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Delays between tragic events and fatal accident inquiries are unfair

On August 3, 2007, a 14-year-old cadet called Kaylee McIntosh died under an upturned assault craft in the Loch Carnan area at the north end of South Uist.

In March 2008 a marine accident investigation branch (MAIB) report was published, followed by a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) in August 2008 resulting in a determination by the sheriff in May 2009. In November 2012 an army cadet force officer who had pleaded guilty to health and safety charges was fined.

With the amount of evidence produced for the FAI, and the availability of the MAIB report, why did Crown counsel instruct an FAI instead of, in the first instance, a prosecution, as would normally happen? An FAI is based on civil standards of proof and can lead to a determination and comments which expose a potential accused to adverse prejudicial headlines, in advance of a criminal prosecution, as happened in this case.

Given that the FAI did take place first, why did it then take three years and six months for criminal proceedings to be concluded?

The Kathryn Jane sank off Skye in 2004. The MAIB produced a report in 2005. It took seven years for an FAI to be held in 2011.

A trawler called Brothers sank in June 2006. An MAIB report was produced by January 2007. Four years later an FAI was held in 2011.

Given the formation of a specialist health and safety division within the Crown Office And Procurator Fiscal Service, in October 2008, what has been their involvement in and contribution to expediting such cases?

How could it be thought appropriate or acceptable for such overall delays to take place, especially given the benefit of the MAIB reports in each case? Indeed, why do the courts accept them without strong adverse comment? Such delays ought to be deemed totally unacceptable except in the rarest of highly technical cases, which none of these cases qualifies as. These delays are grossly unfair to all parties, and reflect little serious regard for the next of kin and the effect on all who have to revisit the traumas of these tragic events years later.

GR Craig,

South Broadmyre,

Premnay, Insch,

Aberdeenshire.

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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