Death investigations

Court process begins for the FAI into the death of a pedestrian

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 Carlos Hernan Correa Palacio. 

The 53-year-old pedestrian died after he was fatally struck by a tram in the Saughton area of Edinburgh on 11 September 2018 while making his way home from work.  

A preliminary hearing is set for 31 May 2024 at Edinburgh 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.  

This FAI follows the prosecution and conviction of Edinburgh Trams Limited (ETL) for a contravention of Sections 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 24 August 2023.  

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 Mr Correa’s death, with an anticipated focus on the process of risk assessment and safety management at ETL, in addition to issues surrounding pedestrian safety at non-motorised user (‘NMU’) crossings and an assessment of the audibility of warning systems fitted to ETL trams. 

The inquiry is also expected to consider the structure for oversight and information sharing within the tram sector, including among regulators, operators, and other interested parties. 

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

“The tragic death of Carlos Correa occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held.      

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

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