Death investigations

FAI court process begins for man who died in custody

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 76-year-old Peter Tobin. 

Peter Tobin died on 8 October 2022 at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI). Mr Tobin had been an inmate within HMP Edinburgh when he was admitted to the hospital on 9 September 2022 after a fall in his cell the evening before.   

From the date of his admission until his death he did not leave ERI as his condition declined. Mr Tobin had been receiving palliative care prior to his death and was monitored by GeoAmey officers at all times while within ERI. 

The inquiry is a mandatory inquiry under Section 2(4)(a) of the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016.    

A Preliminary Hearing will be held on 27 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.    

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

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

“The Lord Advocate considers that the death of Peter Tobin occurred while in legal custody and as such a Fatal Accident Inquiry is mandatory.    

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

Further information

For more information on Fatal Accident Inquiries see the Crown’s guide.