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by Staff reporter
09 September 2021
Justice secretary offers apology over Police Scotland's crash failures

Keith Brown making a statement in the chamber (Scottish Parliament TV)

Justice secretary offers apology over Police Scotland's crash failures

The justice secretary has apologised to the families of John Yuill and Lamara Bell who died after a car crash in 2015.

Keith Brown made a statement in the Scottish Parliament following Police Scotland's admission on Tuesday that there had been failings in its call handling system at the time of the incident.

The pair's car went off the M9 near Stirling in July 2015, but they were only found by officers three days after the crash had been reported.

By then, Yuill had died and Bell was seriously injured. She later died in hospital but the High Court in Edinburgh heard that Bell would probably have survived if she had been found sooner.

Brown said in the parliament chamber this afternoon: "'I'd like to start by offering my condolences to the families of John Yuill and Lamara Bell.

"The Chief Constable unreservedly apologised to John and Lamara's families yesterday and, as the then justice secretary did at the time, I want to apologise to the families for this tragic loss."

Earlier this week, Police Scotland pled guilty to an offence contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and admitted "corporate criminal liability" - the force has been fined £100,000.

On the matter of a possible fatal accident inquiry, Brown said today: "This decision, as the chamber will know, is a matter for the lord advocate, and I have no locus in it as cabinet secretary.

"I can say that the lord advocate has confirmed that work has begun to initiate a fatal accident inquiry, and has committed to make further information on the process public when possible.

"It's important to recognise the significance of this case and of this sentence.

"However, as Lord Beckett said in his sentencing statement: 'There is no sentence this court can pass which reflects the inestimable value of life lost and harm caused.'"

Read the most recent article written by Staff reporter - Nearly 400,000 Scots missed an energy payment in the last year

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