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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April, 2005, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Family urging inquiry law change
Gillian Curran
Gillian Curran was driving home from work at the time of the crash
Grieving relatives of a car crash victim have demanded a change in the law on fatal accident inquiries.

Gillian Curran, from Coatbridge, was driving home from work when she died.

The motorist who smashed into her was found guilty of careless driving, but by law the sheriff was unable to take her death into account.

Her family have handed an 11,000-name petition over to MSPs, urging them to make inquiries mandatory in such cases and recognise the victims.

The Scottish Executive said ministers had found no evidence of a need for a change in the law but would look at the petition handed in on Wednesday, "with interest".

Sandra Curran
The one time when we call on the law to acknowledge Gillian, it is the one time they let her down
Sandra Curran
Mother

Tragedy struck in December 2003 as 24-year-old Gillian sat in stationary traffic. The guilty driver was fined 500 and banned from driving for six months.

Her mother Sandra said she does not want any other family to suffer a similar ordeal.

She said: "The thing I miss about her the most is that as her mother and father we have done everything in our power to bring good kids into the world, to respect the law.

"Then the one time when we call on the law to acknowledge Gillian, it is the one time they let her down."

Fatal accident inquiries are held in the case of accidents at work, or deaths in legal custody.

They can also be held if the lord advocate considers it is in the public interest to hold an inquiry in a case where the death was sudden or suspicious or occurred in circumstances which gave rise to serious public concern.

Campaigners
Campaigners are calling for a change in the law

Unlike the inquest system elsewhere in the UK, it is unusual for such an inquiry to be held into a road accident.

The sheriff in Gillian's case was only able to take into account the standard of driving, not her death.

Solicitor David Wilson said: "You can have death by dangerous driving, dangerous driving and careless driving. The distinction between dangerous driving and careless can be a very fine line.

"What causes a lot of problems is the fact that in cases of careless driving, you have a situation in which somebody may have lost their life in very tragic circumstances but the court cannot have regard to the death in a careless driving situation."

Spokeswoman for the Scottish Campaign Against Irresponsible Drivers, Margaret Decker, insisted a shake-up of the law would help bereaved relatives.

"It would give recognition to families," she said.




SEE ALSO:
Call to review death inquiries
11 Feb 04 |  Scotland
Call for full suicide inquiries
19 May 04 |  Scotland


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