Death of Sheku Bayoh

Public inquiry announced.

A statutory public inquiry will be held to examine the circumstances leading up to and following the death of Sheku Bayoh, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf announced today.

In a statement to Parliament, Mr Yousaf said the process of appointing the chair of the inquiry will begin shortly. Mr Yousaf will update Parliament early next year confirming the inquiry’s terms of reference.

He said: “The First Minister and I met with Mr Bayoh’s family today to express our deepest condolences and assure them of our commitment to establishing the facts surrounding this tragic incident. They are right to expect a full public examination of the circumstances of Mr Bayoh’s death and I stated my determination to put in place a process to deliver that. 

“Today I can confirm that I will establish a statutory public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the circumstances leading up to and following Mr Bayoh’s death.

“All deaths in police custody are subject to a mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Act 2016. The responsibility for establishing the FAI sits with the Procurator Fiscal, under the direction of the Lord Advocate. FAIs examine the cause of death and consider steps to prevent other deaths in similar circumstances.

“In this case, the Lord Advocate considers the remit of a FAI would not allow all the issues which require to be investigated to be addressed. FAIs can examine circumstances and factors leading up to a death, but not what follows after, and in this case the Lord Advocate has identified questions, raising issues of public interest and importance about the early stages of the post-incident management of the investigation that an FAI simply could not examine.

“That being the case, it is imperative that the circumstances leading up to Mr Bayoh’s death and the events that followed, including whether race played a part, are examined in full and in public.”


Read the Justice Secretary’s full statement.


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