Sheku Bayoh

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 12th November 2019.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I again reiterate how much I admire the family of Sheku Bayoh. In the four and a half years since the tragic incident, they have faced a number of obstacles, difficulties and hurdles, but they have been unwavering in their search for answers on what happened and on the follow-on after Sheku’s death. Sheku’s mother lives 3,500 miles away in Freetown in Sierra Leone. She is here today and she has often come to Scotland to be with her family. I can see from meeting her today that she is a rock of that family and that she wants to get the answers to the questions of why she lost her son and what on earth happened in the aftermath of that. I join Liam McArthur in his admiration for the Bayoh family.

On the substance of Mr McArthur’s question, I know that he has often pressed on that point and he is right to do so. I agree that four and a half years is a long time to wait for answers. There are also questions about delays in FAIs. Again, the issue is very much in the Lord Advocate’s remit, but I can give some reassurance. Members might be aware that the Lord Advocate has said publicly that he is looking at ways to reduce that delay, that he has been reviewing the reasons for it and that he understands the frustration of families surrounding it. I must be sensitive to the fact that such matters are in the domain of the Lord Advocate, who is independent. However, it is fair to say that he is not unaware of the frustration that delay can cause. If the Government can find any way to minimise that, I would be supportive of that.