Fam­ily of fish­er­man slam in­quiry

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

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.

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