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Jayne CrawfordThe Health and Safety Executive has today (Friday) formally censured the Ministry of Defence on behalf of the army for its part in the death of Kaylee McIntosh. The concept of Crown Immunity means the army will face no prosecution for the 14 year old cadet’s tragic death in 2007. The teenager from Fyvie, Aberdeenshire died while taking part in a cadet training exercise in the Outer Hebrides.

Kaylee’s parents Derek and Lesley McIntosh issued a joint statement in reaction to today’s developments:

“We’ve been badly let down by a Criminal Justice System that we thought we could put our trust in. The Army, which is also responsible for our daughter’s death, cannot be prosecuted for their failings as they are protected by Crown Immunity. The Crown Censure which the Health and Safety Executive has conducted is just window dressing. The army are effectively being given a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again. That’s not justice for Kaylee.

“We are not convinced that a similar accident couldn’t happen today. There were rules in place that ought to have prevented Kaylee’s death, so what’s the point of making more rules that individuals don’t bother to follow?

“The army has focused their changes on Kaylee’s cadet battalion. There has been an improvement there only because they’ve changed local personnel but there are so many other cadets across the UK. Those in charge of children need to be competent, experienced and well trained and our view is the only way this can be achieved is through independent regulation of cadet forces and the lifting of Crown Immunity for such forces.  It seems to us until that’s done children going to camps like Kaylee attended are no safer than she was five and a half years ago.

“If Kaylee had been on a school trip the Council would have been prosecuted for breaches of Health and Safety law but the army is immune and the law completely powerless to penalise them. When you are dealing with the safety of children we don’t think it’s appropriate for the army to hide behind Crown Immunity, this immunity shouldn’t apply to cadet forces.“

Jayne Crawford, the family’s solicitor and Associate at Thompsons Scotland added;

“Today has been another disappointment for Kaylee’s parents. The army is shielded from a full criminal prosecution for their failings as they have crown immunity. It isn’t clear to Derek and Lesley McIntosh or us that there is any justification for the army having such immunity in the circumstances of this case. The fact the law does not draw a distinction between cadet forces arranging leisure activities involving children and those actively serving in the armed forces appears absurd.

“In fact the number of non combat accidents generally shows that the army does not take matters of health and safety anywhere near as seriously as it ought to. Making it face the full force of the criminal law for such accidents and for tragedies such as Kaylee’s death by removal of Crown Immunity is a matter that should be considered by Parliament if it is serious about safety of those who serve their country and those, like Kaylee, who have ambitions to do so.” 


Note to editors:

The media is asked to kindly respect Derek and Lesley McIntosh’s privacy and not make any direct approaches to them as they will be making no further comment today.

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