What’s the time delay, Mr Wolffe?
These delays can be very upsetting for the families
f ingers very badly bu r ne d by t he Rangers case in terms of the numbers of people who were originally charged. It ended up with one person in court, who was acquitted. ” They’ve since been criticised in judgments about the way things were done. “I’d suspect they don’t want to get into another situation like that.
“Lack of resources is almost certainly a big issue in trying to deal with all these cases. If you do not fund the system properly, then you are going to have issues about how quickly things are done.”
The Crown Office have been criticised in the past over delays in bringing cases to court. Kathryn Beattie died in June 2004, less than 24 hours after suffering what was later revealed to be a brain haemorrhage caused by undiagnosed leukaemia. But an FAI was not concluded until 2014.
Sheriff Linda Ruxton said that the FAI proceedings at Glasgow Sheriff Court had been undermined by the length of time it had taken for the case to be heard.
Last year, the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland revealed a third of sudden death cases took more than three years to be heard. There are also concerns about the impact the prosecution delays have on the rights of the accused.
Solicitor Advocate QC John Scott said: “There are human rights issues for both the victims and the accused.
“Cases are becoming bigger and more complicated and it puts strain on the whole system.
“The justice system needs better resourcing at every stage.”
Politicians yesterday called for the Scottish Government to make more cash available to the Crown Office in a bid to prevent lengthy delays.
Scottish Tory shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said: “Scotland’s justice system is slowing down across the board. It’s no coincidence this has happened while the SNP cut the number of courts and staff numbers are down too.
“But the real- life consequences are unacceptable waits for those who need answers and solutions the most.”
Scottish Labour’s justice spokesperson Claire Baker said: “The public need to have confidence that any wrongdoing will be swiftly prosecuted – and those involved in such cases cannot be left waiting years for a verdict.” Scottish Lib Dems justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “For families hoping to finally get answers to their questions, these delays can be extremely upsetting.”
A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service appreciates the impact lengthy investigations can have on those involved and we’re committed to resolving them as soon as we can.
“At the same time, our priority must remain thoroughness. These cases are currently under active investigation and we are making progress.
“However, these are particularly complex and challenging investigations. Some require us to work across international boundaries and with other agencies and experts, adding to the journey time towards resolution.”
CARNAGE Emergency services at the scene of Glasgow bin lorry crash in which six people were killed in 2014