The Crown Office has told Scottish Legal News that a fatal accident inquiry into the death of a Scottish woman in Israel is “not competent under the current legislation” as the relevant provisions of the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016 are not yet in force, meaning it has no power to consider the case.
Julie Pearson, 38, died last November as a result of internal bleeding following a visit to a guest house in the Red Sea resort of Eliat.
Ms Pearson’s death came after she was allegedly attacked by her boyfriend Amjad Hatib who had previously been jailed for a month for attacking her.
The post-mortem report found that she died because of a haemorrhage in her abdomen.
And while pathologists said a blow could have triggered internal bleeding, Israeli authorities said her death was not suspicious and did not need to be investigated any further; that drinking caused the internal bleeding.
But a Scots lawyer has said a fatal accident inquiry should be opened into Ms Pearson’s death.
Her family, who have called for a new inquiry, have received the backing of Derek Ogg QC – a former prosecutor.
Mr Ogg was critical of the Israeli police and the fact they have not considered the possibility of homicide, saying he would have considered it a suspicious death if it had come into his hands.
He told a national newspaper: “It doesn’t sound to me like there’s been crime scene preservation and it doesn’t look to me that they’ve expended a lot of man hours in the crucial period very shortly after the discovery of the body.
“It looked a bit to me like the cops were saying ‘She’s an illegal [her tourist visa had expired], she’s an alcoholic, she’s fallen and hurt herself, she’s had a bleed and died, case closed’.
“In Scotland we would have taken this much, much more seriously.”