INQUEST DAY TWENTYSIX - Friday 1 March 1996



         After brief additional thanks from Mr. Leck on behalf of all counsel to Sgt Evans, Dr. Huxter gave his charge to the jury. He described this Inquest as long, difficult but interesting. He commended the lawyers for their attention and participation.


         Dr. Huxter read from a prepared text. He reviewed the evidence and the recommendations given by others. He explained the verdict form and how it should be filled out and told the jury that they were the final authority on all matters of fact. He did caution the jury not to get involved with matters of law or responsibility. He said they could make Commendations or Condemnations (aren't those two words similar!!).


         The jury must answer the five questions of law (who, what, when etc.) for each death and he gave them the details for that. He suggested that when the "where" is described (must be the same for all three), the name Russell Hill should be used somewhere in the description as it has been used in a number of reports. I would have thought that using CASA LOMA would have had more effect, but ...........


         When the jury is through with the mandatory stuff, they can then turn their attention to the discretionary part of the verdict form and make some recommendations.


         In contrast to Mr. Gomberg and others, Dr. Huxter feels that this inquest and its outcomes are going to have a significant effect on parties who are in general agreement with the recommendations that have been made. Therefore, whereas in a contentious situation it may be necessary to restrict the recommendations so that those made have a better chance of succeeding, in this case, as the parties are in general agreement, make all the recommendations possible.


         In making recommendations, the jury should only spell out detail when it is obvious from the evidence. The evidence presented during the last couple of months is the ONLY thing the jury can use in reaching it's verdict and recommendations. This is why the verdict is known as a "True" verdict.


         In describing funding recommendations, Dr. Huxter urged the jury to be very specific, as we had heard evidence that "stuff can get lost in the Queens Park shuffle". He told the jury that the only way to get a funding message to the various levels of government is to ensure that the recommendations are absolutely clear.


         The other major recommendations will be in the area of "Safety". Oh that word again!! Dr. Huxter said that safety is very difficult to define. Each individual has his own idea of what safety is. "It's a bit like pornography" he said. "No one can define it but everyone knows it when he sees it!!".


         Dr. Huxter then went over what might be referred to as his "top" recommendations or at least he mentioned them!! First off he very strongly agreed with Mr. Gunn's order of priorities when it comes to funding. This will NOT please the politicians but who cares if they are pleased. It is quite obvious from the evidence that expenditures on Sheppard are a complete waste of money when the TTC is rotting away. But there are no babies to kiss when you clean ballast so the politicians have a difficult time with this. The only way that these ostriches will get the message is if we have more trouble. It is unlikely that any other message will get through such thickness.


         Dr. Huxter also told the jury that to spend $60 million on a new Transit Control Centre, especially if Sheppard is built, is absolutely imperative. I'm amazed the TTC didn't get it into the Sheppard budget in the same way the US congress tacks completely unrelated law to bills that are certain to pass.


         In Dr. Huxter's opinion this inquest was one in which the issues far out shadowed the witnesses with some notable exceptions and he mentioned two or three. Mr. Gunn, Mr. Reidak and Mr. Facchini were singled out especially as contributing greatly to this inquest. In Dr. Huxter's opinion, Mr. Facchini was "in error" to disobey the rules - he did not proceed at full speed on seeing a green signal in the 1990 incident at Kennedy. But he should be commended highly for using his initiative and Dr. Huxter directed both Mr. Leck and Mr. Falzone to convey his admiration to Mr. Facchini.


         When it came to determining the cause of the accident, Dr. Huxter told the jury it started with the failures at SP53GT and continued on from there. But the root cause, in his opinion, was that there was a subtle decay in morale, a lack of preventative maintenance, distrust, complacency, lack of communications, riding on a trust envelope, lack of critical self analysis and appropriate actions taken as a result.


         Dr. Huxter believes Dr. Sender is right that we must do something to stimulate the environment and relieve the “boredom” of the motormen. He also believes that the signal system should be obvious to "every Tom, Dick and Harry".


         Finally, Dr. Huxter asked the jury members to keep an open mind when they enter the jury room for their deliberations. Individual verdicts or recommendations do not have to be unanimous, a simple majority is all that is required. He then gave the jury to the charge of Sergeant Evans and the Inquest has now adjourned until the jury has reached a verdict.


         Betting by those present is late next week for the verdicts.


                 Dave Irwin   -   1 March 1996




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