No criminal proceedings to be brought over Clutha disaster

No criminal proceedings will be brought over the Clutha disaster,  the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has announced.

In a statement, COPFS said that there will, instead, be a fata accident inquiry.

It states: “In coming to this decision, Crown Counsel have considered the evidence available, and the recommendations of the inquiry team, and an assessment of what information may reasonably become available in the future has also been taken into account.

“Crown Counsel have instructed that the appropriate form of proceedings at this stage is an inquiry into the deaths of all who lost their lives in terms of the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016. Although the evidence currently available would not justify criminal proceedings, the Crown reserves the right to raise criminal proceedings should evidence in support of that course of action become available to prosecutors.

“The Helicopter Team will now work with Crown Counsel to focus further on the issues that it is considered the inquiry should address and put in place in the preparations for initiating the formal procedure for an inquiry.”

Andrew Henderson a partner with Thompsons Solicitors represents dozens of victims of the Clutha tragedy and families of those who lost loved ones in the accident.

He said: “While it will be welcome news for our clients that there is now some movement by the Crown Office on beginning the FAI process its highly regrettable it has taken so long.

“The whole purpose of FAIs is to make recommendations that will stop similar tragedies happening in the future and therefor the process moving forward in a timely fashion is crucial.

“The fact that the inquiry is likely to begin almost five years after this awful accident is not acceptable.

“This again highlights what my law firm has long argued which is that the whole FAI system in Scotland needs to be overhauled so that inquires are held more quickly and that bereaved families are at the very heart of the process. I still believe that this is not the case.”