YE’LL hae mind in ma last column ah telt ye’se aboot the refusal bi the Lord Advocate tae haud an investigation intae the mair’s twa hunner preventable an avoidable daiths at NHS Ayrshire & Arran. His oaffice telt me thair wir “no further investigations that should be instructed”. This when there hus ne’er bin ony investigation ava intil these daiths worthy o the nem.

He huffed an puffed aboot the “full review” that hud bin carriet oot (bi “specialists” nae less!) in comin tae this deceesion tae dae naethin. Sae unner Freedom o Information ah wrote back tae him an asked tae see a copy o this “full review” that he wis sae cockapentie aboot. Alas, oor government isnae as fain o “transparency” as they’d hae ye think. Ma request fir a copy o this full review wis point blank refused. But that flea wullnae be alloued tae stick tae the wa friens!! Meanwhile, wi regaird tae ither sic “inquiries” in Scotland...

Oan the August 10 this year the Crown Oaffice lat it be kent that in April 2019 it wid be haudin a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) intae the polis helicopter that crashed oantae Glesga’s Clutha Bar resultin in the daiths o 10 fowk. Three wir in the helicopter an seeven wir in the baur oan the nicht o the November 29 2013. The ootcome o ony FAI is gaun tae be aamaist six year eftir the event.

The Crown Oaffice alsae said that thair wid be nae criminal proceedins, as gin the evidence o the FAI hud bin pre-judged. This delay an statement in itsel is a dounricht disgrace an rump an stump unnermines the FAI process.

Whit maist fowk dinnae realise tho is that the FAI an our hale system o investigatin daiths kythes itsel tae be unlawfu, an appears tae hae bin fir the past 65 year syne. Aathing about the Lord Advocate an his Crown Oaffice in this maitter seems ill-thochtit. The law that applies tae the investigation o daiths athort aa 47 kintras o the Council o Europe is the European Convention o Human Rights (ECHR) that wis brocht in eftir WW2. This isnae the same as the EU, it is muckle bigger than the EU. It wis confirmt in UK law wi the Human Rights Act 1998 tae protect public safety.

The ECHR maks siccar requirement oan aa pairts o the Council o Europe in the convention an the supportin judgements. The investigations maun be independent o the government, and o thaim involved. It maun be rin properly an independently bi the judiciary. It maun be a publicly veesible an “transparent” (thon damn inconvenient wird agane!) process. It hus tae be competent, an ony lessons maun be lairnt an applied tae seemilar daiths. It maun be cairriet oot in a timely mainner.

Our system is no independent o government. It’s rin bi twa Scottish meenisters, the Lord Advocate an the Solicitor General, an this maun be unlawfu accordin tae the Scotland Act 1998.

In anither queer turn these twa meenisters alsae appear tae direct the polis oan investigations (the deceesion tae halt the investigation intil the mair as 200 daiths at NHS A&A). Ither meenisters control aa ither aspects o wir polis.

Thair anely about 30 FAI’s a year in Scotland. The byordnar nummer o daiths unlawfully hae nae judicial involvement. Mony daiths, sic as thousands o patient safety daiths ower the years, are no e’en reportit tae the Crown Oaffice.

Our judges anely dael in cases an evidence selectit an providit bi the twa government meenisters. E’en our prosecution service is no independent o government an is thus in breach o the ECHR.

The ootcome o aa this is that the law oan public safety isnae applied, lessons arenae lairnt, an in the case o the thousans o patient safety daiths we see these failins in care repeated agane an agane – an sae the same accidents an preventable daiths heppen, agane an agane.

The Glesga bin lorry FAI wis an legal bourach. Aince agane the twa meenisters goat aathing wrang. The main legislation that applies is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It applies tae Glesga council an the driver. In an appairent obstruction o justice, it wis oddly announced that there wid be nae prosecution – this afore thair hud bin ony investigation?

The bin lorry FAI wis an is unlawfu. There hus still aye-an-oan no bin the legally required investigation intil thae six daiths – or the mair’s twa hunner nou at NHS Ayrshire & Arran. Oan the Clutha, the law oafficers it cuid be airgued are actin unlawfully, an gien their control o the polis they hae a conflict o interests.

Ye dinnae tak six years oan a safety investigation. Why werena sic lessons learnt and applied five year ago? The FAI is a heichly questionable sop tae public opeenion an fails afore it hus e’en stairtit.

We maun bring in a lawfu system o investigatin daiths, the law oafficers as meenisters can hae nae role. They are denyin justice tae the Clutha victims, thaim frae the bin lorry, and the thousans o preventable daiths in healthcare. The lessons arenae bein lairnt or applied, an mony mair innocent fowk in Scotland wull conteenue tae dee needlessly. It’ll heppen the morra. It micht be you, or yours.