Tram inquiry hears Andrew Fitchie’s testimony unreliable because he was jet-lagged

A witness who gave evidence to the Edinburgh tram inquiry has said his testimony cannot be relied upon – because he was jet-lagged.

Lawyer Andrew Fitchie said last October that Edinburgh City Council was not made fully aware of the risks of the scheme by TIE, the firm that was established to manage to the £776 million project.

The evidence was deemed important because of the council’s claim that it was not properly informed by its legal advisers.

However, The Scotsman reports that Mr Ritchie’s firm, DLA Piper, has submitted a written statement claiming he was exhausted when he gave evidence as he had only recently returned from a transatlantic trip.

The submission made to inquiry chairman Lord Hardie said: “Under forceful cross-examination by senior counsel to the inquiry, and at times when pressed directly by the chair of the inquiry, Mr Fitchie gave evidence which might suggest failings on his part to prevent misleading information being given by TIE to City of Edinburgh Council (CEC).

“However, that evidence needs to be placed in context. It came in response to questioning during which he was not shown all of the relevant documents together and at a stage which was late in the day when Mr Fitchie was clearly exhausted.

“As the inquiry is aware, Mr Fitchie had travelled from the west coast of the US the day before his evidence and would also have been dealing with the consequent time difference.”

The submission added that the issue was taken up subsequently the following day: “It may be suggested that Mr Fitchie appeared, under further vigorous cross-examination, to accept that he had been aware that TIE had knowingly misled CEC, and that he failed to do anything about that,” it said.

“Any apparent concessions followed upon the putting to Mr Fitchie of highly selective parts of relevant documents. Without being shown the full suite of documents that CEC officials had before them at the time, the weight that can be given to that evidence is questionable.”

It added that when the complete documents were shown to Mr Fitchie he gave different answers.

“When that was done Mr Fitchie clearly demurred to the prior suggestion that the report was misleading.”

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