Lorry Driver Under Pressure At Inquiry
21 August 2015, 11:09
The Glasgow bin lorry crash driver was asked to imagine his own daughter had been killed as he came under pressure to answer questions at an inquiry.
Harry Clarke, 58, has refused repeatedly to answer questions on his medical history at the inquiry into the December 22 tragedy, when he blacked out at the wheel and his truck hit and killed six pedestrians.
During a second day of evidence, the council worker was asked "do you not have the decency to think of someone other than yourself?''
Dorothy Bain QC, acting for relatives of crash victim Jacqueline Morton, said: "If your daughter was killed and there was a public inquiry trying to find out what might have prevented her death, what would you hope those who might have some information about it would do at that public inquiry?''
Mr Clarke said: "I don't wish to answer that question.''
Ms Bain said: "Do you really not wish to answer? Do you not have the decency to think of someone other than yourself on this occasion?
"If you've not done anything wrong, why not help today? If you have done something ... do you not think you should begin to make amends for that by choosing to answer?''
Mr Clarke said he did not want to respond and did not comment when Ms Bain went on to describe his "dreadful'' work absence record and accused him of deliberately misleading doctors to keep his job as a driver.
She said: "You should never have been behind the wheel of an HGV and you know that.''
Ms Bain said Mr Clarke could "begin to make amends'' by answering questions but he repeatedly said: "I don't wish to answer that question.''
The inquiry heard the witness had told a "pack of lies'' on the various medical questionnaires he had completed on job applications and licence renewals.
Ms Bain said: "It's probably the case that in line with the kind of person you have revealed yourself to be here you will try and shuffle off blame on to various GPs.''
She added: "If you had told the truth in 2010, there is every likelihood the six innocent people who lost their lives would still be here today.''
Mr Clarke again said he did not want to answer.
The representative for the Morton family said Mr Clarke's actions were "unbelievable'' and "remarkable'', but he continued to refuse to answer her questions.
Ms Bain told Mr Clarke: "You took a chance that other people wouldn't have given you. First Bus wouldn't have given you, Glasgow City Council wouldn't have given you, you know that.
"You took a chance and it's taken the lives of six innocent people. The difference between you and them is that you had a choice and they didn't. They had no chance.''
Mr Clarke continued to say he "did not wish to answer that question'' throughout.
The inquiry also heard that Mr Clarke did not disclose his "blackout'' at the wheel of a First Bus in 2010 when questioned by doctors after the fatal bin lorry crash last year.
Ms Bain said it only came to light in February when a professor checked his medical records.
Ms Bain said the professor told Mr Clarke not to drive but he applied for his licence back.
"Do you know what you had the audacity to do? You asked for your licence back. It's actually unbelievable.
"It's beyond belief, how could you have done that? How could you?''
She told the witness he had shown a "reckless indifference to the consequences of your actions'' for years and that it took the tragedy of last year to "uncover your web of lies''.
Mr Clarke repeated that he did not want to answer.
Mark Stewart QC, representing the McQuade family, then cross-examined Mr Clarke and asked him if he was feeling under pressure.
Mr Clarke said: "Well, I've had better days.''