WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
February 21 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Scottish prison service could face prosecution over death in custody

Scottish prison service could face prosecution over death in custody

The family of Allan Marshall, who died in HMP Edinburgh after being restrained by prison officers, have been told by the Lord Advocate she has instructed Police Scotland to investigate whether the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) should face prosecution over his death.

If SPS is prosecuted it would be a historic moment as no public or government body in the UK has ever been prosecuted for corporate homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter in England and Wales.

Allan Marshall had been held on remand in HMP Edinburgh for breach of the peace in March 2015. Just 22 days later his mental health deteriorated, and he became increasingly distressed, repeatedly pressing the call buzzer from inside his cell. However, due to staff shortages no medical help or mental health assessment was arranged.

Instead, the 30-year-old father of two was moved to the segregation unit and it’s during this move where he was subjected to a violent restraint by officers.

CCTV footage, which has been made public by the family, captured the moment when Allan is seen entering the shower block of the unit with a number of guards following him inside. 45 minutes later more prison officers rush in before Allan’s naked body is carried out and laid on the floor, swarmed by up to 17 members of staff. They can be seen holding him down, at some points using their feet to restrain him.

Allan was then taken to hospital and put in an induced coma but died four days later. The post-mortem examination concluded he died of a brain injury during physical restraint.

In the meeting this week with family the Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC also confirmed that there was no legal possibility of prosecuting an individual officer because they were all given immunity before the Fatal Accident Inquiry.

In a joint statement Allan’s aunt Sharon MacFadyen and his brother Alistair Marshall, said: ‘This is extremely disappointing for us, and we say that this gives officers a licence to kill.’

They said: ‘We as a family have always believed that the investigation into Allan’s death was a sham and was completely mishandled by the police and the Crown from the very beginning. Nearly eight years on, the Lord Advocate now agrees with us.

‘We are grateful that action is now being taken, but it shouldn’t have taken eight years, and it could still lead to a decision not to charge Scottish Prison Service for what happened to Allan. No other person should die like he did and no family should go through what we have. We will continue to demand justice for the loss of Allan who was a much-loved member of our family.’

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC said: ‘I accept that some aspects of the initial case work fell short of what they were entitled to expect. Since Allan’s death, the way in which custody death cases are handled by the Procurator Fiscal has been reviewed and transformed.’


To find out more: www.justiceforallanmarshall.com