Day Two – Give Me A Sign – Barnardo’s Footpath
As normal, day two follows day one and the inquiry continues down the same path of mixed up paperwork and missing pages from reports.
I spent another two hours at the Riley Smith Hall in Tadcaster today listening to the inquiry into the Barnardo’s footpath case. Unfortunately due to work and other commitments an hour or two is all the time I have but it seems longer!
On arrival to the inquiry I could tell straight away that there was an adjournment as the three representatives of the Wharfebank legal team were all outside having a cigarette whilst pointing at a laptop screen, either that or everyone else had decided to go the the nearest cafe for a cup of tea.
To summarise on today’s proceedings, there was more confusion with the copies of paperwork provided to the council and judge in as much as page references didn’t collate from one parties book of documents to the other parties references etc: the requested missing paperwork from yesterday had been copied but there wasn’t time to include them into the records so they were left loose and cross referencing seemed to be like a challenge from the Krypton Factor!
To my surprise it appeared that evidence would be heard from people who had made statements regarding their uses of the Barnardo’s footpath dating back to the 80’s and 90’s. I was actually surprised to see that the people in question were there to make their point heard without too much confusion, although some of the listed hearing have been shuffled to compensate for times and other matters.
One of the statement writers was asked to read out their statement which was quite concise using dates from and to, reasons for using the path and so on. After the statement had been read out the Wharfebank team asked the gentleman if he recalled the fences, gates, metal gates and signage against trespassing to which he replied “I never saw any of that”, The team reiterated that if he had used the path between certain dates that he must have seen the signs and barriers. Again the gentleman stated that at the times when he used the footpath no gates, fences or signs were in existence or noticed by him.
One of the Wharfebank team then asked the gentleman to read a statement from an ex Barnardos staff member which referred to the gates and signs and asked if this helped him recollect the signs and gates to which the reply was “at no time did I see any of the things mentioned”. The Wharfebank team continued on about the fact that the ex Barnardo’s staff member was adamant about the gates, signs and fencing and if the gentleman thought hard enough it may help to jog his memory. After a session of repeating the same questions and hoping for different answers the gentleman was allowed to leave the stand. The Council team had noting to add or cross examine the gentleman for.
The second witness to the inquiry was more abrupt than the first as he stated that the gentleman collecting the information on behalf of the Wharfebank legal team was less than honest about who he was working for at the time. It took some intervention by the judge to put a stop to the line the second witness was taking as the remarks made could be seen as defamatory to the character of the lawyer in question.
The gentleman referred to the two statements (one in his own words and one sent from the legal team as a summary) as his statement and their statement, making it very clear throughout that he was not happy with the wording or locations which Wharfebank had used. Again the Wharfebank team asked the witness if he had seen the gates, fences and signs prohibiting the unlawful access to the Barnardos site, for a second time the team were told that there were no such things at the site during this gentleman’s use of the footpath.
The witness was also asked to refer to the statement from the ex Barnardos employee which stated that the sign, gates and fences were on the site at the time. This witness also denied seeing any such blockage to the site’s entrance or exit and had never seen any signs. After what seemed like a long time the Wharfebank team had no more questions for this witness and allowed him to step down. The Council representatives had no cross examination questions for this witness either.
Unfortunately at 1pm an adjournment for lunch was called so that was me done for the day. Although I did find something quite interesting from today. If 2 independent witnesses stated that there were no gates, fences or signs at the site but one ex employee stated that there were…..!
Anyway, I’ll say it again for the purpose of anyone who wants to pick fault with my summary – these are my views and opinions of the inquiry and a brief summary of the days proceedings. BUT! if I had to score this morning’s events then Wharfebank were trailing 2 – 0
Let’s see what tomorrow brings… thanks for reading.
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