What’s the time de­lay, Mr Wolffe?

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News -

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

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