Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has been told it would be “intolerable” for the family of a man who died in police custody to have to wait years for a misconduct investigation.
Sheku Bayoh died after being restrained by police in May 2015 while officers were responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
A public inquiry into Mr Bayoh’s death has been announced, but an MSP has raised concerns about delays to potential misconduct proceedings against the officers involved.
Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell asked the Justice Secretary about the ongoing work to set up the inquiry, and reports that the Crown Office has not yet passed the case file to Police Scotland.
Mr Ruskell said the Lord Advocate had “promised” Mr Bayoh’s family there could be misconduct proceedings if no criminal action was taken against those involved in the incident.
He added: “To wait another three to four years for proceedings to be considered would be intolerable for all involved.”
Mr Yousaf said the issue should be raised directly with the Lord Advocate by Mr Ruskell.
“My job was to instruct the setting up of a public inquiry that will examine the facts of the tragic death of Sheku Bayoh,” Mr Yousaf replied.
“That will do that in a public way, it will be transparent and therefore if there are issues as a result of that public inquiry then, of course, they can be examined fully thereafter.”
The inquiry will be chaired by retired judge Lord Bracadale and is expected to examine the circumstances leading up to Mr Bayoh’s death, as well as the events following it.
Asked about progress on setting up the inquiry, Mr Yousaf said: “Since the announcement of the terms of reference in May, my officials have been working with Lord Bracadale and his team to put in place all the resources needed to make an effective start to proceedings before announcing
the formal setting-up date for the inquiry.
“The key appointments of the secretary solicitor, senior and junior counsels for the inquiry have been made.
“Work continues on the appointment of assessors and identification of suitable premises.
“I continue to liaise closely with Lord Bracadale and of course will provide Parliament with further updates in due course.”
Reporting by PA
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