Scotland wants laws similar to England allowing people to bring private criminal prosecutions following accidents.
MSPs have written to the Scottish Government, prosecution officials, and health and safety authorities saying people feel they are “not getting justice” as current rules prevent people bringing private criminal prosecutions in Scotland.
Remove the need to seek permission
Campaigner Bill Alexander has lodged a petition with parliament to give people in Scotland the same legal rights to bring private criminal prosecutions as the rest of the UK, removing the need for the Lord Advocate to grant permission.
Criminal cases brought by private parties recently gained prominence after the families of three of the victims in the Glasgow bin lorry crash tried to prosecute the driver but had their application rejected.
Johann Lamont, convener of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee, said: “I get the idea that you prosecute in the public interest.
“I had a number of experiences of constituents who seek a fatal accident inquiry and don’t get that because it’s not regarded as being in the public interest.”
Can’t get health and safety involved
She added: “They can’t get a criminal prosecution and they can’t get health and safety to get involved, and they are left in a position where they feel there is nowhere to go, and I wonder if this compounds this feeling because they have to seek the permission of the Lord Advocate, who clearly doesn’t grant these lightly.
“There’s been some high-profile examples of private prosecutions that have not ended to the satisfaction of the people who had a terrible experience.
“I think it’s the kind of thing that even from the (committee) papers you could see the logic of the argument, the public prosecution in the public interest, but it’s dealing with that bit where people feel they are not getting justice.”
The committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Health and Safety Executive and the Partnership for Health and Safety in Scotland, seeking their views.
Source: Herald Scotland
Date Published: April 11, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown