Inquiry process begins into death of teen electrocuted after climbing pylon 

Harris James Macdonell, 19, died in the early hours of August 19, 2020.

Inquiry process begins into death of teen electrocuted after climbing pylon  Jane MacDonnell

Court processes are due to begin for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of a teenager electrocuted after climbing an electricity pylon.

Harris James Macdonell, 19, died in the early hours of August 19, 2020 with a preliminary hearing set for August 7, 2024 at Selkirk Sheriff Court.

The inquiry will investigate the circumstances of Mr Macdonell’s death, with an anticipated focus on the care and treatment provided to him by NHS Lothian and NHS Borders prior to his death.

Mr Macdonell’s mum, Dr Jane Macdonell, previously told STV News she hopes the process can bring “considerable improvements” to specialist mental health care facilities for young people.

The purpose of a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) includes determining the cause of death; the circumstances in which the death 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 death investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “The tragic death of Harris Macdonell occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held.

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

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

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