Interview protocols in Aviation safety investigations
Under the Sections of the Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation and Prevention Act 1028, AIB Ghana investigators may interview anyone involved directly or indirectly in a transport safety occurrence. Individuals not directly involved in a particular accident or incident may also be interviewed regarding certain operations or processes within an organisation.
AIB Ghana interviews
It is AIB Ghana’s policy to electronically record interviews wherever possible.
Electronically recorded interviews ensure both parties have access to an accurate record of what was discussed for later reference. Recording also allows investigators to focus on actively listening to an interviewee, rather than if they were taking detailed notes. The interviewee will be offered a copy of the recording.
Interview recordings and notes are kept within the AIB Ghana for use in the investigation process. What you tell us in an interview is classified as ‘restricted information’ and is normally only used for the AIB Ghana investigation. Beyond information released in public reports the AIB Ghana can only disclose restricted information in extremely limited circumstances.
Restricted information can not generally be disclosed in criminal proceedings. It can only be disclosed in civil court proceedings if the Commissioner signs a certificate stating that the disclosure of the information is not likely to interfere with any investigation. In practice, it is highly unlikely a record of interview would be disclosed to any civil proceedings. Restricted information is exempted from disclosure under Freedom of Information.
Under section 25 of the Act 1028, AIB Ghana investigators can provide an interviewee with a written notice to attend an interview and answer questions. If the interviewee is answering a question that may incriminate them or make them liable to a penalty, then section 25(3) applies. Section 25(3) prevents any answer, or any information obtained as a direct or indirect consequence of the answer, from being admitted as evidence against the person in any civil or criminal proceeding. Section 26 further strengthens the comprehensive restricted information protections. The aim of this additional protection is to encourage an open flow of information in the interest of future transport safety.
It is AIB Ghana’s practice to conduct Directly Involved Party interviews under section 25. Directly Involved Parties normally include the operating crew, the operator, the transport regulator and any other person or organisation whose reputation is likely to be directly affected following public release of the report.
Information that is gathered by the AIB Ghana during interviews may be reflected in the AIB Ghana investigation report. AIB Ghana reports are de-identified, although in many situations an individual’s position (for example pilot in command, ship’s master, locomotive driver) may be used so that reports make sense and safety lessons can be learned by others.
Representatives at interviews
Interviewees are free to invite a representative such as a friend, work colleague or an industrial/legal representative to the interview. Although participation in the interview remains limited to the AIB Ghana investigators and the interviewee, the interviewee may discuss any matter or questions with his or her representative. However, all responses must be those of the interviewee and not their representative.
AIB Ghana investigators don’t permit representatives from other investigation teams to attend an AIB Ghana interview with a Directly Involved Party.
AIB Ghana investigation reports
Directly Involved Parties will receive a draft copy of the final investigation report before it is publicly released. These parties will be given from five to 30 working days to provide comments and present evidence in support of the comments. The AIB Ghana will carefully consider those comments before it releases the final report. Section 26 of Act 1028 prevents a person from copying or disclosing the contents of a draft report, except for the purpose of providing comments to the AIB Ghana on the draft report or to take safety action in response to the report’s findings.
AIB Ghana investigation reports cannot be used in evidence in civil or criminal proceedings. AIB Ghana investigation reports may only be used in coronial inquiries for the purpose of improving safety.
The AIB Ghana makes copies of its final investigation reports available to the public. They can be accessed at the AIB Ghana website at www.aibghana.gov.gh.
During the interview the AIB Ghana may collect personal information. The AIB Ghana collects this information for the purposes of investigating transport incidents and accidents. This is authorised by the Act 1028.
The AIB Ghana will use this information for the purposes of the investigation and, subject to the restrictions in the Act 1028, may disclose parts of the information to other parties for the purposes of the investigation.
Most personal information held by the AIB Ghana is stored electronically, such as on databases, shared drives or in emails, or on hard copy files. The information is held securely and access is limited to AIB Ghana staff that need to access the material to perform their duties.
Please note the information on this page is a general guide only.