Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Simon San death 'public inquiry' raised

Justice committee convener Christine Grahame
Image caption Justice committee convener Christine Grahame said answers were needed over the Simon San case

The justice committee convener has raised the question of an independent inquiry into claims a delivery driver's killing was racially motivated.

Simon San died last August after an attack by a gang as he parked outside his family's Edinburgh takeaway.

Now police have apologised for mistakes they made investigating the case.

Christine Grahame said a "full explanation" was needed from the Lord Advocate, who said on Tuesday an inquiry would not be held by the Crown.

She told BBC Scotland: "I think we need full explanations from the constabularies about what their processes are following on from this case and we need a full explanation from the Lord Advocate.

"Once these are in the public domain then we can see where we go from there.

"If these explanations are not satisfactory then there might be room indeed for an independent inquiry."

The San family lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said: "The family had hoped the Lord Advocate's Office would launch an inquiry into their handling of the Simon San case rather than relying on Lothian and Borders Police's robust inquiry.

Image caption The attack on Mr San was said to have been completely unprovoked

"The family are now raising concerns over the manner in which they were treated by representatives of the Crown Office, the fact that the Advocate Depute dealt with the family sensitively is besides the point.

"The family always believed the attack was racially motivated and on several occasions asked if there was any evidence of this, including racial abuse, this was denied.

"The issues raised by Simon San's family and the police inquiry must be investigated by the Lord Advocates Office if in the future another family is not forced to fight for answers from the authorities."

Prosecutors said there was no evidence to show the attack on Mr San, 40, was racially motivated.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "Our thoughts remain with Simon San's family who have conducted themselves with great dignity throughout these tragic circumstances.

"However, the subsequent statement issued by their solicitor does not accurately reflect the position regarding the evidence available to the Crown.

"After careful consideration of all the available evidence provided to the Crown by the police in this case, Crown Counsel concluded that there was no evidence in law to show that the attack on Mr San was racially motivated.

"While there was evidence of a racial term used by the accused some time later that night, and in a different place, after the crime was committed. It was not made 'seconds after the incident' as the statement issued by Mr Anwar states."

He added: "The available evidence does not amount to sufficient evidence in law of racial motivation for the crime, or to a racially aggravated breach of the peace. If it had done so then the Crown would have proceeded with a charge reflecting that."

Sentences cut

Mr San died in hospital after suffering severe head injuries in the attack on 11 August 2010 in Lochend Road.

Mr San managed to get out of the car and call the police during the incident, but was pushed to a wall and punched in the face.

Sixteen-year-old John Reid, who admitted culpable homicide, was sentenced to five years for the killing.

Two other 16-year-olds pleaded guilty to assault charges.

In April, Michael Roberts, had his 42-month sentence cut to 26 months and Keir Rodger had his 34-month term cut to 24 months by appeal judges.

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