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PE01501: Public inquiries into self-inflicted and accidental deaths following suspicious death investigations

Justice

Petitioner: Stuart Graham

Status:
Lodged

Date Lodged: 13 December 2013

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce the right to a mandatory public inquiry with full evidence release in deaths determined to be self-inflicted or accidental, following suspicious death investigations.

Petition History:

Summary:

14 January 2014: The Committee took evidence from Stuart Graham and Tony Whittle, Retired Detective Chief Superintendent, West Yorkshire Police. The Committee agreed to write to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Law Society of Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Sheriffs' Association, Victim Support Scotland and Police Scotland. Link to Official Report 14 January 2014 (417KB pdf)

Below: Stuart Graham and Tony Whittle giving evidence on 14 January 2014

 

18 March 2014: The Committee agreed to invite the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Law Society of Scotland, Victims Support Scotland, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to give evidence at a future meeting. Link to Official Report 18 March 2014 (378KB pdf)

3 June 2014: The Committee took evidence from Stephen McGowan, Deputy Director of Serious Casework, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Alan McCreadie, Deputy Director of Law Reform, Law Society of Scotland, Detective Chief Superintendent Gary Flannigan, Police Scotland, and Alan McCloskey, Director of Operations, Victim Support Scotland. The Committee agreed to invite comments from the petitioner and the Scottish Government on the evidence heard and to consider the petition again once responses are received. Link to Official Report 3 June 2014 (484KB pdf)

Below: Stephen McGowan, Alan McCreadie, DCS Gary Flannigan and Alan McCloskey at the meeting on 3 June 2014

Written Submissions:

If the phrase often used as a principle of our Justice system “I would rather have 99 guilty walk free than have 1 innocent person wrongly imprisoned” is believed to be a statement of value, is it then ok to have a system that can accuse an individual of a horrific action of self-infliction and yet have no right to contest that position?

How many individuals assigned as self-inflicted deaths are actually innocents whose killers are never sought?

If the investigating authorities are so sure their investigations are thorough to the point that they can assign cause of death, why should there be an issue with full disclosure?

Does the current system assure that justice is balanced in every case?

Is it right that the decision to state self-infliction without contest is in the hands of organisations whose metrics benefit from such diagnosis rather than a potentially unsolved crime?

Why should there only be a full review at the discretion of The Lord Advocate rather than the right of the deceased to be independently represented?

How many families have lost the right to insurance pay-outs because of flawed decisions, what if this is the breadwinner? How can this be challenged with no access to meaningful information?

Should the term “not in the public interest” be a valid vehicle for non-disclosure of failings of the Justice system?

Under Article 2 ECHR it is deemed that in suspicious deaths we are all entitled to an independent, thorough and timely investigation capable of finding the culprit. Article 2 is in essence an accountability of the State to the citizens, is it therefore right that it is the State that decides that it has total control in stating it has fulfilled its obligation?

Thank you Stuart for this petition, which so distinctly points out the need of improved legislation for cases like ours where our loved ones have died in suspicious circumstances. We really hope your petition will result in the Scottish government making a thorough overlook at the current legislation and procedures by investigative authorities. This is necessary for it to better fit the need that the deceased and families have and must be entitled to in a democracy like Scotland. Over 1000 people from more than 30 countries are supporting this petition, and have been signing it in just a few weeks time. This shows a world wide concern about Scotland and its citizens. But Scotland is also a part of a larger unit. In these days when we travel from country to country, as tourists, on work assignments or as students, we need to know that when the worst thing possible happens to our loved ones, we can be sure their deaths are treated with professionalism and transparency even if this happens abroad. Scotland has a long and proud history of leading the world in the field of justice and fairness. And the Scottish Parliament is rightly lauded for it’s unique public petitions process, whereby a citizen can change the law. We all stand together hoping for this. Guje and Maria.

Guje Borgesson

0:51 on 12 Dec 2013

Families need to know the truth. If there is a transparent investigation that shows it is a genuine suicide, then people will live with the knowledge. When it is not clear and there is no transparency, how is a family going to get closure. We need a system that uncovers the truth in all cases. A transparent system would have uncovered the mistakes before it is too late. Shame on a 'Justice Minister' who does not seem to want to meet people to talk about it.

David McArthur

14:03 on 11 Dec 2013

Correct this injustice, Have we lost our heart as a nation now.

Derek Hughes

13:35 on 11 Dec 2013

I do not believe this is even an oversight on the part of this government but I do believe there has been so much to do since they came into office that we must expect some things will take time I believe the petitioner is correct I believe we should have transparency in all things and that way lies justice.

Lydia Reid

19:46 on 10 Dec 2013

Why should victims especially the family have to do this for any answers or form of justice?????

Tina Welch

19:18 on 10 Dec 2013

For the goverment we want the Truth and nothing but the Truth,no cover up's to hide the guilty at least give the grieving families that it's the least they deserve

Stephen Houston

10:36 on 10 Dec 2013

Get a grip and sort it out. Uncover these lies and show that courts have a clue what there doing and know a case thats put in front of them.

Mark aldred

0:59 on 10 Dec 2013

Let us give treat people with the same respect we would expect if we were pursuing the same truth.I support fully this resolution and I do not like way this family have been treated by Scotlands Government,its investigative system and its legal system.

Daniel Murray

15:25 on 09 Dec 2013

Common sense and justice please.

michelle wood

1:53 on 09 Dec 2013

Kenny MacCaskill needs to get his house in order and support the people who elected him. Shame on those who have manipulated the system and facts to cover their own ineptitude. Shame.

Derek Wallace

14:37 on 08 Dec 2013

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