Jarvis witnesses seek legal aid

Key witnesses once employed by Jarvis, the failed engineering group, have asked for legal aid to testify at the inquest into the 2002 Potters Bar rail crash.

Jarvis maintained the track where the train derailed, killing seven. The company went into administration three months ago, after years of financial difficulties.

The coroner's inquest finally got under way last week. As Jarvis is in administration, the firm has no legal representation. It is understood that Noel Broadbent, Jarvis's former director of compliance and standards, and Geoff Mason, the ex-company secretary, have written to Judge Baker to ask for legal aid when they give evidence.

Although the firm accepted blame for the crash on behalf of the entire industry, Jarvis has never been proved to be at fault for the derailment. Critics believe Jarvis poorly maintained the track, while experts in the company felt a unique coincidence of maybe eight or nine variables combined to cause the crash.

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