Sarah Stewart and Dani Tselentakis appeared in the Coroner’s Court in Crawley on 26 April 2021 at the eighth hearing in the Shoreham air crash disaster in which Stewarts represents most of the bereaved families.
The crash occurred at the Shoreham air show on 22 August 2015. At the show, a Hawker Hunter aircraft failed to pull out of a loop manoeuvre before crashing into the ground on the adjacent A27 road. Eleven people lost their lives, and a further 13 were injured.
The eighth pre-inquest review hearing (PIRH) marks the latest stage in the families’ quest to understand the events leading up to the air crash disaster that resulted in them losing their loved ones.
Gerard Forlin QC, the barrister instructed by Stewarts, made submissions regarding the coroner’s deliberation on whether to make an application to the High Court to seek protected material held by the Chief Constable. These submissions were made to Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield in front of representatives for other interested parties including the pilot of the Hawker Hunter, Sussex Police, the CAA and the AAIB as well as the bereaved families. Such an application is an important stepping-stone in accessing key material produced in the criminal trial against the pilot (that took place in 2019) and which is likely to be relevant to the inquest. Mr Forlin made submissions on the criminal trial experts, unused material, timetabling for the inquest and points of law.
During the PIRH the coroner confirmed her decision to make the application and subsequently handed down her formal ruling as that had been requested by the AAIB. The ruling confirmed that she will apply to the High Court and seek an order for disclosure of the cockpit Go-Pro footage, expert reports relating to cognitive impairment and transcripts of evidence, all of which were considered during the criminal trial of the pilot.
Sarah Stewart, partner in the Aviation team representing the families of seven of the victims, comments:
“It is of paramount importance to the families that the coroner conducts a full, frank and fearless investigation into the Shoreham air crash disaster. That is the standard they should expect.”
There will be a further hearing in July.
Depending on the timing for the High Court application, the final inquest will either take place in October 2021 or it will need to be re-listed for 2022.
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