Six-day hearing set for Glasgow bin lorry crash civil case

Conor Riordan, PA Scotland
·2-min read

A six-day hearing has been set for a civil case in relation to the Glasgow bin lorry crash.

Glasgow City Council is suing First Bus, the former employers of the bin lorry driver Harry Clarke, over the job reference the firm provided.

Mr Clarke collapsed while at the wheel of a bin lorry in the city centre in December 2014. The vehicle crashed into pedestrians and killed six people.

Bin lorry crash
Six people died in the incident (Danny Lawson/PA)

During an initial hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Thursday, Roddy Dunlop QC, representing First Bus, told the court he would not focus heavily on the issue of automatism.

He added: “My point is a simpler one and it’s this – the pursuers must prove the reasonableness of the settlement and the defenders are entitled to test the evidence in that regard.

“So that is the sum and substance of the line and it will not be advanced further.”

Andrew Smith QC, representing the local authority, agreed with Mr Dunlop that no meeting of the two parties should take place before the full hearing as they had “polarised positions” on the issue.

Judge Lord Ericht set the six-day hearing for September 28.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton; Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow; and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, died in the crash.

Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke was at the wheel of the bin lorry (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A further 15 people were injured when the Glasgow City Council truck veered out of control.

It travelled along the pavement in Queen Street before crashing into the side of the Millennium Hotel in George Square.

An inquiry into the incident held in 2015 heard the tragedy took just 19 seconds to unfold.

During the course of the incident, numerous members of the public saw Mr Clarke unconscious and slumped forward in the driver’s seat.

The inquiry also heard he had a history of health issues dating back to the 1970s – including a previous blackout in 2010 when at the wheel of a stationary bus – but had not disclosed his medical background to his employers or the DVLA.