Fatal Accident Inquiry into Jim Clark Rally deaths

Floral tributes were left on Swinton village green after three spectators died during the Jim Clark Rally
Floral tributes were left on Swinton village green after three spectators died during the Jim Clark Rally

A joint fatal accident inquiry is to be held into the deaths of four people at two Scottish rallies, including three at the Jim Clark Rally in 2014.

The Crown Office confirmed its decision to hold the first ever joint fatal accident inquiry in Scotland.

“Following investigations into two separate fatal accidents at motor sport events, the Crown Office will use new legislation to hold, for the first time, a joint Fatal Accident Inquiry,” they said in a statement.

“An FAI will be held within the Lothian and Borders Sheriffdom to consider the death of Joy Robson at the Snowman Rally in Inverness on February 16, 2013 and the deaths of John Leonard Stern, Elizabeth Allan and Iain John Provan at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders on May 31, 2014.

“Crown Counsel has instructed a Fatal Accident Inquiry to examine the full circumstances surrounding the deaths and help to avoid such incidents happening in the future.

“The decision follows a change in legislation to allow for a single Fatal Accident Inquiry to be held in relation to deaths in different parts of Scotland.

The two events hold similar questions in relation to spectator safety at rallies and the Lord Advocate considers that it is in the public interest that these issues be explored together.

“The Crown is liaising with the Sheriff Principal to identify an appropriate location and dates for the Fatal Accident Inquiry to take place.

“There will be no criminal proceedings in relation to either event though this may be reconsidered should additional evidence come to light.”

The Jim Clark Rally is the only rally in mainland Britain to take place on closed public roads and for the past two years it has not gone ahead in this format.

Borders MSP John Lamont has stressed the need for Scottish Borders Council, the police and the Crown Office to work with organisers to ensure the rally takes place as soon as possible.

Mr Lamont said: “While it is important that the legal process is followed, this is really disappointing news for the Jim Clark Rally.

“The event contributes greatly to the Borders economy and its loss the last few years has impacted on local businesses.

“I hope the Fatal Accident Inquiry can be carried out as quickly as possible and that Scottish Borders Council, the police and the Crown Office will do all they can to facilitate the holding of the Rally as soon as possible.

“The Snowman Rally has been allowed to continue and I hope the same flexibility can be applied to the Borders.”