TC applauds use of Skype at public inquiry

Kevin Rooney


A public inquiry (PI) in Bristol has heard evidence from a witness through Skype for the first time.

The use of the technology was described as a “novel approach” by traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney (pictured) in the PI. The written decision was released this month (CM 5 July, p20).

After the inquiry, as a result of which Chippenham operator DK Barnsley lost its O-licence, the TC expressed his approval for the co-operation of all participants in the use of Skype.The person giving the evidence on Skype was DVSA vehicle examiner Adrian Seadon.

Rooney said: “Daren Barnsley and Aaron Barnsley attended the public inquiry for the company represented by Philip Brown, solicitor, who also represented Gary England [the driver]. Mr Brown provided submissions in advance for which I was grateful.

"They raised questions relating to the evidence of vehicle examiner Seadon so I called Mr Seadon to the inquiry at short notice. He was unable to travel to Bristol and arrangements were made for him to attend the relevant part of the hearing via Skype. I am grateful to Mr Brown for his positive approach.”

Philip Brown, the solicitor thanked by Rooney, is a former senior transport commissioner who served in the role from 2003 to 2011. Brown said that allowing the vehicle examiner to give his evidence by Skype made sense because the PI was in Bristol but the vehicle examiner is in the Midlands, which is where the truck that prompted the investigation was stopped.