Death investigations

FAI court process begins for the death of trawler skipper

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

Mr Robertson, 61, the owner and skipper of the fishing boat ‘Reul A Chuain’, a twin-rigged prawn trawler out of Mallaig, died on 24 June 2021 after falling overboard while attempting to rescue a deckhand from the waters of the Sound of Rum. 

A preliminary hearing is set for 5 June 2024 at Fort William 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.        

It is anticipated that the Inquiry will consider any precautions which could reasonably have been taken and which might realistically have resulted in the death having been avoided and any defects in any system of working which contributed to the death or any accident resulting in the death.  

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

“The death of Lachlan Robertson occurred while in the course of his employment 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.       

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

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