Glasgow & West Scotland

Autumn ruling on private prosecution bid over Glasgow bin lorry crash

The scene of the crash Image copyright PA
Image caption The bin lorry crashed in Glasgow city centre on 22 December 2014, killing six people

Bereaved families seeking a private prosecution against Glasgow bin lorry driver Harry Clarke will hear in the autumn if they can bring proceedings.

A judge told lawyers for the families their submissions would be decided at a hearing in October or November.

The Crown did not prosecute Mr Clarke over the crash on 22 December 2014, which killed six people.

Some families said this was wrong as it emerged that Mr Clarke had lied to his employers 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.

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

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 Sweeney/McQuade family have been granted legal aid in their bid to bring a private prosecution.

They want Mr Clarke to face trial as an inquiry found the crash could have been avoided if he had not lied about his medical history.

It emerged during a fatal accident inquiry into the crash that Mr Clarke had lied about his history of blackouts on job applications and medical declarations.

Second prosecution bid

The Crown decided not to prosecute Mr Clarke after saying there was no evidence that he knew or ought to have known that he was unfit to drive.

Also seeking a private prosecution are families of students Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart, who were knocked down and killed in a separate crash in Glasgow in 2010.

The two women, who were aged 18 and 20, were walking in the city's North Hanover Street when a Range Rover being driven by William Payne mounted the kerb and hit them after he blacked out at the wheel.

Again, the Crown Office chose not to prosecute Mr Payne on the basis that there was no evidence that he knew or ought to have known that he was unfit to drive.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Mhairi Convy (left) and Laura Stewart died after being hit by William Payne's car in Glasgow

On Thursday, lawyers acting for the relatives of the families addressed Lord Carloway, Lady Smith and Lord Brodie at the High Court in Edinburgh.

They have brought a Bill Of Criminal Letters - the legal expression given for private prosecutions in Scotland.

The media are unable to report what was said at Thursday's hearing for legal reasons.

However, Lord Carloway ruled that a two-day hearing should take place in either October or November to examine the requests to bring the private prosecutions.

The Lord Justice General added: "This is a matter of considerable importance and the court is anxious to progress it to a hearing soon as practically possible."

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