Prosecutions unlikely from Scottish Legionnaires’ outbreak

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Crown Office and Procurators Fiscal Service (COPFS) Legionella HBEThe Crown have ruled that there will be no prosecutions following the Scottish Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in 2012, which resulted in four deaths.

An investigation into the outbreak failed to find the source of the bacteria and the Crown Office and Procurators Fiscal Service (COPFS) have stated that there is insufficient evidence to pursue any individuals or organisations.

The last option is a fatal accident investigations (FAI) which is currently being considered.

Reading the press, many cannot believe that the actual culprit cannot be found, however reading a little deeper and based on the facts available in the public domain, it would appear that this case was highly complex from the start as the legionella bacteria strains from the victims were a mix of several strains, including Serogroup 1, the most dangerous.

Whilst it is heart-breaking for the families of the victims and the surviving victims themselves as, in this instance, it is unlikely that there will be closure to the level they wished for, this is a reminder to all organisations about their compliance responsibilities and the damage that bad PR can do if you are caught in the midst of someone else’s mistake in the next outbreak or worse still, you are found to be responsible!

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