- Jan 31, 2018
I guess we view the word 'coaching' differently. You seem to view coaching as telling a witness what to say or not to say. I believe that is strictly not allowed in US courts as well. However, I view coaching as preparing a witness by going through the evidence and pointing out what pitfalls they should avoid.
As was written in my book 'The Sting of the Hawke':
>>What is troubling to us is the number of officers and others who testified for Olympic and said they saw Hawke come up from 2 to 3 points on Olympic’s starboard quarter from ¼ mile back on a parallel course separated about 300 yards from that of Olympic. This was immediately after Olympic had steadied on her S59E courseline after turning the West Bramble buoy. It was as if all these eyewitnesses on board Olympic, who last took notice of Hawke just before Olympic commenced turning around West Bramble buoy, suddenly decided to look aft at the same time to get a glimpse of where the cruiser was after Olympic’s 11 point turn was completed. As noted in the court findings by the court president, Samuel Evans, “There was an extraordinary similarity, amounting almost to complete identity, about their [Olympic’s] evidence.”<<
The Right Honourable Sir Samuel Evans, president of the court trial in 1911, seemed to summarize it best in his final judgment statement:
'But general observation as to the distances, bearings, and speeds of two vessels turning at different points, at a considerable distance away, about the same time, and then angling towards each other is difficult and liable to great errors. Evidence of that kind requires to be submitted to a careful test; and tests are available in this case. None of the observers at the time were thinking of any collision, and none of them made observations with reference to any fixed objects or the land or otherwise. They may have made mistakes, and harbored inaccurate impressions.'
It appears that the witnesses for Olympic were well prepared to avoid certain pitfalls when being questioned, and if possible, to see to it that they were all in accord as to estimates of distances, bearings, positions and times of their observations, and in accord as to orders given and the sequence of events that took place. The hard evidence proved that Hawke could not have been where the witnesses for Olympic put her when Olympic completed her turn around the buoy. As you can imagine, witnesses for Hawke told a completely different story that held up well to analytical testing.
In addition to Captain Smith and Pilot George Bowyer making such claim, we also have Chief Officer Wilde who was stationed out on the forecastle deck, First Officer William Murdoch who was stationed out on the poop deck, Second Officer Robert Hume who was stationed up in the crow’s nest, Fourth Officer David Alexander who was on the forebridge working the engine telegraphs, Fifth Officer Adolphus Tulloch who was stationed on the amidships compass platform, and Sixth Officer Harold Holehouse who was on the forebridge recording events and taking the time from the wheelhouse clock.
I question if this is right for a second officer duty? Second Officer Robert Hume who was stationed up in the crow’s nest,?