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Prosecuting officials for parole harm

  • January 12th, 2009

Today’s Herald reports the charging of Graeme Burton for trying to kill another prisoner. The man is still so dangerous without one leg that he had four guards for his court appearance.

Every fool involved in letting him out to kill on parole a couple of years ago should hang their heads in fresh shame.

Hopefully they’ll have stronger and more personal reasons for hanging their heads shortly. The Herald has reported on a possible OSH prosecution of officials who let parolees hurt innocent people.

The Secretary of Labour is in charge of the OSH officials who pursue the unhappy individuals caught up in tragic accidents. They’re the heroes prosecuting the Outdoor Pursuits Centre folk for the loss of the school children in a flash flood – an accident clearly not foreseen.

Burton’s evil was foreseen. Yet these OSH heroes have failed to prosecute the decision makers who let Burton loose to kill and injure when they had every right and the duty to keep him serving his life sentence.

The law requires a request to the Secretary of Labour before a private prosecution  under the relevant provisions of the Health and Safety in Employment Act. It has been sent.

[I’m looking for a convenient way to put documents online without making huge pages in WordPress so things like the letter can be given a link. Any suggestions?]


  • Graeme
  • January 14th, 2009
  • 12:09 am

no luck with the letter link, I’m afraid.

  • Jim Maclean
  • January 14th, 2009
  • 10:17 am

I have often felt real outrage that while people acting with the best of intentions who are caught out by random chance and a large amount of bad luck, can be hounded and bankrupted by OSH on the grounds that avoidable harm has resulted but the same authorities shy away completely from holding accountable in any way either people, or those responsible for them, who cause terrible harm with malicious intent.
Real reform can only come when criminal offending is seen as an OSH issue. When a significant danger has been proved, it must ABSOLUTELY be prevented from causing harm again. Perhaps this case is the beginning of a process that is long overdue. It is nothing more, nor less than accountability for actions where they impact on others.

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