Cross-examination of Ian Howden During The Hearing
Bolton asks Ian Howden – “ Why the claim made by M Pigneguy was not checked for feasibility. I’m referring to the claim which reads – ‘at a distance off of 80 mtrs the 1st sequence of 5 blasts, the waiting for response , the 2nd sequence of 5 blasts & then the thought that the vessel could be slowed down.’ Why do you think an unfeasible report should have been considered?”
At this point Ian Howden gives himself away by hedging & being evasive in his answer – a sure sign that he’s not being honest in replying to a simple question. He asks for it to be broken down into 1 question at a time & he’d be happy to answer just a simple question – as if the question was not simple enough – “Why wasn’t M Pigneguy’s claim checked for feasibility?”
So Bolton complies – “Did you look at the distance off of 80 mtrs which could be covered in 10 seconds & reckon whether everything that was said to be done within 10 seconds could have been done or it wasn’t done past the 1st 5 blasts, could you have thought of that when you saw that report before you decided that you’d write it up?”
Then Judge Davis thought Ian Howden’s request was quite reasonable – that these statements be broken down into smaller questions. “You’ve got about 4 questions in that last statement. 1 question at a time would be very helpful for Mr Howden & for me trying to determine what it is that you’re actually asking.”
To anyone with knowledge of nautical matters Bolton’s question was simple to answer & Ian Howden purports to be an inspector for Maritime New Zealand responsible for taking M Pigneguyu’s claim to Court. It cannot be broken into 4 questions but taken as a whole. Ian Howden would have to read M Pigneguy’s claim in entirety initially to try & make sense of it. If it looks impossible or unfeasible after he’s tried to figure its content then he would be expected to trash it – how could he decide it’s got merit sufficient to progress the claim?
Bolton asks Ian Howden – “When you receive a report from any person & in particular on this occasion did you look at what the claimant says & just decide for yourself is this valid, feasible or not before you do anything else?”
Ian Howden acts as if he’s purposely being obtuse when he replies – “You’re referring here to Mr Pigneguy’s accident report to Maritime New Zealand?”
Bolton says –“Yes, the report that we saw in the Professional Skipper Magazine,during the interview & is now in the prosecution – the claim M Pigneguy made.”
Ian Howden continues his evasiveness – “I’m sorry, I hadn’t looked at anything in Professional skipper Magazine in relation to this investigation, Mr Bolton.”
This might go down in front of Judge Davis who has no idea of what he’s hearing, but it’s Ian Howden & his office who provides Keith Ingram, editor of Professional Skipper Magazine with this report from M Pigneguy to publish so it looks as if Ian Howden has passed for publication a report which is not checked.
Cross-examination of Ian Howden gets even more convoluted – “Mr Bolton, I haven’t made any report in relation to this investigation. Occasionally Maritime New Zealand does do safety reports which are published for mariners to prevent accidents happening in the future but I’d done no report for publication in this matter.” (This report he’s talking about is another separate matter & in admitting that, he’s confessing to violating his legal obligation to notify TAIC – Transport Accident Investigation Commission)
Bolton patiently continues – “No that’s another question entirely.So did you check the initial report that I was shown, the claim that’s in Mr Pigneguy’s incident report & from which you made your statement of claim?”
Finally Ian Howden confesses – “I looked at Mr Pigneguy’s incident report that he filed with Maritime New Zealand. I considered what he had to say & if you’re asking me if I broke down the sequence of events in the minutes between alleged distances & what was done in those time periods, no, I did not do that. Is that your question?”
Bolton eventually got his answer. It indicates either extreme incompetence amongst Maritime New Zealand staff or an unjustified decision to proceed towards prosecution on the basis of an unfeasible & unchecked claim.
M Pigneguy’s claim has been found to be impossible & his subsequent evidence to be equally untrue, inaccurate & an abuse of Court process.