence of evidence that has been concealed from them; especially on military accidents where they are only permitted to report on the evidence from the scene. Compare their report from any military accident with that of Shoreham and the differences are obvious. But Shoreham's lacks much critical analysis, so for example omits an assessment of why the Airworthiness Approval Note was predicated on the RAF being Hunter Design Authority; which it isn't, and never was. Therefore, it is unclear who exactly was responsible for many of the violations the AAIB reported. And to be clear, none of this would be apparent to the pilot.

In a civilian accident it is less likely that entire parts of the report will be withheld - for example, we have yet to see the AAIB report on the avionics from Chinook ZD576, which MoD and government has consistently refused to release even to Ministers. And the Inspector was prevented from giving any evidence to any Inquiry. So, we had a situation that his Senior Inspector's evidence to the MoK review in 2011 was quite different than that to the Fatal Accident Inquiry in 1996, which in turn differed from the official report. Not so much contradictory, but more expansive based on what he now knew; especially about the avionics. But yes, the problem is the official reports (MoD, AAIB, CAA) are never updated, so simply quoting the AAIB report at the current Inquest would be very misleading. Most importantly, its report cannot be used to used to apportion blame or liability, at it would be 'against the purposes for which the investigation was undertaken'. This was the subject of a court ruling on Shoreham, where Sussex Police unsuccessfully applied to disclose protected material.

This makes the Coroner's job very difficult, because he/she needs to be able to separate cause of accident and cause of death (accepting one usually leads to the other). It is common for Coroners to conflate the two - see the Bayliss case, where she completely ignored her remit to establish cause of death.

I wonder if the Shoreham Coroner will make the same ruling as the Bayliss Coroner? Witnesses are not to answer questions about events that occurred before they took up their current post. Shuffle a few people around just before the Inquest opens, and proceedings become farcically brief.
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Old 3rd Dec 2022, 08:17
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Originally Posted by tucumseh
To be fair to the AAIB inspectors, their perception over time often changes with the emergence of evidence that has been concealed from them; especially on military accidents where they are only permitted to report on the evidence from the scene. Compare their report from any military accident with that of Shoreham and the differences are obvious. But Shoreham's lacks much critical analysis, so for example omits an assessment of why the Airworthiness Approval Note was predicated on the RAF being Hunter Design Authority; which it isn't, and never was. Therefore, it is unclear who exactly was responsible for many of the violations the AAIB reported. And to be clear, none of this would be apparent to the pilot.

In a civilian accident it is less likely that entire parts of the report will be withheld - for example, we have yet to see the AAIB report on the avionics from Chinook ZD576, which MoD and government has consistently refused to release even to Ministers. And the Inspector was prevented from giving any evidence to any Inquiry. So, we had a situation that his Senior Inspector's evidence to the MoK review in 2011 was quite different than that to the Fatal Accident Inquiry in 1996, which in turn differed from the official report. Not so much contradictory, but more expansive based on what he now knew; especially about the avionics. But yes, the problem is the official reports (MoD, AAIB, CAA) are never updated, so simply quoting the AAIB report at the current Inquest would be very misleading. Most importantly, its report cannot be used to used to apportion blame or liability, at it would be 'against the purposes for which the investigation was undertaken'. This was the subject of a court ruling on Shoreham, where Sussex Police unsuccessfully applied to disclose protected material.

This makes the Coroner's job very difficult, because he/she needs to be able to separate cause of accident and cause of death (accepting one usually leads to the other). It is common for Coroners to conflate the two - see the Bayliss case, where she completely ignored her remit to establish cause of death.

I wonder if the Shoreham Coroner will make the same ruling as the Bayliss Coroner? Witnesses are not to answer questions about events that occurred before they took up their current post. Shuffle a few people around just before the Inquest opens, and proceedings become farcically brief.

I can understand the AAIB views changing over time, but have a bit of a problem with the reports not being amended to reflect that. These reports are largely about learning from experience, so we all understand errors and problems that have occurred in the past and are better able to try and eliminate them in the future. If we have AAIB reports being used as reference material that are in error, then that dilutes their effectiveness, to the point where people may die in future because the wrong cause is given in the report. That seems to me to fly in the face of one key reason as to why we put so much time and effort into investigating the cause of accidents. Makes me wonder quite why the policy of not amending reports exists.
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Old 3rd Dec 2022, 08:21
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Originally Posted by Thoughtful_Flyer
The Coroner also explained that the high court had refused her request for access to the cockpit video. The reasons are explained in the greatest detail in the following judgement.....

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2022/215.html
Thank you for posting the link to the High Court judgement. I have read it in full, and would encourage all interested in the case to do so for its crucial exploration of the "cognitive impairment" issue and the background to the "academic" medical paper which proposed the existence of such a phenomenon. Indeed I am surprised it was not commented on here when first published in February - perhaps because it is inconvenient to the arguments of the most active posters on this matter?

If I may be so bold as to summarise: "The paper produced by Mr Hill's friend Dr Mitchell, a paediatrician with no professional expertise or standing in matters of aviation medicine, may have introduced enough doubt to the minds of the trial jury to avert criminal conviction of Mr Hill. However it is not remotely credible as a basis on which to question the AAIB's findings. The principle of non-disclosure of cockpit recordings must not be undermined merely to allow the Coroner to re-investigate a matter which does not need to be re-investigated".

Which says it all, really.
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Old 3rd Dec 2022, 16:09
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Originally Posted by _Agrajag_
I can understand the AAIB views changing over time, but have a bit of a problem with the reports not being amended to reflect that. These reports are largely about learning from experience, so we all understand errors and problems that have occurred in the past and are better able to try and eliminate them in the future. If we have AAIB reports being used as reference material that are in error, then that dilutes their effectiveness, to the point where people may die in future because the wrong cause is given in the report. That seems to me to fly in the face of one key reason as to why we put so much time and effort into investigating the cause of accidents. Makes me wonder quite why the policy of not amending reports exists.
There is no such policy. Have you looked at the AAIB Monthly Bulletins for October and November? As a newb I cannot paste a link so you will have to search manually through the website www.AAIB.com. While not used every month, Addenda and Corrections is a standing agenda item and both these bulletins include changes to published reports.
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Old 3rd Dec 2022, 17:38
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Originally Posted by Iheardthat
There is no such policy. Have you looked at the AAIB Monthly Bulletins for October and November? As a newb I cannot paste a link so you will have to search manually through the website www.AAIB.com. While not used every month, Addenda and Corrections is a standing agenda item and both these bulletins include changes to published reports.
Thanks. I have just checked back to the report in question. It has not been amended as far as I can tell and still gives the cause for the accident that is contrary to the evidence given by the AAIB investigator who gave evidence to the Coroner's Court. As I mentioned, the disparity almost certainly didn't change the jury's verdict, but it does mean that anyone reading that report today would still be mislead as to the accident cause. The issue in question was whether witness marks from a control cable were indicative of the cause, or whether they were incidental and caused by airframe damage during the break up of the aircraft. The report states they are incidental, the investigators evidence in court stated they were causal.
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Old 4th Dec 2022, 06:58
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Originally Posted by beardy
As I understand the instruction given to me when I was a juror in a coroner's court the only decisions that can be made are :

Who died
Where they died and
How

BUT, the coroner can then construct a narrative based on the evidence.

The coroner decides who to call to give evidence and the jury can ask questions of the witnesses, the answers form part of the evidence. Cue the coroner leading the jury.
It is relatively uncommon these days for an inquest to be held before a jury.

Unless there have been any changes that I am unaware of, this inquest will be heard by the coroner sitting alone.

https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/media/...uling_2020.pdf
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Old 4th Dec 2022, 07:31
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I can confirm that the Coroner, Ms Penelope Schofield, is holding this inquest without a jury.

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Old 4th Dec 2022, 07:58
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I wonder why some inquests are held with a jury and most are not? The only one I've ever been to had a jury, although I wasn't convinced that their input was that useful. They were directed by the coroner as to the most likely verdict, so clearly that I rather think most of them took it as an instruction. They were only out for a very short time before coming back and delivering the verdict the coroner had pretty much told them to return (accidental death).
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Old 4th Dec 2022, 08:54
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I went to an unexpected death inquest four years ago and was slightly surprised that the only people present were the coroner, a friend who provided a statement of the deceased's life and me as another friend. Three people... Statements from police and doctor were read out by the Coroner, but I had expected there to be a few more officials! Glad Pete and I went, otherwise the Coroner would have been on her own!
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Old 4th Dec 2022, 08:59
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Originally Posted by _Agrajag_
I wonder why some inquests are held with a jury and most are not? The only one I've ever been to had a jury, although I wasn't convinced that their input was that useful. They were directed by the coroner as to the most likely verdict, so clearly that I rather think most of them took it as an instruction. They were only out for a very short time before coming back and delivering the verdict the coroner had pretty much told them to return (accidental death).
Having been a juror at a coroner's inquest I may be able to shed a little light. The jury can ask questions that the coroner may not have the remit to pose. In my case the pertinent questions were about the administrative arrangements for the gold and silver commanders of a police force. Having been aired they became part of the coroner's narrative which exposed systemic weaknesses. Similarly health trust problems can be exposed by a jury. The narrative goes beyond the 'who, where and how' which is the coroner's verdict.
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