Sheku Bayoh family call for inquiry to examine why police were not prosecuted

On Thursday, Sheku Bayoh’s family met with the deputy first minister Kate Forbes at the Scottish Parliament.

Calls have been made by Sheku Bayoh’s family for the public inquiry to be allowed to examine why police were not prosecuted after the 31-year-old’s death.

Mr Bayoh, a father-of-two, died after he was restrained on the ground by six police officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3 2015 after being arrested when he was high on drugs.

The Sheku Bayoh Inquiry began two years ago and is examining the circumstances leading to his death, and the aftermath and investigation.

On Thursday, Mr Bayoh’s family met with the deputy first minister Kate Forbes at the Scottish Parliament.

In a statement, the family’s lawyer Aamar Anwar said that the family had called on the Government to review its terms of reference for the public inquiry, to allow it to consider why the Crown Office did not prosecute any of the police officers involved, or Police Scotland. 

He said: “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.”

During their meeting, the family told Forbes of their “anger and upset” that Police Scotland “appear to now be determined to turn back the clock on the radical statement of former chief constable Iain Livingstone in accepting institutional racism”.

The family of Sheku Bayoh met with the Deputy First Minister on Thursday.STV News

They also called for a commitment by the Government for “meaningful change” at the end of the inquiry “to let no institution stand in the way of the form of legal and regulatory change required.”

In May 2023, outgoing chief constable Sir Iain admitted Police Scotland was “institutionally racist and discriminatory”, and said acknowledging the issue was essential to it becoming “an anti-racist service”.

Forbes said after the meeting: “It was humbling to meet the family of Mr Bayoh and I welcomed the opportunity to hear from them directly.

“The Scottish Government remains firmly committed to the public inquiry establishing the facts surrounding the circumstances leading to Mr Bayoh’s death. 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.”

Speaking to STV News, Mr Anwar said: “I said to Kate Forbes, I do not want to be standing here in five, ten years time with another family saying this is unfinished business. 

“That unfinished business started with a private inquiry that wasn’t a public inquiry. 

“It’s taken nine years to get to this inquiry. It’s still not over. How many more families have to fight for change?

“The Crown Office have a public duty. They are the guardians of law and order. They must be accountable to the public they serve and they have failed repeatedly.”

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.”

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