Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 12:00 UK

Anthrax inquiry timetable set out

Pascal Norris
Mr Norris died in the Scottish Borders in July 2006

A date has been set for a fatal accident inquiry into Britain's first anthrax death in more than 30 years.

Christopher "Pascal" Norris, of Stobs, near Hawick in the Scottish Borders, died from the disease in July 2006.

A health board report has concluded that "on balance of probabilities" he had contracted it from playing or handling West African drums.

The inquiry will be staged at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 18 November, with a preliminary hearing on 24 July.

A sheriff will determine on the cause of death, any precautions which could have been taken to avoid it and any defects in the system which contributed to the death.

The huge problem in the case of Mr Norris was no-one knew who was in charge and as a result the investigation rumbled on for such a long time
Christine Grahame MSP

The decision to hold an inquiry was welcomed by South of Scotland SNP MSP Christine Grahame who has campaigned for one to be held.

"This is a very important case and was frequently referred to in the legislative process of the Public Health Bill which has now been passed," she said.

"The huge problem in the case of Mr Norris was no-one knew who was in charge and as a result the investigation rumbled on for such a long time.

"But with the passing of this bill we now know who will ultimately be in charge of the process, as the legislation says it will be down to the local authority."

She said, although lessons had been learned, she was "absolutely delighted" the inquiry would be held.

First case

Although Mr Norris died at his home in the remote hamlet of Stobs, near Hawick, the inquiry will be staged in Edinburgh due to a pressure of space at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

The case of inhalation anthrax was the first of its type recorded in the UK since 1904 and the first case of any type of anthrax in more than 30 years.

Anthrax is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

It most commonly occurs in animals such as cattle, sheep and goats but can also occur in humans when exposed to infected animals.


SEE ALSO
Anthrax death inquiry to be held
06 Feb 08 |  South of Scotland
Man caught anthrax from drum skin
13 Dec 07 |  South of Scotland
Timeline: Borders anthrax death
13 Dec 07 |  South of Scotland
Inquiry sought into anthrax death
26 Oct 07 |  South of Scotland
Anthrax hall receives all-clear
17 Apr 07 |  South of Scotland
Anthrax house receives all clear
14 Dec 06 |  South of Scotland

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