Family of fisherman slam inquiry
THE family of a fisherman who was lost aboard a small trawler on April 25, 2013, say a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) due to start on Monday (June 5) will be a ‘sham’.
The family of Scott MacAlister, who was 40 when he died, believe the only route for justice is a petition to parliament.
Peter MacAlister, Scott’s father, told The Oban Times: ‘Scott will be blamed and the owner of the boat has already been told he will not be prosecuted.’
Scott’s family are threatening to boycott the investigation into Scott’s death because of alleged comments made by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) that will allow the owner of the vessel to be given immunity from prosecution before the hearing begins.
Mr MacAlister said: ‘How can it be possible for someone to be told they will not be prosecuted before an investigation into the condition of the boat takes place?
‘We have been categorically told the owner of the Speedwell will not be prosecuted.
‘From the very beginning we have known Scott will have to take some responsibility for going out on a vessel that we believe was not fit for purpose. But the truth is we were able to live with that if the owner of the boat took his share of the blame for its condition.
‘I have written to Sir Alan Massey, the chairman of the MCA, to ask how the MCA could make the decision not to prosecute the owner without any investigation being undertaken by them as the policing body first? It is incredulous to everyone.
‘The MCA has already said that is what is going to happen, when it hasn’t even gathered evidence about the boat or any of the witnesses to the state of the boat. ‘How can we find justice?’ Andrew MacAlister, Scott’s brother, said: ‘It is as though the owner has been given a getout- of-jail-free card. Surely it is up to the judge to make that decision and not for the MCA.
‘How can an FAI make an informed decision when it doesn’t have all the information?’
Previously the MCA has said it will decline to comment on any matters to do with the FAI prior to the hearing – but extended its sympathies to Mr MacAlister and his family.
Scott’s brother, Glen, will be starting a petition on June 9, after the general election, to seek a judicial review of the accident.