Byline: JEREMY CALVERT
THE Australian Grand Prix Corporation should accept ultimate responsibility for the death of a marshal at this year's event, a court heard yesterday.
In his final submission to the inquest of marshal Graham Beveridge, Jim Kennan, SC, counsel assisting the coroner, said the buck should stop with the local promoters.
Mr Kennan described finger-pointing over blame for faulty fence design as a perfect circle, with three managing bodies all shirking responsibility.
Management of the Australian event is a collaboration between the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports and the world governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
``No one organisation accepted ultimate responsibility for the design -- AGPC relied on CAMS, CAMS relied on FIA, the FIA said the local promoter had ultimate responsibility,'' Mr Kennan said. ``It is a perfect circle starting with the AGPC and ending up back there,'' he said.
Mr Kennan said the AGPC Act specified that ultimate responsibility
for the safety of marshals and spectators rested with the AGPC.
Mr Beveridge, 52, was killed when a wheel from Jacques Villenueve's BAR Honda struck him in the chest after passing through an access gap in a debris fence.
Mr Kennan said that despite concerns raised over the same gaps when they were used in Adelaide events, no change had been made to the gaps in the six Melbourne Grands Prix.
He also said that a history of high-speed accidents at the point of the circuit where Mr Beveridge was killed, failed to ring warning bells.
Mr Kennan acknowledged the AGPC had since addressed two major safety issues in changing the design of the debris fence gaps, and raising the height of the fences on parts of the circuit, but said the new designs should be independently evaluated.
He also recommended that the AGPC should commission an evaluation of the risk to spectators and event staff at known trouble spots.