Glasgow Bin Lorry Driver 'Not Deceitful'
28 August 2015, 19:12
The driver of the bin lorry that killed six people in Glasgow just before Christmas did not set out to ``inflict such unimaginable loss'', an inquiry has heard on the day that it closed.
Harry Clarke, 58, lost consciousness at the wheel of the truck on December 22 last year.
His lawyer told the fatal accident inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court that Mr Clarke "is not a lying or deceitful man''.
"He is a very ordinary man who has the failings of ordinary men," Paul Reid QC said. "He will carry this with him for the rest of his days.''
Mr Reid made the submission shortly before Sheriff John Beckett brought the inquiry to a close, advising that he would endeavour to issue a written determination by January.
As the inquiry ended, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC defended the decision not to prosecute Mr Clarke, stating he has ''no doubt that the decision was the correct one in law''.
When called to give evidence to the inquiry, Mr Clarke repeatedly refused to answer questions about a previous blackout in 2010 as he could still face a rare private prosecution led by the family one of the victims, Jacqueline Morton.
Ms Morton, 51, from Glasgow, was killed along with Stephenie Tait, 29, also from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh.
Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, also died as the lorry driven by Mr Clarke veered out of control during a routine rubbish collection.
A statement read outside the court on behalf of the Morton family said: ``The family feel that the answers that Mr Clarke could not give can be found in the evidence given by the other witnesses and documents laid before the inquiry.
''The inquiry has highlighted weaknesses in the system that makes it too easy for an individual to obtain and retain a driving licence when they are not fit to drive contrary to public safety.
``The actions of an individual cannot be allowed to lead to a tragedy on such a scale again.''
The inquiry had previously heard evidence that he had a history of dizzy spells and fainting which he failed to disclose to the DVLA and on job application forms.
These included an incident in 2010 when Mr Clarke, who was working for First Bus at the time, was said to have blacked out while at the wheel of stationary bus.