16 January 2020

Scotland’s justice system is failing families seeking justice over preventable deaths, Richard Leonard has said.

At First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Labour leader also accused SNP ministers of “potentially putting public safety at risk” in rushing through new electronic tagging provisions last month.

Mr Leonard cited reports that the family of Alan Marshall, whose death in custody was found by a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) to have been “entirely preventable”, is suing the Scottish Prison Service, Police Scotland and the Crown Office.

He asked: “Does the First Minister understand the hurt and frustration felt by Allan Marshall’s family? And does she accept that justice has still to be delivered?”

The Scottish Labour leader also highlighted the case of Craig McClelland, who was murdered in 2017 in an unprovoked knife attack by an offender who had unlawfully removed his electronic tag.

Mr McClelland’s family was denied a public inquiry and an FAI.

The family supported an attempt to amend the Management of Offenders Bill which would have made FAIs mandatory when a murder is committed in these circumstances.

But SNP MSPs voted this provision down.

Mr Leonard said that Mr McClelland’s relatives have “no confidence that lessons have been learned” from his tragic death.

He criticised Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf for laying before Parliament new regulations on the use of curfew tags just three days before they were due to come into force.

“He breached Parliamentary procedure, side-stepped full scrutiny and so potentially put public safety at risk,” Mr Leonard told the chamber.

“First Minister, it is your duty to ensure that the public have confidence in the justice system.

“The families of Craig McClelland and Allan Marshall have been let down.

"If they have no faith in your justice system, why should anyone else?”
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