An investigation has been launched into the death of a man who fell over while in custody at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
Stephen Simpson was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by security staff – who described the incident as “an unfortunate accident” – but he passed away more than a week later.
It is understood he fell off a chair and banged his head while in a consultation room at the court’s Mercatgate building.
The 46-year-old’s death certificate states that he died on June 10.
It gives his primary cause of death as from complications of blunt force head injury, and adds that it is pending investigations.
Mr Simpson, who was from Aberdeen, had been in custody since June 1.
He handed himself into police over a warrant issued for him in relation to failing to appear in court.
Watchdog investigating circumstances
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) is now investigating the circumstances. This is standard procedure when there has been a death in custody.
Security firm GeoAmey provides the escort service between courts, custody and prison.
The firm’s contract for the Scottish Court Custody and Prisoner Escorting Service, on behalf of the Scottish Prison Service and Criminal Justice partners, started in January 2019.
A spokesman for GeoAmey said: “There has never been any suggestion that staffing levels played a role in the unfortunate accident that occurred.”
It’s understood the Scottish Prison Service will investigate what happened and if any failures are found there’s a possibility it could withhold credits and payments to GeoAmey up to the region of £40,000.
‘We will fully assist the PIRC’s enquiries’
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A 46-year-old man took unwell prior to appearing from custody at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Wednesday, June 2, and was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by GeoAmey staff but sadly died later.
“The individual had previously been taken into custody at Kittybrewster Police Station on Tuesday, June 1, having presented himself in relation to a warrant.
“As is standard when an individual has died while in custody, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has directed the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner to investigate the circumstances and we will fully assist the PIRC’s enquiries.”
A spokeswoman for the PIRC said that following the investigation, a report will be submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).