Crown still considering FAIs

10 January 2018, 15:55 | Updated: 10 January 2018, 15:56

scottish parliament

Scotland's top law officer has said the Crown Office is still examining whether or not criminal proceedings will be taken forward regarding a couple who died following a crash on the M9 and a man who died in police custody.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie questioned when fatal accident inquiries will be held into the deaths of John Yuill, Lamara Bell and Sheku Bayoh.

Mr Yuill, 28, and Ms Bell, 25, lay undiscovered for three days after a crash on the M9 near Stirling in July 2015 despite a sighting of their wrecked car being reported to police.

Two months earlier, gas engineer Mr Bayoh, 31, died after being restrained by police officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife. He was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident on May 3.

Speaking at Holyrood, Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said: "The separate investigations by the Crown into each of these two incidents are continuing under the direction of a senior advocate depute.

"Whilst considerable progress has been made, further work requires to be completed before a fully informed decision can be made about potential criminal proceedings in each of these cases.

"That decision has to be taken before the timing of the fatal accident inquiry can be considered."

Mr Rennie said: "It has been two and a half years since the death of Sheku Bayoh, John Yuill and Lamara Bell. That's two a half years that the families, and the police officers, have been waiting for an inquiry and for answers, and I am genuinely concerned for their welfare."

Mr Wolffe said the Crown Office kept in contact with the families of those who has died and had met with relatives of the M9 crash victims in December.

He said both cases are complex and he had to ensure that the investigations were undertaken "thoroughly".

A fatal accident inquiry is due to take place into Mr Bayoh's death regardless of whether there are criminal proceedings. Relatives of Mr Bayoh also intend to launch a civil action against Police Scotland.

Mr Wolffe has previous said it would be "inconceivable" for there not to be a fatal accident inquiry into the M9 crash deaths.