Nicholas Gardiner

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Bowser-Mong, Apr 19, 2007.

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  1. I hope this isn't miscostrued in any way, shape or form, but I believe that the Oxford Coroner, Mr Nicholas Gardiner, is a man who deserves our thanks for the way he has handled the inquests into the deaths of our servicemen (and women) who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been compassionate to the loved ones of those killed and appears unstinting in both his support for them and for those who still serve. He has had no problem in speaking out against those who try to hinder him in the course of his duty. He has especially given our American "brothers" and the MOD short shrift as regards the manner that they have approached these inquests. Where the MOD or other public figures may speak out but don't he has done just that and I thank him.

    For any journos and mods this is a purely personal view and is not be taken any other way.
  2. He has done his duty as a Coroner.

    And now we need to hear from the USA.

    Because they have a duty to their allies, and to the families of their allies' dead.
  3. Seconded! He's the only 'establishment' bloke on both sides of the pond I wouldn't want to see labled as 'worthless scum'!

    NG 4 PM!
  4. Hear, hear. Just for the record, Mr Nicholas Gardiner is indeed the Oxfordshire Coroner, but the latest Iraq inquest along with other recent high-profile inquests, such as those into the deaths of Sgt Steven Roberts and LCOH Matty Hull, were conducted by the Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Mr Andrew Walker. Apparently he is on a very short-term contract.
  5. Well said fablonbiffchit - absolutely agree with every word. He has been vocal in stating the plight of forces families having (as in the recent case) to wait up to four years to know the "full" circumstances of their' loved ones' deaths. He should be congratulated for this.
  6. Seems a top man who's seeking out the truth. Well said.
  7. Er - steady on.

    But I do agree with the sentiment.

    TG we have robust, intelligent, independent-minded souls who can use the very considerable office of Coroner - it's for deciding how people have DIED, FFS - to call even the very highest to public account.

    Or, in this instance, the fairly low. i.e. the Pentagon.
  8. Remember this?

    The Oxford Coroner's Court was rather less in favour on here after its verdict on the death of Terry Lloyd showed an apparent complete lack of understanding of battlefield realities.

    I don't think either men are especially worthy of attention. They are bureaucrats doing their job. Frankly, I don't think they this should be their job - notwithstanding the knowledge the Oxford Court has gained over the last 4 years, civilian inquests into operational deaths is an anachronism. Had these deaths not been so politically sensitive, we would never have heard of either man.

    Yes, they make some rabble rousing remarks regarding the US - but to what effect/purpose? Yes, they criticise the MoD - but in doing so, they don't single out these supposed faceless civil servants that everyone on here loves to hate - they criticise the Army, and that doesn't just mean the 'senior officers', but the whole institution.

    So, they've done their job as coroners properly in most cases. They are no particular friend of the forces.
  9. I don't really see why these coroners need our thanks. In the case of Terry Lloyd the coroner seem to suggest that Mr Lloyd was murdered by the US forces. The only people to blame for his death are his employers who told him to travel by road from Baghdad to Basra in the middle of a war. What did think was going to happen that the war would simple stop to allow a TV crew through, like something out of the film "The Man Who Would Be King". It should be ITV who is facing corporate manslaughter charges.

    These inquests seem to be more about a witch hunt against those that took us to war.

    In this last inquest it was stated that because of a lack of cooperation from the US that they were forced to make assumptions and guesses, but also that the lack of cooperation did not affect their ability to make the decision that it was mechanical failure that caused the crash. Did the coroner actually inspect the wreckage and locate any mechanical failure or is this a best guess.

    Of course it easy to see the coroners as standing up for the families, the families are very angry at losing their loved ones and are looking for someone to blame, it’s meant to be part of the healing process but I see it as prolonging the agony.

  10. They don't need to be anyone's friend (or foe).

    The office of Coroner is magnificently separate from the Forces, the politicians and all Whitehall departments.

    Under men like Gardiner, it can poke its nose into everything it deems relevant, and those who - like the Pentagon/White House - refuse to cooperate with it are rightly identified and criticised.

    If, as you imply, combat/theatre deaths were handed over to some kind of army Coroner, how exactly would that help?

    A Coroner may call on all the specialist expertise he needs, to help him reach his verdict.
  11. I agree they don't need to be anyone's friend, and have no issue with their separation from Whitehall - that is all fantastic. I just don't know why they should be singled out as being worthy of plaudits. If anything, there is an argument that the individuals have been grandstanding in their 15 minutes of fame (based, of course, upon an coincidence of geography).

    To answer the question in your penultimate sentence, I believe that a system funded by the MoD rather than the DCA might actually prevent the obscene delays that are currently occuring, since soldiers dying on ops would not be treated as simply just another death along with every T, D & H dying in the UK. Furthermore, having a coroner with some understanding of the realities of combat, as well the general military system, might not only avoid some of the more ill-advised pronouncements as well as actually being more incisive, being able to get under the real issues rather than struggling with miscomprehension. The same independence could - in fact must - be maintained, but there would be a better service provided for all. And by all, I mean families, the forces and the tax payer. The duplication (or potential conflict) between BoIs and Inquests could be avoided with a more streamlined and sensible process.
  12. I'm with Dilfor on this one.
  13. Seems to me that UK's coroners courts are probably fit for purpose and the idea that the MoD might try to provide a similar court to investigate the deaths of servicemen I reckon would be unproductive and the media would be all over them like a dose of clap. The scum will never trust our Ministry to ajudicate on the cause of death of its own. There may be a DLS lawyer to correct this though.

    The difficult issue at hand and it is not unique to the UK, is the US DoD's attitudes over sharing evidence with foreign courts and requiring their servicemen to appear in said courts. I have served in a US Operational HQs (as an embed) and while they were fairly polite folk and we got on famously, any time the subject of US servicemen being surrendered to a foreign court cropped up (regardless of immunities), you got a hard stare back. They do not trust the foreign legal processes and I can't see that changing any time soon.

    So UK coroners can rant all they like, they will have to keep squeezing our MoD hard for the evidence they seek - damned frustrating for grieving relatives!
  14. The "law's delay" is not unique to Forces inquests; and delay is frequently justifiable and necessary, if it results in the Coroner - as the certifying law officer determining cause of death - getting a fuller, clearer perspective on all that happened.

    A streamlined process would risk haste and convenience at the expense of the very necessary depth of inquiry that is often needed. A "dedicated" Forces Coroner (or Coroner Service) would involve the creation of an entirely new bureaucracy, which would be idle much of the time - i.e. between active theatres - and probably be over-stretched when theatre casualties were numerous.

    Coroners do not merely have a duty to the deceased person's family and colleagues, but to the wider public interest.

    It is of the essence of a Coroner's Court that it seeks the full facts behind a death, and that those facts should be made available and intelligible to the UK public, in laymen's terms. The existing Coroner system does that extremely well - to international envy and respect.

    There would also be practical problems in securing the services of sufficient experienced, suitably qualified lawyers to act as Coroners. To secure a Forces Coroners cadre might be a practical impossibility; and how would those Coroners be kept abreast of current military practices and procedures, which change rapidly? As things stand, these very competent men and women can be fully briefed by relevant services personnel, and can grasp things very quickly.
  15. Some fair points, although a system whereby 3 years elapse between a fatality and an inquest can hardly be seen to be doing 'extremely well' or an appropriate time for due legal process. Quite simply, it is unacceptable - to the family and to the taxpayer.

    In terms of a military coroner, I was not suggesting a court that sat twiddling its thumbs waiting for the next war, but the ability perhaps to convene a slightly more specialist court when required, perhaps chaired by a civilian coroner, but with military or quasi-military members as a matter of course (not dissimilar to the JAG model). It would not be tied to the county of the airhead of repatriation but could sit at, say, the home town of the deceased?

    There are problems with this approach, for sure, and it would require a lot more thought, but this thought needs to be thunk if we are to continue sustaining casualties at current rates. Shifting repat flights to Wiltshire rather than Oxfordshire is hardly dealing with the problem properly.