Family of Sheku Bayoh call for prosecution of Police Scotland

The family of the late Sheku Bayoh and their solicitor, Aamer Anwar.

Picture: Ian Rutherford

The family of the late Sheku Bayoh and their solicitor, Aamer Anwar. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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THE family of a man who died in custody have asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to consider prosecuting Police Scotland over his death.

Sheku Bayoh died in May last year after being restrained by officers responding to calls of a man with a knife in a Kirkcaldy street.

Yesterday his family met Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland as the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) prepares to hand over a report of its investigation into Mr Bayoh’s death.

• READ MORE: Police force ‘closed ranks’ after death in custody of Sheku Bayoh

In a statement issued on the family’s behalf, lawyer Aamer Anwar said the promise of a fatal accident inquiry into the death of the 31-year-old father-of-two was the “barest minimum” of what was expected.

He said: “Whatever the decision on criminal prosecutions, it is clear an FAI is not enough and the family have requested that the HSE become involved and consider a potential prosecution of Police Scotland over the restraint techniques, lack of training and use of sprays and batons on Sheku Bayoh.

“Sheku had a right to life and Police Scotland had a duty of care to him.”

Mr Anwar said the family had been told that some of the officers who restrained Mr Bayoh had believed they were being attacked by a terrorist.

• READ MORE: Sheku Bayoh: Trial of ‘injured’ police officer postponed

The Bayoh family wants a public inquiry into the death, which would be able to explore wider concerns about deaths in custody.

Last week Mr Anwar drew parallels between the case and the Hillsborough tragedy, saying the Bayohs believed police had “closed ranks” following the custody death.

Police Scotland said it could not comment on the case while the Pirc investigation was ongoing.

A spokesman for the Scottish Police Federation said: “A Fatal Accident Inquiry is in the interests of all concerned.”

A spokesperson for HSE added: “HSE has a wide remit under Section 3, Health and Safety at Work etc. Act and makes its decision about whether to investigate any case under its policy on Section 3 HSWA which can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/opalert.htm.

“HSE has investigated cases of deaths in police custody before. The decision to investigate any case would be based on the individual circumstances of each case and taking into consideration HSE’s Section 3 HSWA policy.

“The Lord Advocate cannot direct HSE it seeks to assist The Lord Advocate and COPFS investigations where our policy applies. It reports matters it has investigated to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), who decide whether or not to institute criminal proceedings.”

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