Petitioner: Stuart Graham
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.
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
30 September 2014: The Committee agreed to refer the petition, under Rule 15.6.2, to the Justice Committee. In doing so, the Committee agreed to write to the Convener of the Justice Committee highlighting the evidence the Committee has received on the petition. Link to Official Report 30 September 2014 (509KB pdf)
4 November 2014: The Justice Committee agreed to write to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to ascertain the level of investigation carried out into the 4,000 deaths classed as self-inflicted in the last five years and to consider the petition as part of its scrutiny of the forthcoming legislation on fatal accident inquiries. Link to Official Report 4 November 2014
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?