Sheku Bayoh death inquiry remit announced

Image caption,
Sheku Bayoh died in police custody in Fife in 2015

The remit of a public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh in police custody has been announced.

It will look at circumstances before he died in 2015 after being restrained by officers in Kirkcaldy and the subsequent investigation.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said it would also examine if Mr Bayoh's "actual or perceived race" had played any part in events.

The inquiry will be led by retired senior judge Lord Bracadale.

Mr Bayoh, who was originally from Sierra Leone, was 32 years old when he died.

'Hold power to account'

Aamer Anwar, the lawyer acting for his family, said they welcomed the "unprecedented and wide-ranging" terms of reference for the inquiry.

Mr Anwar added: "Sheku's loved ones have long believed that the Crown Office and Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) betrayed their struggle for justice, but they hope this inquiry will robustly search for the truth and hold power to account."

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the inquiry would make recommendations to try to prevent deaths in similar circumstances happening in future.

He 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," he said.

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

Image caption,
Lord Bracadale will lead the inquiry

He said he had met with key parties - including Mr Bayoh's family - to discuss the inquiry's remit.

Mr Yousaf said that while it did not feature all of the matters raised during discussions, it was "sufficiently broad" to allow it to look at wider issues.

Lord Bracadale said he welcomed the announcement of the terms of reference.

"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," he said.

"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."