Killers may have to pay funeral costs

Feb. 21, 2009 at 7:38 PM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Killers could be ordered to pay for the funeral expenses of their victims under legislation drafted by the Scottish government.

The measure, expected to be introduced in the Scottish Parliament next month as part of the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill, would apply to those who cause fatal car crashes as well as those convicted of homicide, The Scotsman reported Saturday.

"We aim to give criminal courts more flexibility to award compensation against an offender, and update the remit of compensation orders so they can reflect changes in the means of the offender, and be used to pay funeral and bereavement expenses to the relatives of a deceased victim," said Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary. "If supported by parliament, these important changes will help more victims and their families."

Some victims' advocates do not support the measure. Cynthia Barlow, whose daughter was killed at age 26 in a collision with a cement mixer, works with RoadPeace, group counseling bereaved families, and says monetary compensation is not their major concern.

"They are much more interested in remedial action, making sure the incident does not happen to someone else if it could have been prevented," she said.

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