Glasgow bin lorry: Victim’s family await legal aid

Glasgow's George Square bin lorry crash, which occurred just days before Christmas. Picture: Robert Perry
Glasgow's George Square bin lorry crash, which occurred just days before Christmas. Picture: Robert Perry
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RELATIVES of a mum who was killed in a horror bin lorry crash just before Christmas have been unable to get legal aid yet, a court has heard.

Gillian Ewing, from Mortonhall, was one of six people who died in the tragedy on December 22 last year when a Glasgow City Council truck crashed into pedestrians.

Gillian Ewing died in the tragedy. Picture: Police Scotland

Gillian Ewing died in the tragedy. Picture: Police Scotland

A preliminary hearing held at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday heard how several grieving families were struggling to get legal aid for the inquiry.

Lawyers representing the families of Jacqueline Morton, 51, and Jack, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, and their 18-year-old granddaughter Erin McQuade also spoke of problems with applications for legal aid.

The lawyer representing 52-year-old Ms Ewing’s family said: “Full legal aid is still not available to the family of Gillian Ewing.

“I appeared pro bono previously. There are concerns the family have engagement in this process.”

Stephen Dryden, speaking on behalf of Jack and Lorraine Sweeney and Erin McQuade, said: “Again there’s a difficulty at the present time with legal aid. An application for full legal aid has been lodged.”

When told by Sheriff Principal Craig Scott, who is hearing the inquiry, it was not “necessary” the families each have separate representation, the Ewings’ lawyer said: “There may not be complete synergy between all the families.

“All of the public bodies have been given separate representation. The family are entitled to instruct their own solicitors.”

The family of Stephanie Tait, 29, was also represented in court, and a number of members of each family were present.

Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC, acting for the Crown, said: “I think it’s extremely important if the families are represented they are represented in full.”

Also in court were lawyers for the bin lorry driver Harry Clarke, Glasgow City Council, the DVLA and several doctors.

A lawyer also appeared for the two operatives on the bin lorry at the time it crashed, as well as a GP who saw Mr Clarke in April 2010.

The fatal accident inquiry, due to begin on July 22, will look at the technical side of the bin lorry as well as the route it took and the medical history of the driver. It is expected to last up to five weeks and a further preliminary hearing has been set for June 18.

Ten others were injured when the bin lorry mounted the pavement on Queen Street before careering into the side of the Millennium Hotel at George Square.

newsen@edinburghnews.com