Tower Block Disaster

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Bonefishblues
Posts: 8711
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Nov 2020, 5:03pm

What's the balance of harm though?

It's a real moral dilemma - we want to know what happened so it can be prevented in future, but to do so, has there has been at least tacit agreement that people who testify will not face punishment?

reohn2
Posts: 40687
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby reohn2 » 17 Nov 2020, 5:10pm

Bonefishblues wrote:What's the balance of harm though?

It's a real moral dilemma - we want to know what happened so it can be prevented in future, but to do so, has there has been at least tacit agreement that people who testify will not face punishment?

It's just a get out of jail free card,they knew what was going on.
The whole system's set up in their favour and people die because of it.
It was ever thus.....

EDIT,perhaps I see things too black and white in situations like this,then again perhaps it's what's needed.
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slowster
Posts: 1805
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby slowster » 17 Nov 2020, 5:22pm

The problem facing the police and CPS in bringing manslaughter charges, is that there are multiple causal factors involved and numerous different people with different roles and responsibilities in the supply chain and with responsibility for commissioning and overseeing the refurbishment project. The defence for any manslaughter charge (whether of a corporation or an individual) will inevitably be to point the finger at everyone else's decisions and say that they were the 'real' cause of the disaster, and to minimise the the level of culpability of that particular defendant.

Anyone at Celotex charged will point the finger at Arconic who made the ACM panels, and at those who specified the outer ACM panels. It will be a never ending circle of pass the parcel of blame. Defence barristers will seek to make the whole course of events and the decisions as confusing a picture as possible and to overwhelm the jury with information (and as this inquiry is showing by its very length and complexity, there is a huge amount of information that needs to be absorbed to understand and appreciate what happened, and to then see the big picture and how each causal factor contributed to it).

It's generally accepted that complex fraud trials in the UK are extremely difficult to prosecute: they tend to be of extremely long duration, the complexity often makes it difficult for juries and many have collapsed. Prosecuting individuals for manslaughter for Grenfell probably has the potential to make a major fraud trial look like child's play.

I suspect the only way multiple persons involved in different aspects of the refurbishment project could be charged with manslaughter, would be if they were all tried together in a single court case. I think seperate court cases would inevitably fail, because in each case the defending barristers would find it much easier to point the finger at everyone else involved, to the extent that the jury would be reluctant to convict just the person accused in that case, i.e. it would look too much as if the accused was being made a scapegoat for others' failings. If they are all tried together, a single jury will be able to make decisions about the apportionment of blame between all of the defendants, and one by one for each defendant whether their culpability reaches the threshold for a manslaughter conviction. I think it would be the longest and most complex prosecution ever in the UK.

If there are not successful prosecutions for manslaughter of multiple individuals, then that will send a very clear signal to everyone in the various industry sectors and public authorities that the safety rules and regulations in the construction sector can be lethally undermined by seeking loopholes in the regulations which people know are completely counter to the intent of the regulations.

reohn2
Posts: 40687
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby reohn2 » 17 Nov 2020, 5:24pm

Boney
Manufacturing Consent:- https://youtu.be/tTBWfkE7BXU
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Jdsk
Posts: 5230
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Jdsk » 17 Nov 2020, 5:24pm

Bonefishblues wrote:It's a real moral dilemma - we want to know what happened so it can be prevented in future, but to do so, has there has been at least tacit agreement that people who testify will not face punishment?

The undertaking is explicit. Attorney General's second statement:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/attorney-general-extends-undertaking-for-grenfell-tower-inquiry
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888999/Grenfell_Undertaking_Extension_-_Factsheet.pdf

Jonathan

thirdcrank
Posts: 30544
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Nov 2020, 5:28pm

I's reiterate my suggestion above that the Executive Summary of the Phase 1 Report at least is worth reading.

On the matter of whether more might have been done by way of planning / training to be ready for a fire of this type, at 2.9 (referring to Ch 8 of the Report) it outlines how a broadly similar, but much smaller fire occurred in Lakanal House in London. The subsequent recommendations went largely unimplemented.

The LFB: planning and preparation is covered at 2.17 et seq (referring to Ch 27) My summary of the Executive Summary is there was very little.

I feel that my assessment is supported by the evidence of the then Commissioner who was seen on the tv coverage of her evidence saying that even with the benefit of hindsight, she would do nothing differently on the night of the fire. She said she would not train firefighters for a cladding fire any more than she would train them for “a space shuttle landing on the Shard”.

It's also worth repeating this at 2.9
... The firefighters who attended the tower displayed extraordinary courage and selfless devotion to duty ...


Finally, I cannot quickly find it now so this is from memory. One of the LFB's chief officers had written an internationally recognised paper on fires in tower blocks and IIRC, the Commissioner's evidence was that she was unaware of its existence.

Bonefishblues
Posts: 8711
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Nov 2020, 6:11pm

Jdsk wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:It's a real moral dilemma - we want to know what happened so it can be prevented in future, but to do so, has there has been at least tacit agreement that people who testify will not face punishment?

The undertaking is explicit. Attorney General's second statement:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/attorney-general-extends-undertaking-for-grenfell-tower-inquiry
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888999/Grenfell_Undertaking_Extension_-_Factsheet.pdf

Jonathan

I'm obliged.