Sheku Bayoh inquiry progressing with focus and determination – chairman

Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland
·2-min read

An independent public inquiry into the death of a man who was restrained by police is progressing with “focus and determination”, its chairman has said.

Sheku Bayoh died in May 2015 while being held by officers who were responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

The 32-year-old’s family claimed race played a part in his death and criticised the subsequent investigation.

An inquiry into his death was announced in November 2019 by Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf. It opened in November 2020, led by Lord Bracadale with Michael Fuller and Raju Bhatt as assessors to support him.

In a video message on Friday, Lord Bracadale said: “I am acutely aware that almost six years have passed since the death of Sheku Bayoh and, consequently, a lengthy period of time has elapsed without his family receiving answers to fundamental questions.

“I want to assure them, and all who have interest in the inquiry, that we are moving forward with focus and determination.”

Lord Bracadale also confirmed that public hearings will be held at Capital House in central Edinburgh, although it is not yet possible to say when they will take place.

Core participants in the inquiry are the family of Mr Bayoh including his two sons, Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone and a number of officers and retired officers from the force.

The Lord Advocate, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, the Scottish Police Federation and the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights are also core participants.

Commenting on co-operation with the inquiry participants, Lord Bracadale said: “I am confident that working in this collaborative way will ensure that everyone involved will have the opportunity to engage with the work of the inquiry.”

Lawyer with Sheku Bayoh family members
The family of Sheku Bayoh are core participants in the inquiry into his death (Jane Barlow/PA)

Lord Bracadale described how work is already under way on the framework document, which will work through the terms of reference of the inquiry in detailed chapters, including the cause of death, post-incident management, liaison with the family and race.

The framework is being developed from evidence gathered with input from core participants and the assessors.

Lord Bracadale urged anyone who believes they have information relevant to the inquiry to make contact via the website https://www.shekubayohinquiry.scot/.