Three years is too long for Sheku's family to wait for answers

Comment: Three years is far too long for Sheku's family to wait for answers

Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 3:07 pm
Updated Friday, 4th May 2018, 12:35 pm
Fife Free Press editorial comment

The death of Sheku Bayoh on a Kirkcaldy street early one morning remains emotive and controversial; a tragedy wrapped in claims, counter-claims and all manner of blame games.

Three years on, it also remains unexplained, and his family – the people who matter more than any others involved in this investigation – deserve better.

To have to mark another anniversary with no definitive answers is simply wrong.

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The responsibility for delivering that conclusion lies with the Crown Office.

After three years, it is perfectly valid to ask what stage its deliberations are at – and when it can, reasonably, be expected to reach a conclusion.

A family needs those answers.

A family is fully entitled to these answers.

To be left in limbo for three years cannot be right.

The wheels of justice have never moved at great speed, and that is correct – all such investigations must be thorough and comprehensive – but they cannot be allowed to become open-ended.

The system has to understand the impact such long delays have on grieving families, and seek to deliver its verdict within a reasonable time frame.

It also has to consider the impact on the officers who were also involved in this incident. For the sake of all waiting on an outcome, three years is surely pushing the very boundaries of the definition of ‘reasonable.’

Without an outcome – whatever it may say – the story moves into a wider arena – a £1.8m claim against the Chief Constable – demands for the head of PIRC to quit, and a call for Scottish Government to set up an independent judicial review.

All of that is unchartered territory for a family who lost a son in unexplained circumstances.

Their quest for answers must not reach a fourth anniversary.