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Axed rail crash inquiries slammed

News

A CORONER this week questioned the government's rejection of a public inquiry into the May 2002 Potters Bar rail crash which claimed seven lives.

Last week transport secretary Alistair Darling said he did not believe 'on legal or general policy grounds that it is necessary or appropriate to hold an inquiry in this case'.

Darling did not believe an inquiry 'would reveal more information on the cause of the accident than is already available'.

Darling added that a full coroner's inquest will take place as soon as possible.

But Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas questioned Darling's decision. 'The current powers of a coroner. . . may not be sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the necessary public investigation into this awful tragedy.' Darling's announcement followed the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to press manslaughter charges against individuals or companies involved in the accident (NCE 20 October).

Last week the CPS also announced that no individuals or companies would be charged over the 1999 Paddington crash which killed 31. Network Rail will face charges under the Health & Safety at Work Act.

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