Families of two men who died after being restrained by officers have slammed the “disgusting double standards” in Scotland’s justice system.

They hit out at the prosecution of two brothers over an incident in which they who held down an aggressive shop customer. The man later died.

Postmaster Edward Brown, 51, and Alan Brown, 63, wept as they were cleared of culpable homicide at the High Court in Glasgow this week following an ordeal they say “ruined” their lives.

The prosecution was in stark contrast to the lack of action over restraint scandals which led to the deaths of Allan Marshall in March 2015 and Sheku Bayoh in May the same year.

Alan Brown was cleared of killing a customer in his brother's post office
 

Allan, 30, suffered a cardiac arrest after being restrained by up to 17 guards at Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison – but officers involved were given immunity from prosecution over the death.

Fife father-of-two Sheku, 31, died after being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy but no officers have been prosecuted. Last night, Allan's aunt, Sharon MacFaden said: “It would seem that if you wear a uniform and cause a death through restraint, you face no consequences.

“But if you don’t wear a uniform, then you get charged and pulled in to a court.

“It’s one rule for prison officers and another for everyone else and it’s sickening.

“The officers who caused Allan’s death weren’t disciplined and some have even been promoted. It’s disgusting double standards.”

Father of two Allan Marshall lived in Castlemilk before going to Saughton prison a month before his death

In a shocking fatal accident inquiry ruling, Sheriff Gordon Liddle said Allan’s death from a cardiac arrest following the incident was “entirely preventable”. He noted there had been a catalogue of “missed opportunities” to save him.

Allan’s family say they were “bullied” into agreeing an immunity deal for wardens after being told they could otherwise offer a “no comment” and not provide answers at the FAI.

They were described as “dishonest” by the sheriff. On Monday, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf will meet with the Marshall family. He has vowed to apologise to them personally for Allan’s death.

Sheku was “pinned to the ground” by police with “a minimum body weight of 60 stone pushing down on his torso”.

The Lord Advocate in October 2018 decided not to prosecute the nine officers involved – a decision which the family described as “nothing but total betrayal”.

Sheku Bayoh died in police custody in 2015 after being restrained

Yesterday, the Bayoh lawyer Aamer Anwar, who has fought for criminal charges against the officers, also called the Brown case an example of “double standards”.

He said: “Whilst members of the public like the Brown brothers can always expect to be arrested, charged and tried, it would appear the Crown apply an entirely different burden of proof to those in uniform when suspected of killing someone, with absolutely no prospect of criminal charges.

“The Bayohs and Marshalls are quite right to be angered at what they see as double standards in decision making by the Lord Advocate.” The Brown brothers were accused of killing John McGuire, 56, at a post office in Cardonald, near Glasgow, in March last year following a scuffle.

Allan Marshall's aunt Sharon MacFadyen said: "It's one rule for prison officers and another everyone else"
 

John was said to have gone into the branch to complain about the cost of posting a parcel and became “very agitated”.

Edward recalled John later returned and “swung a punch” at him. the postmaster feared he had a knife in his hand but it was actually a Snickers.

Edward said both men ended up on the ground and Alan – who was at the shop to drop something off – came to his brother’s aid.

Alan recalled the post office being “chaotic” and the atmosphere “terrifying”. He insisted he was only defending his brother. John later died of asphyxiation.

Alan said: “Everyone we have dealt with can’t believe this came to court. My family’s lives have been ruined.”

Edward had previously been given a police commendation for how he reacted when he was attacked in a post office 15 years ago.

Read More

Top news stories today