Death investigations

Court process begins for the FAI into the death of a baby girl

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has lodged a First Notice to begin the court process for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of baby Sophia Smith.

Newborn Sophia Smith died at the Royal Hospital for Children at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, Glasgow on 11 April 2017. 

A preliminary hearing is set for 7 May 2024 at Glasgow Sheriff Court.  

The purpose of a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) includes determining the cause of death; the circumstances in which the deaths occurred, and to establish what, if any, reasonable precautions could have been taken, and could be implemented in the future, to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances. 

Unlike criminal proceedings, FAIs are inquisitorial in nature, and are used to establish facts rather than to apportion blame.      

This Inquiry will explore the circumstances of Sophia’s death, with particular focus on what role infection played in her death, the standard of care and communication. 

Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on death investigations for COPFS, said: 

“The Lord Advocate considers that the death of Sophia Smith occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary Fatal Accident Inquiry should be held to ensure there can be a full public hearing of the facts of the case.  

“The lodging of the First Notice enables FAI proceedings to commence under the direction of the Sheriff.       

Sophia’s family will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress.”