THE coroner who presided over the inquest into the deaths of two workers at the Castle Peak power station explosion last year has recommended that the inquest be reopened. The decision puts enormous pressure on the Attorney-General, Jeremy Mathews, to follow the advice. Coroner Warner Banks said he made up his mind after reading documents laid before the District Court of Jim Wells County in Texas. The documents were presented by the barrister who initially represented the power station's owners, Castle Peak Power Company Ltd (CAPCO), at the original inquest. The documents form the basis of a US$125 million (about HK$969 million) claim for damages from CAPCO by the barrister, Michael Ford. He alleges he was publicly and humiliatingly sacked when he refused to withhold information from the jury at the inquest that cast doubt on the cause of the blast. Mr Banks said: ''I have asked that the Attorney-General give consideration to ordering a reopening of the inquest and to holding further investigations. ''I am now powerless to do more. It is only the Attorney-General who has the power to reopen the inquest.'' Mr Mathews said last night that he attached considerable weight to Mr Bank's recommendation and would consider it with extreme care. ''The matter has top priority and is being very carefully considered,'' he said. The information Mr Ford claims was withheld from the coroner was contained in a report into the explosion allegedly drawn up by CAPCO executives. Mr Ford claimed the report contained damaging allegations of ''inadequate and improper maintenance and training'' at the power plant. Instead, stated Mr Ford, a sanitised and edited alternative report allegedly containing serious omissions was presented at the inquest. Mr Ford's petition also claims that CAPCO's own investigation team ''proceeded to remove vital evidence from the scene of the explosion and carry out destructive testing without notifying the Hong Kong Government investigation team''. If the inquest is re-opened, it is probable that Mr Banks will again preside. His first task would be to ask police to investigate the fresh allegations and prepare a report. After studying that report, Mr Banks would decide whether there were grounds to summon back the original jury to put the allegations before them. They would then be asked to return a verdict on the cause of the deaths based on the new evidence available. At the original inquest, held between April 26 and May 27, the jury returned verdicts of accidental death on Wong Kwong-yu, 38, and Yip Ka-pui, 40. If all the original jury members could not be contacted, a new inquest would have to be opened. There was no response last night from CAPCO to the developments. The company has stated that the allegations are untrue and has spoken to Mr Mathews. The call from Mr Banks to reopen the inquest shocked one of the widows of the two men killed in the blast. Mrs Wong To Sau-heung said she cared deeply that the case should be reopened but said it was the Attorney-General's decision which really counted. Mrs Wong was left to care for three children aged six, eight and 10 after her husband died. Mrs Yip has one child. Both families have been allowed to continue to live in CLP housing until 1999. They are also entitled to their husbands' retirement benefits. Both Mrs Wong and Mrs Yip have engaged lawyers to fight for substantial compensation from CAPCO. Despite the original verdict of accidental death, the Labour Department pursued a court case involving health and safety legislation against CLP over the explosion. This was based on a government inter-departmental investigation by the Fire Services Department, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, the Environmental Protection Department, the Labour Department and the Government Laboratory. A re-port ofthe inquiry was supplied to Mr Banks at the time of the inquest. The offence carries a maximum fine of $30,000 and up to six months' imprisonment. On the charge sheet, CLP is described as proprietor of CAPCO, although CAPCO is owned 40 per cent by CLP and 60 per cent by Exxon affiliated companies. On July 27 at Tuen Mun Magistrates Court, CLP pleaded not guilty to a series of charges under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinances. A trial has been set for October 18. The Labour Department accused CLP of breaching health and safety legislation which calls for ''the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health''. A decision to reopen an inquest could disrupt the October trial. A Labour Department spokesman said: ''If the Attorney-General is to reopen the CLP inquest, we may have to seek legal advice as to whether the trial should proceed as scheduled.'' Police are now in possession of documents relating to the inquest. They were given them by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which had received a report concerning evidence given at the inquest. The source of the report was not revealed. A spokesman for the police said no action would be taken on the documents that the ICAC had handed over until they received instructions to investigate them.