Glasgow bin lorry crash driver may only give limited answers to inquiry


The Glasgow bin lorry crash driver may not have to answer any question beyond his name, age and occupation when he gives evidence at a fatal accident inquiry into the tragedy.

Harry Clarke, 58, will be called to give evidence to the inquiry on Thursday after a motion to have it halted was withdrawn by the family of one of the victims.

But the inquiry heard that while the prospect of a private prosecution remains, he is entitled not to answer any question that might incriminate him.

On Monday, relatives of Jacqueline Morton, 51, who was killed in the crash, said they would seek to bring charges against Mr Clarke after prosecutors ruled out doing so.

Their legal team requested that the inquiry into the December 22 tragedy be adjourned in order to seek authority to bring a rare private prosecution against him.

But Dorothy Bain QC, representing the family of Ms Morton, today told the inquiry, now in its fifth week, they had withdrawn the motion to have the inquiry adjourned.

However, she said the family intends to continue to pursue a private prosecution against Mr Clarke.

Ms Bain said the scope of that had not yet been analysed "to any significant degree", but she presented a table to the inquiry setting out possible charges, including causing death by dangerous driving, making false declarations to the DVLA and culpable and reckless conduct.

Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC, who is leading the inquiry, said: "He is entitled to have a warning in relation to the full scope of the evidence and in my submission he would be entitled to have regard to that warning and not answer anything beyond his name, age and occupation."

Explaining the decision to drop the motion, Ms Bain said: "May I say that the family are finding these proceedings stressful and most worrying and having regard to further discussions and understanding the other families' positions, the Morton family are now not insisting on this motion.

"They feel it is in the best interests of everyone to conclude this inquiry without delay.

"The family's position on a private prosecution has not changed at all and they fully intend to continue with that."

Mr Clarke was behind the wheel of the council refuse truck that veered out of control on a busy shopping street, killing Ms Morton, from Glasgow, and five others.

The inquiry, at Glasgow Sheriff Court, has heard evidence that he has a history of dizzy spells and fainting which he failed to disclose to the DVLA and on job application forms.

Mr Clarke is the only witness remaining.

His solicitor Paul Reid said he had not had the opportunity to consult with his client or take his instructions on the latest development.