HC Deb 11 March 1987 vol 112 cc293-4
41. Mr. Robin Cook

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if he has any plans to review the role of sheriff courts in hearing charges of reckless driving resulting in a fatality; and if he will make a statement.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

Crown counsel carefully consider every case and decide, not only whether proceedings should be taken, but whether the case should be indicted in the High Court or the sheriff court.

Mr. Cook

Is the Solicitor-General aware that last year 601 people were killed on Scottish roads but that only two cases resulting in fatality were brought before the High Court? Will he acknowledge the widespread feeling in Scotland that this offence is not being treated with sufficient gravity by the Scottish courts? Will he take this opportunity to remind the courts that any legal proceedings arising from a fatality should be handled with dignity and respect for the feelings of the relatives of the victim?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I know that the hon. Gentleman appreciates that sentencing is not a matter for me. Following a recent meeting with him and a representative of the organisation SCID, I am aware of the concern that proper allocation of cases should take place, making sure where it is appropriate that they are heard in the High Court or before a sheriff and a jury. As I said then, that matter will be considered carefully by Crown counsel. I also said previously that steps will be taken to see what we can do to ensure that the parents and families of victims are dealt with sympathetically when cases come before the courts.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. I shall take the application under Standing Order No. 20 first.