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Author Topic: An Inspector Calls  (Read 230 times)
Transport Scholar
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« on: March 23, 2019, 10:08:54 pm »

Interesting item on the ORR website:

An Inspector Calls 19 March 2019

Chloe Barton, ORR Legal Adviser, explains what happens when people defy Railway Inspectors.

Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Railways have wide-ranging powers granted by virtue of s.20 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. These powers include the right to demand that a dutyholder hands over documents for inspection when asked to do so.

In practice it is not common for an Inspector to have to use their s.20 powers. Most dutyholders and persons under investigation comply readily with requests to provide documents for inspection, to allow for photographs and measurements to be taken or to leave premises undisturbed for the purposes of inspection. ORR’s Inspectors hold warrant cards but they rarely have occasion to produce them.

Despite this we recently had to prosecute a dutyholder for contravening s.20, for the first time since the Office of Rail Regulation – ORR’s predecessor – came into being in 2004. An inspector wrote to a dutyholder asking for a document that was referred to in a defence expert report in an ongoing case but that had not been seen by ORR’s expert for the prosecution.

The request explicitly outlined the Inspector’s s.20 powers and warned that failure to comply could constitute a further criminal offence. But the reply from the dutyholder’s legal team was clear; the documents would not be provided and ORR were acting outside of their powers to request such documents.

Our day in court

So, on 6 February the matter was argued at Newcastle Crown Court and the Judge duly dismissed the dutyholder’s abuse of process argument, making it clear in his ruling that it was simply wrong to suggest that because the company had already been charged the investigation stage, and therefore the opportunity to rely on s.20 powers, was at an end. In failing to comply, the dutyholder demonstrated a degree of an obstruction of justice.

There is a continuing duty on an enforcing authority to investigate matters that point towards guilt, or away from it. Dutyholders will always have the opportunity to contest the admissibility of any evidence acquired under s.20, such opportunity exists under the well-known provisions of s.78 PACE 1984. However, where a request is made under s.20 the message is clear; comply or face prosecution. In this particular case the failure to comply cost the dutyholder the sum of £33,500 in a fine imposed by the Crown Court.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 09:40:03 am by SandTEngineer » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 08:32:45 am »

Looking at the court listings for Newcastle-upon-Tyne Crown Court for 6 February suggests it may be this case:

06-02-2019   Newcastle-upon-Tyne   9   T20170858
Db Cargo Uk Ltd
Details:   For Sentence - Case Started - 10:52
For Sentence - Case adjourned until 11:15 - 11:08
For Sentence - Resume - 11:29
For Sentence - Case adjourned until 14:00 - 12:59
For Sentence - Resume - 14:08

Transport Scholar
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 09:25:33 am »

From the title, I thought you were discussing J. B. Priestley's play 'An Inspector Calls'. My family was heavily into amateur dramatics and once, after a theatre run, performed the play in the local prison. The man playing the inspector was booed every time he came on stage  Cheesy. He got his applause at the end though with all the others.
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