Remit of public inquiry into Sheku Bayoh's death revealed

A forthcoming public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy five years ago will examine to what extent race played a part.

The inquiry will also look at the circumstances leading up to the 31-year-old's death and the post incident management process.

It'll also look at the subsequent investigation into Mr Bayoh's death.

Solicitor Aamer Anwar says Sheku's family are hopeful this inquiry will make the relevant authorities accountable.

The inquiry, which will be chaired by Lord Bracadale, was first announced in November last year by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf.

Mr Yousaf said: "When I announced in November that a public inquiry was to be held, I said then that it is imperative that the circumstances leading up to Mr Bayoh’s death and the events that followed are examined in full and in public.

"I am pleased that today brings us a further step closer to that.

"I met with key parties, including the family of Mr Bayoh, to discuss the approach to the terms of reference.

"While they do not feature all of the issues raised with me during my discussion, the terms of reference do focus on the incident and are sufficiently broad enough to allow the chair to look at wider issues he may consider relevant to the inquiry."

Aamer Anwar issued a statement on behalf of both Mr Bayoh's family and the 31-year-old's partner Collette Bell, which said: "The Bayoh family welcomes the unprecedented and wide ranging terms of reference now published for the Public Inquiry.

"Sheku’s loved ones have long believed that the Crown Office and PIRC betrayed their struggle for justice, but they hope this inquiry will robustly search for the truth and hold power to account.

"I pay tribute to the courage and perseverance of Collette (Sheku’s partner) and Sheku’s family without whom this inquiry would never have been possible."

Lord Bracadale, chair of the inquiry, acknowledges coronavirus has affected preparation for it and said: "I welcome the announcement of the terms of reference of the public inquiry.

"I believe that they will enable my inquiry to conduct a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Bayoh and the wider issues arising.

"I understand the impact which the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably had on preparation for the inquiry and look forward to being able to make progress in due course."

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: "The Crown is committed to supporting the Public Inquiry and notes the terms of reference."

A Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) spokesperson said: "The PIRC was directed to investigate the circumstances of Mr Bayoh's death on behalf of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in May 2015 and submitted investigation reports to the COPFS in August 2015 and 2016.

"As this matter will now be examined before a Public Inquiry it would be inappropriate to comment further."

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