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McArthur: Review shows Crown Office “simply incapable” of handling FAIs

August 13, 2019 5:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Following the publication today of a devastating independent review of Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAIs), Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has branded the Crown Office "simply incapable" of meeting the demands of FAIs.

The HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution's review found that:

This review follows a Scottish Liberal Democrat investigation that found outstanding inquiries relating to two deaths eight years ago - almost 3000 days.

Families and next of kin, including those of the victims of the M9 crash in 2015, and the parents of Katie Allan who died in Polmont last year have spoken out about the distressing impact of delays.

New statistics also show that of the 32 inquiries that ended in 2018/19, only 2 "general recommendations" were made and no follow ups were required.

Responding to the review, Liam McArthur commented:

"This review has shown once again that the current Fatal Accident Inquiry process is broken.

"FAIs suffer long periods where nothing whatsoever seems to happen. Investigations are still being swamped by bureaucracy and unsustainable workloads. It appears as though the Crown Office is simply incapable of keeping up or driving critical investigations forward.

"The people that should be at the centre of this process are being sidelined.

"There are serious structural barriers impeding progress. The Justice Secretary and Lord Advocate are failing in their public duties if they don't consider all options for improvement - that means investigating whether these inquiries need to be removed from the Crown Office as is the case in England, Wales and Northern Ireland."