Crown Office has betrayed Sheku Bayoh, says sister

Kadi Johnson, Sheku' Bayoh's sister, says the Lord Advocate 'should be deeply ashamed'. Picture: John Devlin
Kadi Johnson, Sheku' Bayoh's sister, says the Lord Advocate 'should be deeply ashamed'. Picture: John Devlin
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The sister of a man who died in police custody is to meet the Lord Advocate to confront him over the “betrayal” of her brother.

Kadi Johnson, whose brother Sheku Bayoh died after being detained in a Fife police station three years ago, said she would demand answers over claims that no one will be prosecuted for Mr Bayoh’s death. She is to meet Lord Advocate James Wolffe this week.

In an interview with the Sunday Mail, she said: “I want to look him in the eye. I want to hear the decision from him before I believe it. If it’s true, I’ll ask him where justice is for Sheku. Mr Wolffe should be deeply ashamed of the total betrayal of our family. We’re heartbroken but we’ll wait to see what he has to say.”

Mr Bayoh, 31, was detained following reports that a man was carrying a knife in Kirkcaldy, although no weapon was found on him. He died in the town’s Victoria Hospital around two hours later after officers used CS spray, pepper spray and batons to restrain him. There were 30 injuries on his body.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) filed a report on his death in August 2016.

Ms Johnson said: “When I heard there would be no prosecutions, I was extremely upset – I was sick the whole day. We felt upset and let down. It was very disrespectful towards us that the news had been allowed to come out in this way. It just wears you down. We’ve been worn down as a family over the past three years.”

She added: “We waited all this time hoping that someone may be held to account for the terrible death my brother suffered but it seems it is not going to be the case. We live in hope that maybe, somehow, it was just speculation and things will change but we’re realistic.”

Mr Bayoh’s family, including partner Collette Bell and Ms Johnson, are suing Police Scotland for £1.85 million, claiming his death could have been avoided.

They and their legal team are to hold a press conference on Wednesday outside the Crown Office headquarters on Edinburgh’s Chambers Street at 10.30am and have called for people to show their support.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “Our thoughts remain with Sheku Bayoh’s family and friends following his death three years ago and we 
continue to offer support to anyone affected by this tragic incident.

“We have been committed to cooperating with the PIRC and the Crown Office throughout the investigative process and, while this continues, we can’t comment further.”

The PIRC said: “More than 500 statements were obtained by our investigators, who also gathered evidence from a wide range of experts to give a 
greater understanding of events leading to Mr Bayoh’s death.

“At all stages throughout this independent investigation, the PIRC have acted under the direction of the Lord Advocate, who has ultimate responsibility for the investigation of deaths in Scotland.”

The Crown Office said: “We’re meeting the family in the near future to update them and it would not be appropriate to comment further.”