Prosecutions not ruled out as Edinburgh Tram Inquiry begins gathering public evidence
Inquiry chair Lord Hardie says “as far as he is aware” prosecutions have not been ruled out
Edinburgh tram by David Farrer via Flickr creative commons
The Edinburgh Tram Inquiry has begun gathering public evidence into why the tram project was delayed, cost so much more than originally budgeted and delivered less than what was planned.
The trams were originally intended to run for 15 miles at a cost of £375m and be ready by 2011, but this became a shorter nine-mile route that was delayed until 2014 and ended up costing £776m, more than double the original figure.
The inquiry will also look at the consequences of the failure to deliver the project on time, within budget and as planned.
It will take evidence from councillors and members of the public who have been particularly affected by the setbacks to the Edinburgh tram project.
Inquiry chair the Rt Hon the Lord Hardie announced it has begun the process of interviewing members of the public affected by the trams project.
The former lord advocate said those contacted include individuals and organisations who responded to the inquiry’s call for evidence launched in May last year, as well as people identified by the inquiry as being relevant to its work.
Any other members of the public who think they have significant evidence are being invited to contact the inquiry now.
Lord Hardie said: “If the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry is to provide a truly comprehensive account of the reasons behind, and the consequences of, the failure of the original project to be delivered on time and to budget and scope, then the evidence of those members of the public directly affected will be an essential part of my deliberations.
“This includes all of the evidence already submitted by the public, supplemented by the detailed statements that we are now in the process of obtaining.
“The Inquiry team has already begun to make contact with certain members of the public to seek their assistance. I have been heartened by the response received so far.
“The contributions of all who participate will be invaluable in ensuring that this Inquiry makes robust recommendations for future infrastructure projects of this scale and significance.”
Hardie said he could not rule out anyone being prosecuted as a result of the investigation into the failures, but it would “ultimately be a matter for the Lord Advocate and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service” (COPFS).
The inquiry itself has no power to determine civil or criminal liability, but a court could prosecute if there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing.
“As far as I am aware, neither the Lord Advocate nor COPFS has determined that nobody will be prosecuted,” Hardie said.
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