Phillip Sweetman Confirms He Used M Pigneguy’s Information – Collusion.
In cross- examination Phillip Sweetman admitted that the information he used in his report was shared at the end of the day back in Auckland because he had no other data & he trusted what he’d been given to him by M Pigneguy “should he be asked to produce a statement for Maritime New Zealand these are the details, this is what happened, this is the approximate position.”
It took him a long time to realize he’d put down as his 1st point of seeing Classique, the same location M Pigneguy called the point of incident even though there was more than 2 nmiles between them & then he confused the bearing of the location of the incident M Pigneguy gave him from Browns Light, as being the bearing of Browns Light from Seaway at his 1st point of observation of Classique. Even Judge Davis had to say that Bolton “was making references to statements this witness (Phillip Sweetman) may not know a great deal about… there’s sufficient evidence to suggest he was not on Browns Island at the time the incident occurred. In fact I’m inclined to make a finding that he was actually in the wheelhouse.”
Phillip Sweetman had unbelievably said that “It’s semantics …I don’t think it makes any difference.” Only that he’d copied M Pigneguy’s figures without knowing what he was doing with them in his ignorance of nautical terminology.
Bolton pointed out that in Phillip Sweetman’s report he had used the exact phraseology as in the 16 evidential points made by M Pigneguy. Although Phillip Sweetman denied he had copied M Pigneguy’s report & just rearranged the 16 points in a different order to make it look as if it wasn’t copied directly – the comparison of the 2 reports reveals that’s exactly what Phillip Sweetman did.
When Bolton asked Phillip Sweetman – “Didn’t you realize that when M Pigneguy was bringing out a camera, he should’ve had a decent ship’s whistle to use?” The trainee watch keeper replied – “I’m afraid I’m not actually the manager of the vessel & I’m not the vessel’s skipper, so I can’t make a call on that.” Presumably by now he does know his Maritime Rules & obligations – these in no way condoning a camera as a substitute. “
Collusion refers to the possibility that witnesses may have shared their stories with one another and changed or tailored their stories in order that their testimony would seem more similar or convincing. Such collusion can destroy the potential probative value of testimony that would otherwise have seemed independent and compelling.