Simon San Murder : Not so fast Lord Advocate, We need full explanations, there may be an independent inquiry says Justice Committee Convener Christine Grahame

25 Aug

Christine GrahameHolyrood Justice Committee Convener Christine Grahame wants explanations from Lord Advocate, Police over failures in Simon San murder case. FOR ONCE in its long history of appearing to operate without any oversight, the Crown Office & Lord Advocate may not escape so easily with the usual excuses in a murder case so appallingly handled it generated an apology from the Police Force which investigated it as CHRISTINE GRAHAME msp, the Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee tells BBC News there may be room for an independent public inquiry into the authorities handling of the investigation & prosecution of the racially motivated murder in August last year of Simon San.

Christine Grahame talks to BBC News : Full explanation is needed, there might be room indeed for an independent inquiry (Click image to watch video)

Christine Grahame spoke to BBC News, saying a “full explanation” was needed from the Lord Advocate, who had said in a statement the media were told was ‘attributed to a spokesperson’ on Tuesday that an inquiry would not be held by the Crown Office.

Ms Grahame told BBC Scotland: “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.”

Simon SanSimon San, murdered in a racist attack by thugs in Edinburgh. The Daily Record newspaper reported on the failures by Police & the Crown Office in the murder of Mr San, saying : Simon, a shy, gentle man who hated violence, was ambushed outside his family’s Yong Hua Garden takeaway in Lochend, Edinburgh, in August last year. A pack of feral youths surrounded his Smart car and began rocking it back and forth. Simon phoned police and got out of the car.

Witnesses saw the gang force Simon back towards a wall. Reid then punched him in the face while he was on the phone. Simon hit his head on the pavement and suffered fatal brain injuries. The scum went through his pockets and stole his car keys and phone as he lay dying. Locals then heard the neds calling their victim a “Chinky”.

Simon’s family told the cops he was a victim of racial hatred but their warnings fell on deaf ears. Instead, the police focused on the idea that Simon was the victim of a robbery gone wrong – a theory the force’s own report into the failed investigation calls “misguided”.

The report says “little emphasis” was placed on the gang’s racist language. The “interview strategy” for the four accused included “a number of questions relating to robbery, but none regarding any racist element or language”. The cops also failed to properly look at possible racial incidents in the gang’s records. Police papers said one was “racially prejudiced” and had previously been reported for a racist offence.

The prosecution of those involved in the death of Mr San earlier this year saw the conviction of a 16 year old youth, John Reid, who admitted the culpable homicide of Mr San and was sentenced to five years for the killing. Two other 16-year-olds pleaded guilty to assault charges in connection with the case, however in April, Michael Roberts, had his original 42-month sentence cut to 26 months and Keir Rodger had his 34-month term cut to 24 months by appeal judges. A 14-year-old, who cannot be identified, who also faced an assault charge in connection with the death of Mr San, had his not guilty plea accepted by the Crown but admitted breaching bail conditions.

Full report on calls for an independent inquiry the Simon San murder case from BBC Scotland (click image to watch video)

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allen’s apology to the family of Simon San was reported throughout the media in which the Capital’s Police Force admitted failures to treat the murder of Mr San as a racially motivated incident.

Lothian & Borders Police Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allen said: “There is no doubt that Simon’s family have not had the service from my force that we would hope to give any family or any victim of crime. I have apologised privately to the family for that failure and would like to repeat that apology publicly.”

Aamer Anwar, the San family solicitor, said: “Simon San’s family lost faith and trust in police because of the actions of these officers. They feel had they not complained about their treatment, they would have never found out about the mistakes made by the officers. The officers may well be disciplined but for Simon’s family they have played a role in lack of justice which they should have been entitled to as a grieving family.”

“Simon’s father believes his son lost his life and is convinced that the accused received a lesser sentence because the officers failed to investigate the racial motivation of this case. They also feel that they were treated in this manner because they were Chinese.”

Lord Advocate Frank MulhollandLord Advocate Frank Mulholland – ‘will not be instructing an inquiry’. However, in stark contrast to the apology from the Police and demands for an inquiry from the victim’s family, the Crown Office in what many will see as a now typical reaction to the call for an investigation by the Lord Advocate, issued a blunt statement denying there was any evidence to treat the case as racially motivated or that an inquiry was needed. A spokesperson for the Crown Office adding to their original statement : “We can confirm the Lord Advocate will not be instructing an inquiry and is satisfied with the Crown’s prosecution of the case. Mr John Logue, the Area Procurator Fiscal for Lothian & Borders, has offered to meet with Mr San’s family to discuss any questions which they might now have.”

There has been no reaction today from the Crown Office to Ms Grahame’s welcome comments on the matter, however clearly in the interests of justice, there must be a full inquiry into the murder of Simon San to establish how the authorities have let down his family, the justice system, and Scotland.


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