Fire Service claims deceased’s right to privacy prevents next of kin seeing incident report into brother’s death
Grampian Fire Service have said that they will continue to withhold incident reports from the next of kin of a man killed in a vehicle fire on the basis that to release them would breach his “continued right to privacy.”
Peter Murray, Assistant Chief Fire officer in the area said the deceased, under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, has a right to respect for private and family life, and said: “to disclose the information contained within the Grampian Fire and Rescue Service and into the public domain would breach that right.”
The statement was given in response to a request from Anne Greig, who has campaigned on behalf of her daughter Hollie Greig in connection with sexual abuse allegations and the subsequent legal and judicial outcomes.
In a letter dated 18 July disclosing details about the death of Greig’s brother, Robert, Mr Murray adds that the incident report cannot be released “in the opinion that disclosure of an incident report would be likely to have a significantly disruptive effect on the way in which Grampian Fire and Rescue Service conducts its business.”
Greig has said she is “puzzled” by the Fire Service position, and has written to Mr Murray asking him to “explain how disclosing the above named reports would disrupt the business of the fire service or the conduct of public affairs.”
“Please also provide the law that states that deceased people are afforded the same Human Rights as living people, as my understanding is that the right to a private family life is only relevant to those who still have life,” the letter adds.
Article 8 of the Human Rights Act states: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
“There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
In separate inquiries to public authorities by representatives of the family, the Information Commissioner ruled that the Scottish Government had failed to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.