Sheku Bayoh inquiry should examine why police were not prosecuted, says his family

The family of a man who died after being restrained by police has called for the public inquiry into his death to examine why officers were not prosecuted after the incident.

Father-of-two Sheku Bayoh was restrained on the ground by six officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on 3 May 2015 after being arrested when he was under the influence of drugs.

The ongoing inquiry began two years ago and is examining the circumstances leading to the 31-year-old's death, and the aftermath and investigation.

Speaking after a meeting with Scotland's deputy first minister Kate Forbes on Thursday, a lawyer for Mr Bayoh's family said charges have not been brought against any of the officers involved.

"It is unacceptable that the guardians of law and order should escape scrutiny by hiding behind claims of the need to be independent when all they have done is betray justice," Aamar Anwar said.

"There wasn't a single, not a charge of culpable homicide, not a charge of serious assault, assault with severe injury, minor assault, attempt to pervert the course of justice, not a single charge."

The family is calling for "meaningful change" to follow the end of the inquiry.

Addressing the fact it's unusual for the terms of reference of an inquiry to be changed midway through, Mr Anwar said: "They were changed in the COVID inquiry, they were changed in other inquiries, and can be changed going along.

"Issues have arisen at the inquiry during the process, and it's an artificial divide in that the inquiry can't go beyond the terms of reference."

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Ms Forbes said it was "humbling" to meet Mr Bayoh's family.

"The Scottish government remains firmly committed to the public inquiry establishing the facts surrounding the circumstances leading to Mr Bayoh's death," she continued.

"The family expect answers and I believe these proceedings are the best way to give them that.

"The public inquiry is independent of Scottish ministers so it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on proceedings."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "It is vital that the role and independence of the public inquiry is respected to ensure the application of the rule of law, due process and justice being served.

"Police Scotland will continue to participate fully in an open and transparent manner."