Our coroners “foolish”? Max Hastings needs to look closer to home

In today’s Daily Mail, journalist Max Hastings talks about his experience in the army.

He says:

My own memories of dalliance with the Army more than half a century ago involved an insouciance with weapons, vehicles, parachutes — indeed, risk of all kinds — that would give heart failure to the modern Health & Safety Executive, not to mention foolish civilian coroners.

What arrogance this man has to make such a statement – undermining our judiciary and poking fun at today’s risk values.

Yes, the world has changed since his time in the army – for the better.  Directions given by Coroners have directly led to improved conditions and, in the army, helped to save lives.  For example, after the deaths of three army reservists during a training exercise in Brecon Beacons in 2013, the coroner’s comments helped to set in place a chain of events that ultimately led to the Commons defence committee recommending that the MoD should lose its historic immunity from prosecution when armed forces personnel are killed during training.  During my career representing the armed forces and families at Inquests, I could cite numerous other examples.

All those parents and families  who have lost loved ones through military blunders can take some solace from the fact that a coroner has properly investigated, got to the truth of the matter and given directions for improvements in the future.  In calling anyone “foolish” Mr Hastings needs to look closer to home.

Hilary Meredith