Fatal Accidents Inquiry Bill
The road to justice can often be a long one, full of delays, disappointments and heartache.
This is particularly true for anyone who has experienced Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) system.
Indeed, the experience of the families of the crewmen who tragically lost their lives in the Flying Phantom Disaster is a case in point.
Their repeated calls for an FAI since that fateful night six years ago have fallen on deaf ears.
They have talked of their frustration at a system that is full of delays and bureaucracy. They have also expressed their anger at being left on the side-lines with little say on proceedings.
This is why I am supporting the Fatal Accidents Inquiry Bill launched by my Labour colleague Patricia Ferguson, the public consultation for which is coming to a close as I write this column.
It aims to put the families of the bereaved at the heart of the process. One of the ways it will do this is by giving them the right to influence and shape the nature and extent of the inquiry undertaken into the death of their family member.
It also aims to speed up the process by allowing FAI’s to take place alongside criminal proceedings, and to ensure that lessons are learned to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.
Most importantly of all, it will create the foundations for a new system which will allow families to understand what happened and why it happened. This is particularly important, as it will provide some closure allowing them to move on with their lives.
I sincerely hope that the Scottish Government will support the measures in this Bill, and act to ensure that in future cases, the bereaved don’t have to wait years for justice to be done.