A call has been made for Scotland’s Justice Secretary to rethink the ruling not to hold an investigation into the death of a murdered Aberdeen man as “a matter of urgency”.
North-east MSP Douglas Lumsden has written to Keith Brown asking that a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) be held for Alan Geddes and that it be taken up with the Lord Advocate.
Mr Lumsden wrote on behalf of Alan’s sister Sandra Geddes, who has been seeking answers since her 56-year old brother was murdered by Stuart Quinn on December 7, 2019.
Quinn had been released from HMP Grampian less than 24 hours earlier and father-of-one Alan offered him a place to sleep after discovering he was homeless.
But Quinn, who was high on cocaine and alcohol at the time, stabbed Alan 40 times.
No FAI after inquiry into case
The SFIU found “no record” of Quinn, 35, attending at any of Aberdeenshire or Aberdeen City councils’ 24/7 accommodation units.
In his letter to the Justice Secretary, Mr Lumsden said: “Ms Geddes had requested that the case be considered by the Crown Office for referral to a Fatal Accident Inquiry to fully establish the circumstances surrounding her brother’s murder.
“This request has been denied as outlined in the Procurator Fiscal Depute’s letter to Ms Geddes, dated 22nd July 2021.
“This letter states that “Had it been the case that a mentally disturbed prisoner was released without support then a significant public interest issue would arise”.
‘Ms Geddes wants justice for her brother’
He continued: “While I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, it does not detract from the fact that a prisoner murdering a member of the public within 24 hours of release poses serious questions in relation to both public safety and public confidence in the justice system.”
Mr Lumsden said that given there were “unanswered questions” surrounding the case he believes there is significant public interest in the events which led to Alan’s murder.
He said: “Any reasonable person would expect this to be investigated in an open and transparent manner that allows public scrutiny.
“Ms Geddes simply wants justice for her brother, justice that any one of us would expect should we fall victim to such tragic events.
“I would therefore respectfully request that serious consideration is given to the decision not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry and that you take this case up with the Lord Advocate as a matter of urgency.”
‘It’s been a difficult road…we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again’
Ms Geddes said justice for her brother was her priority, and that she wanted to make sure something like this didn’t happen again.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted that Douglas Lumsden has come on board and I can say there are other politicians who are also looking to do the same.
“The support I’m getting on this makes me even more confident I’m doing the right thing.
“It’s been a difficult road but we have to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
“I want justice for my brother and his little boy – that’s my main focus.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said previous Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf had met with Ms Geddes earlier this year to give his condolences and listen to her concerns.
He said: “It was not appropriate for the Cabinet Secretary to comment further, as the matter had been placed under consideration by the COPFS’ Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, who would then keep Ms Geddes updated on significant developments in the investigation.
“While our thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr Geddes’ family, it is a matter for the Lord Advocate to determine whether or not an FAI is appropriate once the Crown has completed its investigation into any case.”