Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow bin lorry crash: No backing for prosecution

The scene of the crash Image copyright PA

Scotland's most senior law officer will not support a private prosecution of the driver of the Glasgow bin lorry which crashed, killing six people.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland's decision comes after a family which lost three members in the tragedy began steps to prosecute Harry Clarke.

Mr Mulholland said the Crown's decision not to prosecute due to insufficient evidence remained unchanged.

The family can only proceed now if they have permission from High Court judges.

In a statement, the Crown Office said: "The lord advocate has declined to grant concurrence to the bill for criminal letters seeking a private prosecution of the driver of the bin lorry involved in the George Square fatalities on 22 December 2014.

"The original decision not to take criminal proceedings was made on the basis that there was insufficient evidence in law to prove that a crime had been committed and that position remains unchanged."

Image caption (Clockwise from top left) Jack Sweeney, Lorraine Sweeney, Erin McQuade, Jacqueline Morton, Stephenie Tait and Gillian Ewing were killed in the crash

The Sweeney/McQuade family want Mr Clarke prosecuted as a fatal accident inquiry found the crash could have been avoided if he had not lied about his medical history.

Mr Clarke, 58, was unconscious when the Glasgow City Council bin lorry veered out of control, killing six people and injuring 17 others.

Those who died in the crash were Erin McQuade, 18, her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and his 69-year-old wife Lorraine, from Dumbarton, Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh.

The Crown Office later said that no-one would face charges over the crash - a move which was criticised by some of the bereaved families.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Harry Clarke was unconscious at the wheel when the bin lorry went out of control, killing six people

In a separate case, the Lord Advocate has also said that he will not support a private prosecution by the families of two students who were killed by a driver with a history of blackouts.

Mhairi Convy, 18, and Laura Stewart, 20, died after William Payne passed out and his Range Rover hit them on North Hanover Street, Glasgow, in 2010.

An attempt to prosecute Mr Payne was later dropped by the Crown in 2013.

The girls' families had lodged a Bill of Criminal letters with the Crown Office in a bid to start a prosecution.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Mhairi Convy (left) and Laura Stewart died after being hit by William Payne's car in Glasgow
Image caption Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland will not support either private prosecution

In a statement, the Crown Office said: "The Lord Advocate has declined to grant concurrence to the bill for criminal letters seeking a private prosecution of the driver of vehicle involved in the North Hanover Street fatalities on December 17th 2010.

"The original decision not to take criminal proceedings was made on the basis that there was insufficient evidence in law to prove that a crime had been committed and that position remains unchanged."

Like the bin lorry case, the Convy and Stewart families can now only proceed with a private prosecution if they have permission from High Court judges.

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