Legal games at the Beaconsfield inquest

The legal team representing the Beaconsfield mine at the inquest into the death of Larry Knight have returned early – much to the annoyance of the Coroner, Rod Chandler.  The team headed up by David Neal SC returned to the Launceston inquest on 28 August 2008 according to The Australian newspaper. 

It’s an extraordinary development due to the circumstances of their withdrawal after their opening submission.  Rod Chandler is quoted as saying

“In my view, to withdraw in this manner showed disrespect to this court. More critically, it showed gross disrespect to Mr Knight’s family. Such insensitive conduct does not, in my opinion, have any place in this jurisdiction.”

The newspaper went on to report that

“Mr Chandler said Dr Neal had failed to explain what had changed since the mine claimed on July 22 that it could not assist the inquest any further than its opening submission.”

To those who have said in comments to this blog that the lawyers are astute poker players, I would ask what benefit the legal team derived from getting the Coroner off-side?

To those who said that sitting through an inquest unnecessarily is too expensive, I would ask, is it now less expensive?

Lawyers usually have some sense of public feeling, media appearance or image.  If this team had such skills, they forgot to apply them in this case.  Let’s hope that their decisions do not lead to a legal cock-up.

Categories law, mining, OHS, UncategorizedTags

2 thoughts on “Legal games at the Beaconsfield inquest”

  1. I talked to mining consultants at the time of the Beaconsfield disaster. They were scornful of the safety standards and said a major disaster like what happened, had been on the cards for some time. If mine management are ashamed by any of their behaviour, I will be surprised. That was not seen as a likely emotion from that group.

  2. So the games are played.
    Over recent years the Tasmanian Coronial services have at least tried to be professional, after a worrying past and a long record of very poor decisions.
    Perhaps SC David Neal knows about the record of the Tasmanian Coronial and wishes to protect the innocent, which is not necessarily the mine owners.
    I look forward to the final report, but don\’t feel confident that it will add to the science of SAFETY.

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