Sunak issues ‘wholehearted and unequivocal’ apology to infected blood victims

“At every level, the people and institutions in which we place our trust failed in the most harrowing and devastating way,” Mr Sunak said in a statement to the House of Commons.

“Layer and layer upon hurt, endured across decades, this is an apology from the State to every single person impacted by the scandal.

“It did not have to be this way. It should never have been this way.”

READ MORE: Infected blood scandal could ‘largely’ have been avoided

He promised to pay “comprehensive compensation” to those affected and infected by the scandal.

“Whatever it costs to deliver this scheme, we will pay it,” he added, saying details would be set out on Tuesday.

After a decades-long battle for justice, campaigners welcomed the probe’s recommendations but lamented the fact delays meant many of those responsible would never be held to account.

Corporate manslaughter prosecutions are “extremely” unlikely, according to lawyers.

Clive Smith, chairman of The Haemophilia Society and also a criminal barrister, said: “One of the aspects that, sadly, the delay has caused is the fact that there are doctors out there who should have been prosecuted for manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, doctors who were testing their patients for HIV without consent, not telling them about their infections.

The Herald: Tens of thousands of people were given infected blood and blood products between the 1970s and 1990s.Tens of thousands of people were given infected blood and blood products between the 1970s and 1990s. (Image: PA)

“Those people should have been in the dock for gross negligence manslaughter.

“Sadly, because of the delay, that’s one of the consequences that so many people will not see justice as a result.”

Public inquiries are prohibited from making any recommendations about prosecutions but other countries affected by the scandal have seen ministers brought before the courts.

In the UK, corporate manslaughter prosecutions are less likely to happen, according to Ben Harrison, head of public law at Milners, which represents core participants in the inquiry.

He told the PA news agency: “First and foremost, corporate manslaughter is governed by 2007 legislation which does not apply retrospectively to a time when Crown Immunity existed for any such offence; the time at which so many were tragically and fatally infected.

“I think the chances of any form of corporate manslaughter investigation taking place are extremely remote.”

Around £10 billion has been earmarked for a compensation package for those affected, which is set to be announced on Tuesday.

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