Following the conclusion of the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the 2013 helicopter crash off Sumburgh, Shetland’s MSP Beatrice Wishart has written to the Lord Advocate to request that he addresses the “inexcusable” seven year delay behind the findings.
In her letter, Ms Wishart wrote:
It is welcome news that the inquiry is reaching its end. Answers about the incident itself are valuable, and will serve as important lessons.
But for the families and friends of those lost, the questions that must now be answered relate to the seven year delay it took to get to this stage. I want to make clear, once again, that this was inexcusable.
Commenting, Ms Wishart said:
“Today, my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who were lost in this terrible incident. The pain of losing a loved one is like no other, and I would pay tribute to the strength and determination shown by those involved in this inquiry.
“There are now serious questions that need to be answered about why this inquiry has taken so long, and prolonged that pain. Instead of knowing exactly what happened and why, everyone involved has been weighed down by the bureaucracy of this investigation.
“Fatal Accident Inquiries have been subject to serious and legitimate criticisms for a number of years now. The whole process loses its value as time goes on, memories become unclear and lessons go unlearned.
“No family should have to suffer through that. But if there are no fundamental changes to the system, a delay like this will only happen again. It is time to look at removing Fatal Accident Inquiries from the Crown Office’s responsibilities, and making changes that mean that this never happens again.”