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Grieving mother wants change in the law in campaign for ‘justice’ after son’s A96 death

Maria Hall believes the death of her son Fabian was not investigated fully because the driver was an off-duty police officer.

Maria Hall at roadside tribute to Fabian with photograph and flowers.
Maria Hall maintains a roadside tribute to Fabian at a layby near Brodie. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

A grieving Moray mother is campaigning for a change in the law after her teenage son was killed after being hit by a car driven by an off-duty police officer.

Fabian Hall, 19, was walking home from Forres in the early hours of the morning after celebrating a friend’s birthday in February 2020.

After travelling nearly five miles, he was killed on the A96 on the outskirts of Brodie just yards from his home.

No charges have ever been brought against the off-duty police officer who was driving the car involved. They initially thought they had hit a deer before realising it was a person after stopping.

Fabian Hall on bench holding dog lead.
Fabian Hall was training for an RAF Reserves fitness test when he was killed. Image: Hall family.

Mother Maria Hall believes key parts of the resulting investigation were flawed, accusing investigators of siding with the word of the police officer over the actions of her son.

The Crown Office says independent specialist prosecutors also scrutinised the case in the public interest.

But now Mrs Hall is campaigning for a change in the law to ensure all deaths are investigated publicly, in a way similar to inquests in England, to ensure facts can be examined in public.

Mother’s worries about A96 Brodie police investigation

After an investigation, police and Crown Official officials concluded there was “no evidence of criminality” in Fabian Hall’s death on the A96 at Brodie.

However, Mrs Hall believes key aspects of the investigation were flawed, including not investigating the off-duty police officer driver.

She said: “They were very interested in what Fabian had been doing that night, who he was with, what he had been doing, but they didn’t show the same interest in the police officer.

Maria Hall at A96 roadside near Brodie.
Maria Hall on the A96 on the outskirts of Brodie near where Fabian died. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

“They didn’t investigate them, not at all. It was decided right from the start it must have been Fabian’s fault. They only took a roadside statement from them, nothing else, they didn’t even examine their mobile phone.

‘Deceased at fault’

“I’ve been sent 393 pages of investigations. Right at the start it says ‘deceased at fault’, and they’ve ticked yes.”

Fabian was wearing shoes with white reflective strips and was carrying a torch when he was killed, facts supported by a van driver who saw him just yards away from where the collision took place.

However, she says a police reconstruction of the incident had him wearing black shoes with no torch.

Fabian Hall with hands on hips.
Friends paid tribute to the support Fabian had given them. Image: Hall family.

Mrs Hall added: “It’s a straight bit of road. It had just started to rain, but the weather wasn’t bad.

“I don’t know how, if you’re driving to the speed limit and paying attention to the road, you don’t see a pedestrian with white shoes using his phone torch if you were showing due care and attention.

“There wasn’t even any evidence they had attempted to brake or avoid him, and they thought they had hit a deer. Not a person, not my son.”

Family wants ‘justice’ for Fabian Hall

Fabian would ordinarily be driven home from Forres by his parents, but was walking that night as he prepared to take a fitness test to join the RAF Reserves.

The keen boxer, who trained with a club in Nairn, was buried with boxing gloves brought to his funeral by sparring partners.

Friends also paid tribute to his constant support inside and outside class during their time at Forres Academy.

Fabian Hall wearing headphones looking at mobile phone.
Fabian Hall was much-loved by friends and family. Image: Hall family.

Fabian died on February 29, 2020 – meaning this year will be the first anniversary of his death to take place on the date it happened.

Mrs Hall will spend the day campaigning on Forres High Street with friends and family for a change in the law to ensure investigations into all deaths are heard in public.

She said: “We asked so many questions during the investigation and we were told it would come out at the court case. Then we were told there would be no court case.

“This is about justice for Fabian, but it’s also about all deaths in Scotland. Everyone should have the chance to have the evidence examined in public.”

Current laws in Scotland mean public hearings are only held in court cases, including fatal accident inquiries which are held for workplace incidents, deaths in custody or when there is a public interest.

Google Maps image of A96 approach to Brodie.
Fabian Hall was hit by a car while walking on the eastern approach to Brodie. Image: Google Maps

An inquest in England examines the causes of a death, without the prosecution and defence there would be in a court case, but family members can give statements and witnesses can be represented by lawyers.

‘Deep grief’

Fabian’s family submitted a complaint about the case to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), and met with officials to discuss their concerns.

A COPFS spokesman said: “We recognise the deep grief that Fabian’s family are suffering following his tragic death.

“His death was fully and thoroughly investigated by independent specialist prosecutors acting in the public interest.

“The Procurator Fiscal met with the family and have provided them with detailed correspondence in relation to their concerns.”

A police spokeswoman said: “A full investigation was carried out into the circumstances of the collision. No official complaint has been received.”

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