Judgment on Scout Death

Posted by on 08/11/2001

The case resulting from the fatal accident to a ten year old Scout on the East Ridge of Snowdon, 16th October 1999 has just been concluded.

Scout Leader Peter Finlay was found not guilty of the Manslaughter of Jonathan Attwell after Jonathan died in a fall from the East Ridge of Snowdon, which he was descending as part of a group led by Finlay. Peter Finlay had been a volunteer for the Scout Association since 1986 and had been to Snowdonia and the Lake District several times. Although the Judge described him as an experienced hill walker he later noted that Finlay had 10 ‘quality mountain days’ (ML assessment requires a minimum of 40). And aside from the time he devoted to his troop Finlay had taken time off work to attend a ML training course. The judge observed that a national qualification was not central to this case but it did provide a very useful reference point. It was clearly recognised that Training was not Assessment and that Finlay, like any other candidate may or may not have absorbed the content of this course. This case provides a valuable case study for use on Training Board courses. It is obviously very relevant to Mountain Leaders but may also help Walking Group Leaders understand the limits of their award in relation to ML. In the case of Mountain Instructors it highlights issues for trainers, assessors and advisers.

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