A NEW law in honour of murdered Whitecrook schoolgirl Paige Doherty, which aims to limit the amount of time a post-mortem examination can be carried out, has taken a step forward.

Currently when a person dies in suspicious circumstances a post-mortem examination (PME) is carried out by the Crown Office within a few days of the death.

However, if someone is charged in connection with the death, the accused person’s solicitor has the right to a second PME and there is no timeframe to make the request.

Gil Paterson, Clydebank’s MSP, is seeking to create a law to introduce a 14-day time limit on defence PMEs to allow dignity for the victim and their family, reduce the distress felt by families, and to allow the option of an open casket funeral.

The initiative was influenced by the long and drawn out wait the family of murdered Paige Doherty endured following a lengthy defence PME process.

Paige was 15 when she was stabbed more than 140 times at a deli in Whitecrook in March 2016.

Her mum Pamela Munro previously said: “If we had her back sooner, we could’ve had an open coffin and got to say goodbye properly, so it would have meant the world.

“I think anything that helps victims’ families is great because it takes some of the stress away of wondering [when the body will be returned].”

The bill has been given to the Justice Committee which will take evidence on it. It will then go through a three-stage parliamentary process, if approved at the three separate stages it will become law.

Mr Paterson said: “When it comes to the second PME, the system is grossly unfair on the families and friends of those who have been murdered or died in suspicious circumstances in Scotland.

“This legislation proposes a reform to help reduce the suffering felt by families where they do not have any idea when the body of their loved one will be released for a funeral.

“Some cultures and traditions prefer an open casket funeral, which can be made impossible if a body is held too long, causing further upset and distress.

“The family and friends of Paige Doherty endured an unacceptably long wait for the return of Paige’s body, which has been massively influential in signposting the need for change.

“I look forward to seeing the bill through the Scottish Parliament and contributing to creating a fairer and more dignified justice system in this country.”