Independent inquiry call into Simon San death case

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THE convener of the Scottish Government’s justice committee has said an independent inquiry may be required to determine if there were any failings in the handling of the Simon San case by the Crown Office.

Lothian and Borders Police made a full apology to the family of Mr San over their handling of his murder, which they failed to treat as a racist incident despite the insistence of the family that it was.

The family of Mr San have now called for an inquiry into the Crown Office’s handling of the case.

The San family lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said: “The family had hoped the Lord Advocate’s office would launch an inquiry rather than relying on Lothian and Borders Police’s robust inquiry.

“The issues raised by Simon San’s family and the police inquiry must be investigated by the Lord Advocate’s office if in the future another family is not forced to fight for answers from the authorities.”

Justice committee convener and Midlothian South MSP Christine Grahame said a “full explanation” was needed from the Lord Advocate, Frank Mullholland QC, and admitted an inquiry may be needed.

She said: “I think we need full explanations from the constabularies about what their processes are following on from this case and we need a full explanation from the Lord Advocate.

“Once these are in the public domain then we can see where we go from there. If these explanations are not satisfactory then there might be room indeed for an independent inquiry.”

Jim Eadie, MSP for the Edinburgh Southern constituency, where the San family live, has also written to the Lord Advocate calling for the Crown Office to provide a full and detailed explanation for its decision not to order an inquiry.

“I welcome the apology from Lothian and Borders Police,” he said. “However, the fact remains that the family do not feel that justice has been done.

“I fully understand the family’s call for the Lord Advocate to order an immediate inquiry.

“If the Crown Office has prosecuted this case appropriately, surely it has nothing to fear?”

Mr San died in hospital after suffering severe head injuries in the attack in Lochend Road on August 11, 2010.

Sixteen-year-old John Reid, who admitted culpable homicide, was sentenced to five years for the killing. Two other 16-year-olds, Michael Roberts and Keir Rodger, pleaded guilty to assault charges.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence to show the attack on Mr San, 40, was racially motivated.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “Our thoughts remain with Simon San’s family.

“However, the subsequent statement issued by their solicitor does not accurately reflect the position regarding the evidence available to the Crown.

“The available evidence does not amount to sufficient evidence in law of racial motivation, or to a racially aggravated breach of the peace. If it had done so, then the Crown would have proceeded with a charge reflecting that.”