TT inquest - final day of evidence

Manx Coroner grills TT officials over triple fatality - describing their evidence as 'farcical'

Posted: 17 March 2008
by Roger Willis

ISLE OF MAN Coroner Michael Moyle roasted a senior Manx government official, Director of Highways Bruce Hannay, on the third day of the inquest into three deaths at the 26th Milestone during the Senior TT last year.

Moyle described much of Hannay’s evidence relating to the validity of the no-go area for spectators in which two of the victims were standing as ‘farcical’.

It transpired that Hannay had taken personal responsibility for getting permission from land owners to establish prohibited areas last year, after the organiser in 2007 - the Manx Motorcycle Club - said it didn’t have the resources to deal with them all.

Hannay had then decided that he had the power to ‘sign-off’ the lay-by area at the 26th Milestone as a prohibited zone because he believed it was on land owned by the government’s Department of Agriculture. But this wasn’t true. The land actually belonged to the Isle of Man Water Authority. Worse still, the document he had issued defining the prohibited zone was seriously dysfunctional, because it positioned it on the right-hand side of the road, when it was in fact on the left.

After hearing all of this, Coroner Moyle expressed the view that the zone therefore had no legal validity. Hannay attempted to defend himself by arguing that it was obvious where the zone was, because there was only one lay-by at the 26th Milestone. Moyle responded by saying this hardly inspired confidence in the Department of Transport and the discussion was becoming farcical.

Hannay also emphatically denied his department was responsible for installing ‘prohibited area’ signage. But the inquest had heard evidence from two of his employees earlier in the day that they had been doing it for years. In reply, Hannay said he hadn’t been made aware of that.

The inquest has now been adjourned and Moyle’s verdict is expected in a few days. At the end of the hearing, he intimated that it is likely to be critical of some of those involved with the circumstances of the tragedy.


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